The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) have announced the acquisition of a conservation easement on 126 acres in the town of Caroline in the Six Mile Creek Watershed as part of New York State’s Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) Program.
DEC awarded FLLT more than $641,000 in a WQIP grant for this and other projects in the Six Mile Creek Watershed to help protect the city of Ithaca’s public drinking water supply.
Known as the Lounsbery property, this parcel is upstream of the city of Ithaca’s drinking water supply and wholly within the Six Mile Creek watershed. The acquisition adds to a previously acquired conservation easement of more than 13 acres in the town of Dryden that was also supported by this WQIP grant. The parcel has more than 6,200 feet of frontage on Six Mile Creek. To protect the creek, FLLT established a 24-acre environmental protection zone around the water that will contain a riparian buffer that will be restored with assistance from the Tompkins County Soil and Water Conservation District. The FLLT also received funding from the city of Ithaca and Tompkins County to provide long-term stewardship of the easement.
The Lounsbery property covers approximately 48 acres of forested lands and more than nine acres of wetlands. These naturally occurring features contribute to critical source water protection, helping to slow down runoff after storm events, filtering and absorbing pollutants, and reducing drinking water treatment costs. Buffers also provide valuable wildlife habitat.
By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected over 26,000 acres of the region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, rolling forest, and scenic farmland. The FLLT owns and manages a network of over 35 nature preserves that are open to the public and holds perpetual conservation easements on 157 properties that remain in private ownership. Additional information about the Finger Lakes Land Trust may be found at Finger Lakes Land Trust’s website.
Photo of Six Mile Creek Watershed courtesy of Finger Lakes Land Trust.