Photo: Bill Hecht

Finger Lakes Land Trust Acquires Two Islands in the Susquehanna River

The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) today announced it has acquired two islands in the Susquehanna River in the town of Tioga, Tioga County. Totaling 41 acres, the parcels are collectively known as Tuffs Island and serve as a destination for paddlers in the Southern Tier.

The undeveloped islands contain a mix of woodlands, open habitat, and floodplain forest, and host a variety of wildlife including Bald Eagles and migratory birds. The FLLT intends to manage the property as a conservation area that will safeguard wildlife habitat and protect water quality in the river.

Photo: Mike Dunham

The Susquehanna River is the largest single source of fresh water to the Chesapeake Bay, which is the largest estuary in North America and one of the most productive in the world. The bay is a focus of multistate and federal efforts to protect and improve water quality, and also an important factor in the FLLT’s Southern Tier conservation efforts.

“Acquiring these islands ensures that they continue to provide high-quality habitat for fish and wildlife in the future,” said FLLT Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “Areas like this are getting more precious as we continue to lose open space to development along our major rivers.”

Partial funding for this project came from the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Grant Program for Riparian Buffer Protection and Restoration, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

This is the organization’s second conservation project in the Susquehanna River. In 1993, the FLLT conserved Hiawatha Island, the largest island on New York’s portion of the river. Tuffs Island is approximately 5 river miles downstream from Hiawatha Island, which is owned and managed by the Waterman Conservation Education Center and protected with a conservation easement held by the FLLT.