The Finger Lakes Land Trust announced in October it purchased 38 acres in the town of Moravia, Cayuga County. Located in the Owasco Flats, the property contains 785 feet of frontage along the Owasco Inlet and is adjacent to the Owasco Flats Wildlife Management Area (OFWMA).
The property is primarily comprised of agricultural fields and is in close proximity to other conservation lands owned by Cayuga County and the City of Auburn. When funds become available, the Land Trust will partner with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to transfer the parcel to the OFWMA.
An important area ecologically, the flats are part of the National Audubon Society-designated Greater Summerhill Important Bird Area (IBA), and visitors often find Bald Eagles soaring overhead. Protection of lands in this area also safeguards the water quality of Owasco Lake by filtering runoff to the inlet.
The Land Trust intends to partner with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to conduct wetland restoration activities on the land prior to conveyance to NYSDEC. Conversion of pasture lands to wetlands will enhance the water filtration capacity of the inlet and create excellent habitat for birds and other wildlife.
This is the Land Trust’s fifth land protection project at the Owasco Flats. The area is popular for both paddling and birdwatching. Information about visiting the flats can be found at www.gofingerlakes.org, a resource created by the Land Trust to encourage people to get outdoors.
By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected nearly 25,000 acres of the region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, rolling forest, and scenic farmland. The Land Trust owns and manages a network of 35 nature preserves that are open to the public and holds perpetual conservation easements on 150 properties that remain in private ownership.
The Land Trust focuses on protecting critical habitat for fish and wildlife, conserving lands that are important for water quality, connecting existing conservation lands, and keeping prime farmland in agriculture. The organization also provides programs to educate local governments, landowners, and local residents about conservation and the region’s unique natural resources. Additional information about the Finger Lakes Land Trust may be found at www.fllt.org.