Conservation Easement Protects Trout Habitat
01/11/2013The Land Trust's latest conservation easement, donated by Jeanne Paisley,protects 120 acres bordering the East Branch of Owego Creek in the Town of Richford, Tioga County.
Conservation easements are legal agreements that limit future development while allowing land to remain in private ownership and on the tax rolls. In this case, the easement provides for vegetated buffers along the creek while allowing for continued use of the land for agriculture and forestry. Landowners who donate conservation easements may be eligible for both state and federal tax benefits.
The Land Trust identified the Paisley property as a priority for protection due to its extensive frontage on Owego Creek, which is recognized as one of the region’s premiere trout streams. A public fishing access site is located just north of the tract and a village park is located to the south. In addition to its land along the creek, the property also includes frontage on both sides of State Route 38 and features two agricultural fields as well as extensive woodlands and several small tributaries to the creek.
The East Branch of Owego Creek is well known for its trout habitat and has been designated “best for protection” by the Eastern Brook Trout joint venture – a collaboration of conservation agencies and non-profits seeking to protect, restore, and enhance brook trout populations throughout their historic range.
Funding to cover transaction and stewardship costs associated with the conservation easement were provided by a grant from the conservation organization Trout Unlimited through its Coldwater Land Conservancy Fund – a program established to support the protection of native trout habitat within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Funding for this program was provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service.
“This is a fantastic project,” says Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “Thanks to the commitment of Jeanne Paisley and her family, and the support of our funding partners, we will be able to ensure the future of a significant stretch of the creek while allowing the land to remain available for farming and forestry.”
This latest project is the Land Trust’s third within the watershed of the East Branch of Owego Creek. The organization already holds a conservation easement on land located just south of the Village of Richford and also owns and manages a 140-acre nature preserve on a tributary to the creek.
The Finger Lakes Land Trust is a regional non-profit conservation organization that works cooperatively with landowners and local communities to conserve those lands that are vital to the Finger Lakes and New York’s Southern Tier. To date, the Land Trust has permanently protected more than 15,000 acres through direct acquisition as well as the use of conservation easements on lands that remain in private ownership. The organization is supported by more than 1,900 individuals and families from the throughout the region.
Additional information about the Land Trust and conservation easements may be obtained by visiting the organization’s web site (www.fllt.org) or by calling its Ithaca office at (607) 275-9487. Trout Unlimited is a non-profit organization dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. Additional information about TU may be found at www.tu.org.