The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) announced it has acquired two islands in the Susquehanna River in the town of Tioga, Tioga County. Totaling 41 acres, the parcels are collectively known as Tuffs Island and serve as a destination for paddlers in the Southern Tier.
The undeveloped islands contain a mix of woodlands, open habitat, and floodplain forest, and host a variety of wildlife including Bald Eagles and migratory birds. The FLLT intends to manage the property as a conservation area that will safeguard wildlife habitat and protect water quality in the river.
The Susquehanna River is the largest single source of fresh water to the Chesapeake Bay, which is the largest estuary in North America and one of the most productive in the world. The bay is a focus of multistate and federal efforts to protect and improve water quality, and also an important factor in the FLLT’s Southern Tier conservation efforts.
“Acquiring these islands ensures that they continue to provide high-quality habitat for fish and wildlife in the future,” said FLLT Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “Areas like this are getting more precious as we continue to lose open space to development along our major rivers.”
Partial funding for this project came from the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Grant Program for Riparian Buffer Protection and Restoration, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
This is the organization’s second conservation project in the Susquehanna River. In 1993, the FLLT conserved Hiawatha Island, the largest island on New York’s portion of the river. Tuffs Island is approximately 5 river miles downstream from Hiawatha Island, which is owned and managed by the Waterman Conservation Education Center and protected with a conservation easement held by the FLLT.
By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected over 28,0000 acres of the region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, rolling forest, and scenic farmland. The FLLT owns and manages a network of over 45 nature preserves that are open to the public and holds perpetual conservation easements on 168 properties that remain in private ownership.
The FLLT 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 residents about conservation and the region’s unique natural resources.
Information on the region’s premier destinations for outdoor recreation may be found at www.gofingerlakes.org, a resource created by the FLLT to encourage people to get outdoors. Additional information about the Finger Lakes Land Trust may be found at http://www.fllt.org.