FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE02-36
Contact: Geoff Ryan
York City Acquires Land Near Cannonsville Reservoir
Watershed Land Acquisitions Exceed 40,000 Acres
cutting on Monday, August 12, at the Delaware County Fair event shared
by Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC), Catskill Watershed Corporation
(CWC) and the DEP. Left ot right, Richard Coombs, WAC Chair, DEP Commissioner
Christopher O. Ward, Alan Rosa CWC Executive DIrector, Perry Shelton CWC
President, NYS Agricultur & Markets Commissioner Nathan Rudgers, WAC
Vice-chair Fred Huneke. At the ceremoony, Commissioner Ward announced recent
land acquisitions near the Cannonsville Reservoir in Delaware County.
Walton, NY, August 12, 2002 -- While visiting the Delaware County Fair on
opening day, Commissioner Christopher O. Ward of the New York City Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that DEP has recently acquired
several tracts in Delaware County. The vacant properties include five separate
parcels totaling 449 acres in the Cannonsville Reservoir basin in the Town
"These properties fit the criteria for acquisition, as established
under the 1997 Watershed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), and are important
properties for protection of water quality," said Commissioner Ward.
Four of the five parcels, totaling 339 acres, are within the high priority
sub-basin designated "1B," which includes the drainage basins of
Chase, Wakeman, Fish, Dryden, and Chamberlain Brooks. DEP expects to open
the two larger parcels, 243 and 69 acres in size, for public access later
this year under the City's Public Access Permit system.
The fifth parcel comprises 110 acres in a priority "4" basin,
in the Dry Brook drainage. The property is particularly beneficial because
it abuts existing reservoir buffer-land and also connects with two additional
parcels, totaling 286 acres, which DEP secured recently. DEP plans to open
all three of these properties in the Dry Brook drainage to public access in
late 2002 or 2003 under the City's Public Access Permit system.
The acquisitions will protect several thousand linear feet of tributaries
to the Cannonsville Reservoir. After the closings, one of the sellers, Mr.
Charles Turner of Walton, said, "As a businessman, developer, and landowner,
I can say that it was a pleasure to do business with the City's Land Acquisition
and Stewardship Program. I would encourage any landowner considering a sale
of their property to think about selling to the City. The benefits are clear:
you receive fair market value, there is no loss to the local tax base, and
you know your land will be managed to protect drinking water for millions
Commissioner Ward said, "The response from landowners to the Land Acquisition
and Stewardship Program has been tremendous. To date, over 520 willing sellers
have agreed to accept the City's fair-market-value purchase offers and contract
terms. This has allowed the City to protect sensitive watershed lands from
development, to provide passive recreational opportunities for the public,
and to do so without loss of property taxes to local communities."
With these purchases, City acquisitions now total 23,500 acres throughout
the Catskill/Delaware basins on both sides of the Hudson River, while an additional
14,500 acres have been secured through purchase contracts that are expected
to close during the next year. These projects include two-dozen conservation
easements averaging about 100 acres each. An additional 2,750 acres in agricultural
easements, mostly in Delaware County, have been signed to purchase contracts
by the Watershed Agricultural Council, one of the City's partners in watershed
protection. The City's acquisitions in the Croton System East-of-Hudson, along
with New York State's purchases, total an additional 1,000 acres. In all,
approximately 42,000 acres have been protected under the MOA and partnership
DEP's Land Acquisition and Stewardship Program acquires land or conservation
easements at fair market value from willing sellers only, and pays property
taxes in proportion to the property rights acquired. All such properties are
purchased under conditions established by the Watershed Memorandum of Agreement,
signed in 1997 by local communities, several environmental organizations,
New York State, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
For more information, landowners may contact the Land Acquisition and Stewardship
Program at (800) 575-LAND.