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FLLT awarded state funding of $4.5 million for water-protection projects

The Ithaca–based Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) says it will use nearly $4.5 million in state-grant funding for water-conservation efforts in the Skaneateles, Owasco, Seneca, and Keuka Lake watersheds. Pictured in this provided photo is the Cora Kampfe Dickinson Conservation Area on Skaneateles Lake. (Photo credit: Darin Harrison via Finger Lakes Land Trust)

ITHACA, N.Y. — The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) will use nearly $4.5 million in stategrant funding for conservation projects within the Skaneateles, Owasco, Seneca, and Keuka Lake watersheds.

The $4.46 million in funding comes from New York States Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP), the FLLT said in its announcement. The WQIP program pays for projects that directly address documented waterquality impairments or protect a drinkingwater source.

The Ithaca–based organization will use a grant of $1,384,000 to support the acquisition and restoration of lands bordering Shotwell Brook, a significant tributary of Skaneateles Lake, the FLLT said. Shotwell Brook enters the lake near the intake for the city of Syracuses drinkingwater supply.

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The FLLT will also use a grant of $1,240,000 to support projects within the Owasco Lake watershed and $1,840,000 for projects within the Keuka and Seneca lake watersheds.

These grants will really make a difference, Andrew Zepp, executive director of the Finger Lakes Land Trust, said in the announcement. The health of our lakes depends on the health of our watersheds. This funding will allow us to secure sensitive lands where we can implement restoration projects to ensure water quality.

The FLLT projects supported by previous WQIP grants include the Otisco Shores Conservation Area on the eastern shore of Otisco Lake; the acquisition of undeveloped shoreline on the eastern shore of Skaneateles Lake; and perpetual conservation easements on land bordering Six Mile Creek, the source of Ithacas drinkingwater supply.

Conservation easements are legal agreements that limit future development while allowing land to remain in private ownership and on the tax rolls. Landowners who donate conservation easements may be eligible for both state and federal tax benefits, the FLLT said.

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