Agricultural Conservation Easements in the New York City Watershed

WAC’s Conservation Easements are intended “to 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.”

WAC acquires conservation easements on working farms in the New York City Watershed in support of New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) efforts to protect the City’s water resources. Conserving farm lands within the New York City’s watershed is a critical component of DEP’s Land Acquisition Program because farms in the watershed are typically comprised of relatively large, contiguous land holdings with significant road frontage and significant water resources.

Conserving agricultural and forestry lands as working landscapes is also critical to the health of watershed communities that depend on continued utilization of natural resources because eased farms can still contribute substantially to both agricultural and extractive sectors of local and regional economies.