Photo: Bill Hecht

10 Conservation Strategies for the Finger Lakes Region

The Finger Lakes Land Trust presents Lakes, Farms, and Forests Forever, a bold new conservation agenda that highlights 10 strategies to counter threats and permanently protect the lands and waters of our region.  Please download the 24-page booklet and contact us to help.


First published in October 2016, this regional conservation agenda calls for investment of $100 million over the next decade, rallying public and private funders to support collaboration among many organizations.  You can request copies, read the press release and media coverage, and see the breakdown of funding recommendations.

Download Your Copy


In the Finger Lakes region, the lands and waters are the basis of the economy.  Agriculture contributes more than a billion dollars to the local economy while tourism adds over $2 billion in annual revenue.  Yet today the region faces persistent and documented threats including toxic algae, sprawling development, and loss of prime farmland.


Inside the booklet, you will find 10 strategies for countering these threats and seizing timely opportunities.  The strategies are grouped into 3 conservation themes:

Protect Our Lakes, Streams, and Drinking Water

Save Farms, Wineries, and Rural Character

Keep Nature Wild and Enhance Public Access

See Success Stories


Together we can save the lands and waters that sustain agriculture, tourism, and quality of life in the Finger Lakes region.

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How You Can Help

Read Lakes, Farms, and Forests Forever

Read the press release and media coverage

Contact us to learn more and get involved

Make a gift to support conservation

Subscribe to our email newsletter

Volunteer with the Land Trust

Become a Member


Quoted Inside

“The Finger Lakes region hosts an incredible diversity of habitat for fish and wildlife. We must act now to ensure that we retain this diversity for future generations.”

— David Stilwell, Field Supervisor, US Fish and Wildlife Service, New York Office

“The Finger Lakes region has been identified as among the top 20 most threatened farming regions in the United States.”

– American Farmland Trust, “Cultivate New York”

“The documented occurrence of harmful algal blooms in the Finger Lakes has been increasing. It is essential that we more intensively address land use and water management in an integrated fashion to reduce nutrient loadings into the Finger Lakes.”

— Lisa Cleckner, PhD, Director, Finger Lakes Institute, Hobart & William Smith Colleges

“We must act now to protect our crystal clear lake for the enjoyment of future generations and the thousands of people who drink its pure unfiltered water!”

— Paul Torrisi, President, Skaneateles Lake Association, Inc.

“Hundreds of visitors pass through our tasting room every week. Looking out over our vineyards, I’m not surprised this has been rated one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world.”

— Marti Macinski, Owner, Standing Stone Vineyards, Seneca Lake

“In Yates County alone, there are nine farmers who are ready to protect their prime agricultural land within the designated priority area. One of these farmers has been on the waitlist for state protection funds since 2006.”

— Larry Lewis, Chair, Yates County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board

“We residents of the Finger Lakes are blessed to have the Land Trust working for us. The land is worth fighting for — and the Finger Lakes Land Trust is working diligently to save the lands and waters for generations to come.”

— Ellen Polimeni, Mayor, City of Canandaigua, and Member, Finger Lakes Land Trust


Consulted Partners

We thank representatives of the following agencies and institutions for providing valuable input.

County Planning Agencies – Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Livingston, Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Yates.

Regional Planning Boards – Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council, Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board, Southern Tier East Regional Planning Development Board.

New York State – New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation; New York Natural Heritage Program; Department of Environmental Conservation Regions 7 and 8.

Federal Government – US Fish & Wildlife Service, New York State Office.

Nonprofit Organizations – The Nature Conservancy, American Farmland Trust, Finger Lakes Institute, Wetlands Trust, Finger Lakes Trail Conference, Genessee Valley Conservancy, Central New York Land Trust, Audobon New York.

Watershed Groups – Finger Lakes-Lake Ontario Water Protection Alliance, Otisco Lake Preservation Association, Owasco Watershed Lake Association, Skaneateles Lake Association, Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, Keuka Lake Association, Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association, Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council, Honeoye Valley Association, Conesus Lake Watershed Council.


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