We are working to preserve forested, streamside lands essential for maintaining our streams’ excellent water quality, protecting wildlife habitat, and mitigating flood damage for current and and future generations.
Preserving healthy, natural streams prevents streambank erosion, helps mitigate flood risk, protects wildlife, and preserves our region’s inherent natural beauty, which draws tourists from all over the world to visit our communities. The Catskill Center has worked to preserve streams throughout the region for decades through its education, land protection, and advocacy programs.
We have recently begun a pilot Streamside Acquisition Program (SAP) in partnership with New York City to reach a shared goal: protect the streamside, forested lands and floodplains that are essential for maintaining Catskill streams’ excellent water quality. Under this program, the Catskill Center secures streamside ‘buffer’ lands and floodplains in fee simple and/or conservation easements from interested streamside landowners for acquisition by NYC.
Under SAP, the Catskill Center secures streamside lands from interested streamside landowners at fair market value for acquisition by NYC for the purpose of water quality protection. Once purchased, the land will be owned and managed by NYC, and NYC will convey to New York State a conservation easement on each property.
Special Condition 29 of the 2010 Water Supply Permit, issued by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, describes this program as intended to provide permanent land protection to streamside (riparian) buffers in order to promote water quality in NYC’s West-of-Hudson Watershed. SAP is funded entirely by NYC and managed by the Catskill Center.
This 5-year pilot program has begun operating in areas of the Schoharie basin outside of designated hamlets that have excluded NYC’s Land Acquisition Program. Municipalities may, at their own discretion, ‘opt in’ to allow the Catskill Center to solicit parcels within designated hamlets that otherwise exclude the City’s Land Acquisition Program. In all cases, only parcels that include streamside buffer and/or floodplain would be considered for solicitation.