FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE10-32
April 8, 2010
Farrell Sklerov / Mercedes Padilla (718) 595-6600
New York City to Acquire 1,026 Acres of Land for Watershed Protection
City Has Purchased Land or Easements on More than 108,000 Acres of Upstate Land
Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway today announced the purchase of 1,026 acres of upstate land for $2.8 million. This acquisition builds on the City's efforts to protect the upstate watershed and maintain the outstanding quality of the drinking water that 9 million New Yorkers need every day. A total of nine parcels of land were acquired, ranging in size from 16 to 309 acres. The properties are located in Greene, Delaware, Schoharie and Ulster counties. Since the inception of the Land Acquisition Program, New York City has protected over 108,000 acres of watershed land in the Catskill/Delaware and Croton systems, which cover parts of eight counties in New York State.
"The Land Acquisition Program is a key component of Mayor Bloomberg's comprehensive efforts to protect and enhance the quality of New York City's water supply," said Environmental Protection Commissioner Holloway. "We have already committed more than $1.5 billion overall in watershed protection programs, including more than $300 million for the purchase of land and easements upstate and $55 million for the Septic Rehabilitation Program that is vital to our partners upstate."
Watershed protection is considered the best way of maintaining drinking water quality over the long term. New York City's program, one of the most comprehensive in the world, has been so successful at protecting the integrity of its water supply that the Environmental Protection Agency awarded the City a 10-year Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD) in 2007. The City has invested more than $1.5 billion in watershed protection programs, and their success is a main reason why New York City remains one of only five large cities in the country that is not required to filter the majority of its drinking water. The 2007 FAD requires the City to continue a land acquisition program. The City only acquires lands from willing sellers and pays fair market value based on independent appraisals. The properties are usually opened for public access and recreational use. The City also protects land by purchasing conservation easements, and through initiatives like the Watershed Agricultural Council, that works with farmers to implement farming practices that are compatible with the City's watershed protection goals.
DEP manages the City's water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8 million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties. Approximately 1,000 DEP employees live and work in the watershed communities as scientists, engineers, surveyors, and administrative professionals, and perform other critical responsibilities. New York City's water is delivered from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and are comprised of 19 reservoirs, and three controlled lakes.