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Legislature Approves Funding for Environmental Protection Projects

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Legislature Approves Funding for Environmental Protection Projects

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Legislature, without dissent, approved funding for two projects, under the County’s new Natural Infrastructure capital program, and for a third from the County’s Capital Reserve Fund for Natural, Scenic, and Recreational Resource Protection. (Legislators Carol Chock and Martha Robertson were excused.)

The Legislature allocated $15,000 in Natural Infrastructure capital funds to support the Six Mile Creek Water Protection Project, through acquisition of a perpetual conservation easement on the Lounsbery Tract in the Town of Caroline, held by the Finger Lakes Land Trust, to protect the forested buffer to Six Mile Creek and the entire farm property. The allocation is contingent upon award of $15,000 from the City of Ithaca and $250,000 in State Water Quality Improvement funds, both being sought by the Land Trust.

The Legislature also approved $20,000 in Natural Infrastructure capital funding to protect the Etna Swamp – Brotherton Farm Protection Project in the Town of Dryden through a perpetual conservation easement, also held by the Finger Lakes Land Trust, to protect the wetland system and Unique Natural Area feeding Fall Creek. Both projects are focused on protections that will assist in reducing sediments from stormwater runoff.

In a presentation to the Legislature prior to the votes, Commissioner of Planning and Sustainability Ed Marx noted that the Natural Infrastructure Capital program, approved by the Legislature, allocates $200,000 per year for the next five years to invest in our natural infrastructure, with a focus on protecting and enhancing natural systems that help mitigate the impacts of intensive rainfall events; protecting overall water quality in streams, aquifers, and Cayuga Lake; and helping to decrease sediment loads in streams and the lake.

The Legislature also appropriated $25,000 from the Capital Reserve Fund for Natural, Scenic, and Recreational Resource Protection for the Finger Lakes Land Trust’s Emerald Necklace/Charles Spencer Preserve: Ott Tract Protection Project, supporting acquisition and easement development related to a 157-acre property on Jackson Hollow Road in the Town of Newfield. The project will secure open space to serve as a habitat connection between two Natural Features Focus Areas. The land is located in the Emerald Necklace Greenbelt, and is in close proximity to a number of forest areas, including Cornell’s Artnot Forest, the Newfield State Forest, and Tompkins County Forest Lands.