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Easement will protect 93 acres bordering Owasco Inlet
ECOLOGY

Easement will protect 93 acres bordering Owasco Inlet

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Owasco inlet

The Fingerlakes Land Trust has secured land bordering the Owasco Inlet.

The Finger Lakes Land Trust said that the permanent easement of land in the Owasco Lake watershed will help safeguard the water quality of the lake by filtering runoff to the inlet.

The land trust on Friday announced it has permanently protected 93 acres in the town of Groton in Tompkins County with a conservation easement. Wholly located in the Owasco Lake watershed, the land was originally donated to the land trust in 2019 from the estate of Katherine Sutphin with the understanding that it would be sold subject to an easement.

According to a news release, the property features wetlands, agricultural fields, mature woodlands, and 4,710 feet of frontage on the Owasco Inlet and an unnamed tributary. As they flow north to the lake, these waterways provide significant habitat for a variety of terrestrial and aquatic wildlife. In addition to ensuring habitat, protecting land in this area safeguards the water quality of Owasco Lake by filtering runoff to the inlet.

The land trust said that in June, the land was sold to a private buyer, subject to the conservation easement that will limit development and permanently protect this environmentally sensitive parcel. Proceeds from the sale will be used to support the Land Trust’s growing land protection and stewardship programs.

The FLLT said that it continues to focus on land protection projects in the Owasco Lake watershed to address growing water quality concerns. In October 2020, the organization acquired 38 acres in the Owasco Flats, which serves as an important water quality buffer for the lake. Plans are underway to partner with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to conduct wetland restoration activities on the property during 2021.

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.

The land trust said that by working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, it has protected over 26,000 acres of the region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, rolling forest, and scenic farmland. The FLLT owns and manages a network of over 35 nature preserves that are open to the public and holds perpetual conservation easements on 157 properties that remain in private ownership.

The FLLT focuses on protecting critical habitat for fish and wildlife, conserving lands that are important for water quality, connecting existing conservation lands, and keeping prime farmland in agriculture. The organization also provides programs to educate local governments, landowners, and residents about conservation and the region’s unique natural resources.

Information on regional destinations for outdoor recreation may be found at gofingerlakes.org, and additional information about the Finger Lakes Land Trust may be found at fllt.org.

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