Photo: FLLT

Conservation Easement Donation and Support from City of Ithaca Help Protect Public Drinking Water Supply

The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) accepted the donation of a conservation easement that will permanently protect 171 forested acres off Besemer Hill Road in the town of Dryden, Tompkins County. Owned by Charles and Jane Walcott, the property is wholly located within the Six Mile Creek watershed, the municipal water supply for the city of Ithaca.

Long time members and supporters of the FLLT, Charlie and Jane are avid conservationists and were both raised in families that fostered a strong conservation ethic. They assembled their 171 acres through several purchases over the course of nearly three decades.

Photo: FLLT

Situated on a high slope above the Six Mile Creek valley, the predominantly wooded property also contains ponds and seasonal tributaries to the creek. Brushlands and meadows on the property are managed to provide habitat for a diversity of birds and other wildlife. “We have greatly enjoyed living on the land and we want to preserve this opportunity for our successors,” said Charlie.

Conserving the property will help protect Ithaca’s drinking water by prohibiting development on the steep slopes which drain into Six Mile Creek. The FLLT received $11,250 from the City of Ithaca’s Six Mile Creek Watershed Protection Fund to support this project.

“This donation is a welcome and important addition to other efforts of the Finger Lakes Land Trust to protect the Six Mile Creek watershed,” said Ithaca City Mayor Svante Myrick. “My sincere thanks to the Walcotts and the FLLT for their visionary generosity and work in keeping the source of the city of Ithaca’s drinking water safe and clean.”

Conservation easements are legal agreements that limit future development while allowing land to remain in private ownership and on the tax rolls. Landowners who donate conservation easements may be eligible for both state and federal tax benefits.