Photo: John Smith

State Grants Provide Support for Conservation in the Finger Lakes

The Land Trust was recently awarded $75,000 in grant funding through the New York State Conservation Partnership Program. The program is funded through the State’s Environmental Protection Fund and administered by the Land Trust Alliance, in coordination with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

A total of $1.8 million in Conservation Partnership Program grants were recently awarded to 58 nonprofit land trusts across New York. “Through partnerships with local land trusts, the Environmental Protection Fund provides critical support for open space programs across the state,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “These grants help local land trusts support our work to protect New York’s peerless waters, lands, and habitats and preserve our state’s natural resources, while leveraging even more resources communities can put to good use protecting these irreplaceable assets.”

Photo: Bill Hecht

Photo: Bill Hecht

The Land Trust was awarded $65,000 to hire a full-time Conservation Easement Steward to monitor conserved land. This new position will take on the Land Trust’s substantial and growing regional portfolio of conserved lands, allowing the Director of Stewardship to focus on strategic direction, invasive species management, preserve enhancement, expanded volunteer programs, and new partnerships to advance stewardship and landowner services in the Finger Lakes region.

An additional $10,000 was granted to the Land Trust’s West Hill Land Protection Project, helping to conserve a 470-acre horse farm in Ithaca. The funds will support the recent donation of an easement on the expansive property located a mile from downtown. The project also marks the start of the West Hill Wildway, an effort to create a walkable greenbelt on Ithaca’s west side.

“The Conservation Partnership Program has demonstrated impressive statewide success by supporting land trusts in our local communities,” said Andy Zepp, Land Trust Executive Director and chair of the Land Trust Alliance’s New York Advisory Board. “Together with state funding for land conservation and farmland protection, this program helps to protect and care for New York’s precious water resources, natural heritage and working lands, and to create trails, preserves and community gardens. It directly benefits our economy, from tourism and outdoor recreation to farming and forestry. The program leverages additional resources to advance New York’s Open Space Conservation Plan, enhancing services and support for local municipalities, and enabling private landowners and land trusts to achieve their stewardship goals,” he added.