Land trusts support water protection in New York

Source water protection for public drinking water supplies has quickly become a top priority for New York.

By Kristin Martinez September 27, 2021

As a result, the state developed a land acquisition for source water protection grant programavailable to land trusts and others to protect sources of public drinking water. Since 2017, over 37 projects and $37 million have been awarded to acquire lands or easements that will protect sources of public drinking water. And guess who makes up about half of these projects? Land trusts!

Land trusts are a leader in land conservation — and now source water protection — in New York state. Year after year, they continue to work with state agencies to conserve key parcels for drinking water source protection. And the state is a good partner. In the past three years of funding, the state:

  • worked with 10 land trusts on Water Quality Improvement Project land acquisition projects for source water protection;

  • protected over 1,570 acres to date; and

  • moved toward protecting an additional 1,200 acres through land trusts in the coming years for source water protection.

Not only are land trusts acquiring land, but they’re working to restore riparian buffers along streams and lakes, which helps protect stream habitat and water quality. And all of this is due to the amazing partnership that has developed between the state and land trusts in the name of source water protection.

For more details and examples of the great work land trusts are doing, take a look at the latest edition of the Conservationist magazine.

I hope the Conservationist article gets your creative juices flowing, because we want to inspire other states to work closely with land trusts on source water protection. If you have questions, you can reach my colleagues and I at wqipsourcewater@dec.ny.gov. And for land trusts that work in New York, it’s never too early to plan your next grant application. We hope to have a new round open in 2022!