The Land Trust was awarded $2 million in state grant funding through New York State’s Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP). The WQIP program funds projects that directly address documented water quality impairments or protect a drinking water source.
A total of $1.4 million was awarded for land conservation and restoration efforts on several parcels within the Skaneateles Lake watershed. The Land Trust will use the funds to permanently protect approximately 300 acres using a combination of land acquisition and conservation easements. Plans to restore wetland areas and create streamside buffers will contribute to drinking water protection within the watershed.
The Land Trust also received $641,000 to place perpetual conservation easements and restore streamside buffers on three parcels in the Six Mile Creek watershed, the City of Ithaca’s drinking water supply. This project will result in 300 acres of permanently protected lands, including 125 acres in the town of Caroline, Tompkins County, which includes several thousand feet of frontage on Six Mile Creek.
The funds come at a critical time for the Finger Lakes region, which has seen an increasing number of toxic algae outbreaks. Outbreaks threaten human health and pet health, as well as the region’s tourism economy. As development pressure increases, the Land Trust is working to counter these threats by saving sensitive lands, buffering our streams, creating new wetlands, and protecting our last undeveloped shorelines.
“We are grateful for this commitment by the state, said Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “This funding will allow us to conserve lands that are vital for water quality while also supporting the restoration of streams and wetlands.”