FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE97-44
September 16, 1997
Contact: Geoffrey Ryan (718/595-5371)
City Issues Watershed Land Acquisition Brochure
Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E., of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that the Department has published a brochure describing the New York City Land Acquisition and Stewardship Program (LASP). The program is a key component of the City's comprehensive efforts to protect and enhance the quality of its water supply, as provided for in the "Watershed Memorandum of Agreement," signed earlier this year by the City, the watershed communities and counties, state and federal agencies, and environmental organizations.
Under LASP, the City will acquire, through outright purchase or conservation easement, title or rights to vacant, undeveloped lands within the watershed that are critical to maintaining high water quality. Earlier this month, the City held its first public hearings on acquiring parcels of land in Ulster and Putnam Counties.
Commissioner Miele said, "Many owners of land in the watershed have asked questions about the land acquisition program. This brochure provides answers, as well as a phone number where one can obtain additional information."
The brochure includes brief descriptions of:
- The program and how it works;
- Property tax implications;
- Conservation easements;
- Land stewardship and potential recreational uses; and
- Locations and kinds of land the City is looking for, including a map of the watershed that delineates priority acquisition areas.
"There are three things I want to stress," said Commissioner Miele. "First, the City will pay full fair market value for land and easements, based on appraisals by independent, certified appraisal companies. Second, all purchases are made only on a willing seller/willing buyer basis. And, third, the City pays taxes on the watershed lands it now owns and will pay taxes on all the new lands and conservation easements it acquires."
The New York City water supply system serves nearly eight million residents of the City and one million people who live in Westchester, Putnam, Orange and Ulster Counties. The source of this water supply, world-renowned for its high quality and excellent taste, is a 1,969 square-mile watershed in five rural counties of the Catskill Region and three suburban counties north of the City and east of the Hudson River. DEP is responsible for protecting and operating this surface water supply system, one of the largest in the world.
Copies of the brochure and other information may be obtained by calling: 1-800-575-LAND (1-800-575-5263).