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Four WNY land trust projects secure DEC grants

East Aurora, Buffalo and Jamestown will be beneficiaries of land trust grant monies allocated by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The DEC announced Wednesday that 58 land trust groups statewide would receive portions of $1.8 million in Conservation Partnership Program grants.

Locally, grants were awarded to:

  • the Western New York Land Conservancy.
  • Grassroots Gardens WNY.
  • Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy.

Four projects in Western New York received grant monies from the state's Conservation Partnership Program. (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation)

The grant program aims to safeguard water quality, farmland and public access to land.

One of two waterfalls at the new Owens Falls Sanctuary in Aurora. (Courtesy of WNY Land Conservancy)

"Through partnerships with local land trusts, the Environmental Protection Fund provides critical support for open space programs across the state," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "These grants help local land trusts support our work to protect New York's peerless waters, lands and habitats and preserve our state's natural resources."

The Western New York Land Conservancy, which has been involved in myriad projects from the Stella Niagara Preserve to the Owens Falls Sanctuary, received two grants.

One was for the acquisition of 57 acres for the Owens Falls Sanctuary near East Aurora. The grant was $40,000.

The Owens Falls Sanctuary is a new nature preserve in the town of Aurora that's open to the public.

Owens Falls Sanctuary to open next year

The conservancy's second grant, a $30,000 award, will go toward preserving land in Buffalo Creek's watershed.

The grant will enable the conservancy "to develop a long-term, landscape-scale initiative to build climate resiliency" in the watershed that spans 11 separate municipalities, according to DEC documents.

A $75,000 grant awarded to Grassroots Gardens WNY will provide the group a full-time garden resource specialist that will oversee more than 100 community gardens in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, DEC officials said.

Grassroots Gardens Buffalo director sees fruits of her efforts throughout city

The DEC said Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy will get $23,000 to acquire 74 acres of the Goose Creek Tributary Forest near Jamestown that will allow the public access for various activities.

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