Since 1970, Earth Day, an annual worldwide event in support of environmental protection, has been celebrated on April 22nd.  In Rhinebeck we have a long history of caring for our local environment every day, so we’re proud to join in this honor every year.

The Town of Rhinebeck joined the New York State Hudson River Valley Greenway Compact and adopted the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program over a decade ago, and we have continued our commitment to safeguarding the environment through the adoption of local laws, policies and programs that are consistent with the shared vision outlined in the Town’s Comprehensive Plan in 2009. Below is a snapshot of  some of our ongoing efforts to do what we can to encourage, support and implement environmentally friendly initiatives:

  • We worked with Hudsonia to develop wetland mitigation strategies, forestry plans, trail replacement, and Critical Environmental studies in several areas throughout the Town. 
  • In 2014 the Town opened one of the State’s first municipal Green Burial Grounds.
  • We amended our zoning code to limit gravel mines to current DEC permitted sites only, which effectively ended large-scale commercial strip mining in the Town. 
  • We worked with Dutchess County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to identify areas within the Town susceptible to weather related damage in order to plan for proactive corrective action.
  • The Town partnered with Riverkeeper and seven local municipalities that get drinking water from the Hudson in a Local Community Source Water Protection initiative.
  • Partnering with our State and Federal elected officials, we have represented the Town’s interests in opposing both the Coast Guard Plan to allow commercial oil barges anchorage off Rhinecliff and Amtrak’s plan to fence miles of river access.  
  • We participated in Solarize Northern Dutchess, an effort to encourage residential solar energy use; adopted consolidated solar permitting; passed a local Solar and Wind Farm law allowing for well-regulated Community Solar; and will install two Electric car charging stations using grant funds.

More recently, Mayor Bassett and I formed a Joint Town and Village Environmental Committee to address climate change by supporting the development of future environmental policy and cost saving initiatives at the local level. The Joint Environmental Committee is organized into five categories: Water, Transportation, Waste, Renewable Energy, and Policy. 

With our residents being one of our most precious resources, Gary and I are fortunate to work alongside dedicated experts like Dan Shapley, Riverkeeper’s Water Quality Program Manager; Paul Korczak, a public transportation expert and retired Metropolitan Transit Authority executive; Matt Stinchcomb, former Executive Director and Chief Sustainability Officer for Etsy and current Director of the Good Work Institute; Monique Segarra, a professor at Bard College’s Center for Environmental Policy; and Anthony Larsen, high school science teacher and long-time environmental activist. Together we make up the Joint Environmental Committee.

Currently we are working with a Bard Center for Environmental Policy graduate to create a document of all historical actions taken by the Town and Village of Rhinebeck to protect the environment. With a grant from the Good Work Institute, soon we will be working on a feasibility study for a Town Food Composting site. Additionally, we are working with our neighboring municipalities, under the umbrella of the Empire State Trail Initiative, to look at biking and walking trails in the Town. 

I hope you were able to spend some time outside this past Earth Day, which finally felt like the beginning of spring. Rhinebeck is beautiful and well deserving of all our efforts to preserve what is most precious about it, not just on Earth Day, but every day. 

Please come by and visit me at the office. I am in Town Hall weekdays, I promptly answer my emails at, and I’m eager to assist you in any way I can. 

With Warm Regards,

Elizabeth Spinzia

Supervisor, Town of Rhinebeck

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