Photo: Chemung River Friends

Land Trust Receives State Funding to Protect Water Quality in the Southern Tier

The Land Trust has been awarded $124,212 in grant funding through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program.

New York’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed is made up of the Susquehanna River and Chemung River watersheds. These grants are awarded to projects which aim to protect water quality by creating permanent streamside buffers.

Streamside buffers are strips of trees, shrubs, or grasses that protect the water quality and stream habitat by reducing the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment entering the water from upland uses.

The Land Trust will use grant funding to permanently protect 69 acres and over 18,000 feet of streamside buffers on three unique properties. The properties, located in Chemung and Steuben counties, will be protected through land acquisition and the use of conservation easements.

Conservation easements are legal agreements that limit future development while allowing land to remain in private ownership and on the tax rolls. Landowners who donate conservation easements may be eligible for both state and federal tax benefits.

Funding for the grants is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA established the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) to address the water quality problems in the Chesapeake Bay caused by excess nutrients and sediment. Because nutrients and sediment in the bay come from all over the watershed, six states and Washington, D.C., are working to meet the goals outlined in the TMDL.

In 2016, the Land Trust published Lakes, Farms, & Forests Forever—a report highlighting ten priority conservation strategies to protect the region’s lakes and curtail the sprawling rural development threatening our best farmland, scenic vistas, water quality, and recreational resources.  To read the report, visit