Photo: Chris Ray

Finger Lakes Land Trust Plants Nearly 400 Trees to Protect Owasco Lake

The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) recently built on a conservation success from earlier this year by planting nearly 400 trees and shrubs on private property protected with a conservation easement in the town of Scipio, Cayuga County. FLLT staff and volunteers helped with the planting along 5,000 feet of a tributary that flows into Owasco Lake.

The FLLT protected the 160-acre property in January 2023 with an easement that limits development and requires the maintenance of vegetated stream buffers. Establishing native trees at this site will enhance wildlife habitat, promote plant diversity, and create an important stream buffer to reduce nutrient runoff to the lake. Owasco Lake provides drinking water to over 40,000 people in Cayuga County, including the city of Auburn.

Photo: Chris Ray

Mostly a mix of agricultural fields, the property has expansive views of the lake and the surrounding area, including the FLLT’s Owasco Bluffs Nature Preserve on the opposite shore.

Funds for the project came from a grant from New York’s Environmental Protection Fund and the NYS Conservation Partnership Program, as administered by the Land Trust Alliance.

Conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements that permanently limit future land use in order to protect the land’s conservation value. Lands subject to conservation easements remain in private ownership, on local tax rolls, and available for traditional uses such as farming and hunting.