WAC’s Conservation Easement Program was initially prescribed in the 1997 New York City Watershed Memorandum of Agreement as part of the Land Acquisition Program (LAP). The LAP seeks to acquire land and conservation easements in the West of Hudson watershed for the purposes of protecting New York City’s drinking water supply. The LAP includes programs managed by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for the acquisition of fee land and conservation easements as well as WAC’s program, which acquires conservation easements (CEs) on qualified agricultural properties in the New York City watershed.

Program Funding

WAC’s agricultural conservation easement program is funded entirely by the DEP via contract. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Health (DOH) have recognized the importance of the WAC CE Program which has required a total commitment of $76 million to date. This level of funding is expected to ensure that the program can continue its current success and have adequate resources to meet the expected level of demand for CEs in the future.

Program Governance

WAC’s contract with the DEP requires that a committee provide oversight over the program and make all decisions concerning the program. The committee must consist of no more than 8 members appointed by WAC and one representative appointed by the DEP. A unanimous vote of a full quorum of the easement committee is required for all matters related to the acquisition and stewardship of conservation easements.

Public Meetings

Easement Committee meetings are held the first Wednesday of every month, and agendas establishing the time and location of each meeting are posted here. Under WACs Transparency Policy, WAC Easement Program Committee meetings are open to the public. Additionally, WACs Easement Committee is committed to transacting business in an open and transparent manner consistent with many of the procedures contained in the New York State Public Officers Law. As such, the Easement Committee will make available for public inspection and copying all records, except those that are exempt from disclosure under WAC’s Transparency Policy.