Situated along the western shore of the Hudson River just south of
West Point, this site includes portions of Bear Mountain State Park,
and encompasses deciduous forest and riverine habitats and freshwater/
brackish tidal wetlands. From the cattail marshes along the river, the
land slopes steeply upward, with occasional small streams lined with
hemlocks. Oaks, and cottonwoods, with an understory of barberry,
dominate most of the forest. The Doodletown portion of this site is
an abandoned settlement with scrubby, secondary growth. The two
areas support populations of rare wildlife like the timber rattlesnake
(Crotalus horridus), and rare dragonflies including Needham?s skimmer
(Libellula needhami), arrowhead spiketail (Cardulegaster obligua),
comet darner (Anex longipes), and gray petaltail (Tachopteryx thoreyi).
Unusual plants include sedges such as Carex buschii, Carex emonsii, and
Carex seorsa, along with yellow corydalis (Corydalis flavula), flat sedge
(Cyperus odoratus), and frost grape (Vitis vulpina).
At-risk species supported at this site include the Pied-billed Grebe
(migrant), Osprey (migrant), Bald Eagle (use Iona Island in winter),
Northern Harrier (migrant), and Golden-winged Warbler (possible
breeder, seen occasionally near reservoir in Doodletown). Other
species documented here include the Acadian Flycatcher, Louisiana
Waterthrush, Kentucky Warbler, Hooded Warbler, and many other
common species. Doodletown supports an unusual diversity and
abundance of breeding warblers and other songbirds. More than 165
bird species have been documented at the site. Iona Island provides
wetland habitat for characteristic species.
This site is listed in the 2002 Open Space Conservation Plan as a
priority site under the project name Highlands Greenway Corridor.
Doodletown and Iona Island have been designated as a state Bird
Conservation Area. In the early 1990s, common reed (Phragmites
australis) took over most of Iona marsh, displacing much of the cattail.
Iona marsh can be viewed from an unimproved parking lot off of the
causeway; other access is limited to guided canoe and kayak trips. Any
improvements or expansions of park facilities on Iona Island need
thorough assessments of impacts on birds, especially Bald Eagles.