The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) has acquired four acres adjacent to its Goetchius Wetland Preserve in the town of Richford, Tioga County. The parcel features 2,120 feet of streambank on the West Branch of Owego Creek, one of the Finger Lakes region’s high-quality brook trout streams.
Protection of this property will help improve water quality in Owego Creek and further downstream in the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds. 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 conservation efforts.
The parcel will be added to the FLLT’s Goetchius Preserve, a diverse 84-acre wetland complex comprised of open and wooded wetlands, grassland, and forested areas. The FLLT recently completed an extensive restoration effort on the preserve, in partnership with the Upper Susquehanna Coalition, to reestablish a streamside forest and wetlands on an adjacent 20-acre parcel acquired in 2019.
This is the 24th project completed by the FLLT in the Owego Creek watershed, where it has protected 1,420 acres to date. Owego Creek has priority conservation status with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Its headwaters support a native brook trout population and provide critical juvenile-rearing habitat.
Owego Creek’s headwaters are located in the Emerald Necklace, an effort to link 50,000 acres of existing public open space that extends in an arc around Ithaca—from Finger Lakes National Forest in the west to Hammond Hill and Yellow Barn state forests in the east.