FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE04-14
of Environmental Protection Acquires Conservation Easement on 26 Acres
Commissioner Ward in Yorktown For Presentation to Teatown Lake Reservation
Commissioner Christopher O. Ward of the New York City Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) announced today that as part of its continuing watershed
protection program, the DEP has acquired a permanent conservation easement
on 26 acres of land in Yorktown that is owned by the Teatown Lake Reservation.
Commissioner Ward will be in Yorktown at 3:00 P.M. today to mark
the occasion at the nature center. The Teatown Lake Reservation is located
at 1600 Spring Valley Road. For directions, call Teatown at (914) 762-2912.
“Land acquisition and conservation easements allow the City to
forever protect valuable watershed property from development and pollution,”
said Commissioner Ward. “The response from landowners to the Program
has been remarkable. To date, over 680 willing sellers have agreed to
accept the City’s fair-market-value purchase offers, either selling
land outright or granting conservation easements. We will continue to
identify strategic properties through this successful program through
at least 2007.”
Lands under conservation easement remain in private ownership and will
not be opened to the public, while the easements are monitored by the
City to prevent adverse impacts to water quality and to assist landowners
wherever possible in protecting their natural resource base. The conservation
easement in Yorktown will help to protect the Croton water system, which
provides around ten percent of the City’s daily water supply and
serves numerous Westchester and Putnam communities.
Since the inception of the Land Acquisition Program in 1997, the City’s
acquisitions in the Croton system (primarily in Yorktown, in the New Croton
Reservoir Basin), along with several purchases by New York State, total
about 1,200 acres. Over 53,000 acres of land and conservation easements
in the mostly West of Hudson Catskill/Delaware watershed have been secured,
including over 6,500 acres placed under farm easements by the Watershed
Agricultural Council using City funds.
The Land Acquisition 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. Landowners are therefore
paid upfront for development rights and are relieved of significant property
tax burdens in perpetuity. Landowners can generally continue to harvest
timber and bluestone from the land under good management plans approved
by the DEP. Under this arrangement, the DEP is effectively paying good
land stewards to continue to care for their land, protect their views
from development and enjoy passive recreational opportunities. For more
information, landowners can contact the DEP’s Land Acquisition Program
at (800) 575-LAND.
The City has opened over 43,000 acres of its watershed land to public
recreation, including over 27,000 acres of the land acquired by the Land
Acquisition Program under the MOA. DEP has issued more than 67,000 access
permits, over 6,300 hunting tags, and almost 10,000 boat tags to people
wanting to use City watershed property for recreation. For more information
on how to get a DEP Access Permit, visit the DEP Web site at nyc.gov/watershed or call (800) 575-LAND.