The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) recently began an ambitious restoration effort at its Kehoe Nature Preserve in Big Flats, Chemung County, by planting 1,200 native trees and shrubs in partnership with the Upper Susquehanna Coalition (USC). The establishment of native plants at this site, which includes 1,480 feet of frontage on the Chemung River, will enhance wildlife habitat, promote native plant diversity, and create an important forest buffer.
The USC, which works with partner organizations to improve water quality in the Upper Susquehanna River Basin, took the lead on restoring a 5-acre field adjacent to the river by removing non-native invasive species such as knotweed, European buckthorn, honeysuckle, and tree of heaven—a preferred host plant for the invasive spotted lanternfly. They then planted native trees and shrubs such as sugar maple, oak, hickory, elderberry, and dogwood. Staff and volunteers from the FLLT and USC will continue to steward and monitor the site until the new plantings are established.
“This project moved forward thanks to the unique capabilities of the Upper Susquehanna Coalition brought to bear by their Riparian Buffer Coordinator, Lydia Brinkley,” said FLLT Senior Field Representative Kris West. “We are thankful for her leadership in all aspects of the planning, coordination, and implementation of the restoration planting.”
The 42-acre Kehoe Nature Preserve was acquired by the FLLT in 2016 as a donation from Phyllis Kehoe, a resident of Pine City. The property, once slated for residential development including more than 30 homes, is now permanently protected as a wildlife refuge. Nearby, the FLLT owns and manages the Plymouth Woods and Steege Hill nature preserves. The organization also recently partnered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to acquire 315 acres on both sides of the Chemung River to add to the Big Flats Wildlife Management Area.