The Land Trust was awarded over $3 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 $921,000 was awarded to acquire land and conservation easements for properties around the southern end of Cayuga Lake. This project will protect a minimum of 260 acres and over 21,000 feet of streambank along Fall Creek, as well as other tributaries to the lake, reducing nutrient runoff that could lead to harmful algal blooms.
The Land Trust will also receive $1,690,575 to acquire land and conservation easements within the Skaneateles Lake watershed, resulting in the protection of at least 400 acres and over 16,000 feet of protected streambank. By providing a buffer for these tributaries, this project will also reduce the amount of runoff entering the lake.
$407,500 was awarded to acquire and install a riparian buffer on a 34-acre parcel with over half a mile of shoreline on Otisco Lake. This project will protect and restore buffers and wetlands that will help to remove sediment and nutrients from entering Otisco Lake, a public water supply for the southern and western populations of Onondaga County.
The Land Trust will leverage these grants by raising at least 25% of the total project cost in matching funds—over $1 million— through donations from landowners and private individuals.
“We’re grateful for the state’s commitment to protecting our land and water,” said Land Trust Executive Director Andy Zepp. “These funds were made available through a program that was just created last year. We’re glad to see that the Governor and our legislators are responding to the threat of toxic algae.”