Photo: Staff

Land Trust Gifts 15 Acres at Owasco Flats to NY State

Ithaca, NY – The Finger Lakes Land Trust, in conjunction with the New York State Department of Environmental  Conservation (DEC), today announced the transfer of a 15.4 acre parcel with 2,300 feet of frontage on the Owasco Inlet, Cayuga County.

The parcel is located within the Owasco Flats, an area of wetlands and cropland located just south of Owasco Lake within the town and village of Moravia. The Land Trust purchased the property in 2008 through a grant from the Fred L. Emerson Foundation. The land has been donated to DEC to enhance fishing, hunting, hiking, kayaking and other outdoor recreational pursuits.

Photo: Staff

Photo: Staff

“DEC is very fortunate to be able to acquire this key piece property from the Finger Lakes Land Trust at no cost to taxpayers,” said Acting Regional Director Joe Sluzar. “This land enables recreationists to avail themselves of fishing, hunting, hiking and nature observation opportunities in an area that is very important to sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts. We are grateful to the Land Trust for this donation.”

“This project is great news for Owasco Lake and also for everyone who likes to get outdoors,” said Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “We’re grateful for the support of the Fred L. Emerson Foundation which made this possible.”

Prior to acquisition, the property contributed significant runoff to Owasco Lake through soil erosion. A streamside restoration project, undertaken by the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, successfully addressed this issue and enhanced habitat for fish and wildlife. Trees planted as part of this effort have grown tremendously and there has been a dramatic reduction in soil and phosphorous runoff into the Lake.

This land was identified as a high priority for protection through the Land Trust’s Owasco Flats Conservation Planning and Stakeholder Survey Project. The year -long restoration project surveyed landowners and developed recommendations for the area’s long-term conservation.

This is the third parcel acquired by the DEC for the Owasco Flats Wildlife Management Area Project, one of the projects listed under the Finger Lakes Shorelines and Riparian Zones statewide priority project in the New York State Open Space Plan. The parcel adjoins an existing DEC Fishing Access Site on the Owasco Inlet.

The Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected more than 18,000 acres of our region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, majestic forest, and scenic farmland.  The Land Trust today owns and manages a network of nature preserves that are open to the public and holds conservation easements on more than 120 properties that remain in private ownership.

The Land Trust focuses on protecting critical habitat and land that is important for water quality, connecting conserved lands, and keeping prime farmland in agriculture. The organization also provides programs to educate local governments, landowners, and local residents about conservation tools and the region’s unique natural resources.  The Land Trust’s service area includes 12 counties that encompass the Finger Lakes and a significant portion of the Southern Tier.  Additional information on the Land Trust may be found at www.fllt.org.