The Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC) is proud to announce, through continued funding from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP), that it has expanded its community partnership program to include 30,000+ acres of working farm and forest conservation easements.
“We congratulate the Watershed Agricultural Council, City of New York, farm families and many others that have made it possible for 30,000 acres to be protected forever” said David Haight, New York State Director for American Farmland Trust. “This is an important milestone for the millions of New Yorkers that have clean water and the communities where these farms have been protected. This nationally significant model has proven that well-managed landscapes can act as a natural water filter while sustaining rural communities. And, there is growing evidence that these working lands are critical assets in our society’s fight against climate change. We are heartened to see so much that has been accomplished – it is critically important that these efforts continue well into the future.”
Conservation Easements with WAC are unique as the landowner retains ownership of their property; committing their lands to continued commercial agriculture and forestry practices and selling the majority of alternative development rights to be able to reinvest those monies in their business. WAC’s program is meant protect the water quality of the New York City Watersheds, and to protect agricultural and forestry lands by limiting the form, location, and density of development and promoting good stewardship by the implementation of Whole Farm Plans.
“The City has an obligation to provide quality drinking water for its 9+ million residents NYC. Those of us working Watershed lands need to remember that, but also that local conservation and land protection efforts helps support our livelihood and preserves a way of life. It’s [farming] in my blood and what I think best defines this area. WAC easements are a win-win for the City and our community; a way to safeguard water and guarantee our [local] lands and legacy” said Council member and dairy farmer Tom Hutson of Hamden, NY.
WAC would like to thank the 200+ farm and forest families who have committed to conservation to achieve this milestone.