Trust Protects Land on Shelter Island for Drinking Water

March 30, 2020
Conservation News
Water Quality

$9 Million Investment from New York State Supports Drinking Water Protection on Long Island

We know that protecting our drinking water is a conservation priority for you. And we have some good news to share: the Trust completed our third conservation project — this time on Shelter Island — to protect drinking water and recreational lands at the end of February.

Six acres in the West Neck area of Shelter Island were permanently protected in late February involving the Peconic Land Trust, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Town of Shelter Island and the landowners, Ned Smyth and Rima Mardoyan-Smyth.

In 2017, the Trust was the first organization on Long Island to apply for — and receive funding from — a new grant program from the NYS DEC to protect drinking water (WQIP).

And we were the first organization across the state to protect land under this program. The Trust established its Regional Aquifer Protection Land Acquisition Program to help our Towns on eastern Long Island protect more land for water quality.

Our work on this project would not have been possible without you, our Donors. Thank You!!!

The land will forever be preserved and will continue to provide significant benefits for the replenishment of our sole source aquifer. The land protected on Shelter Island has the capacity to recharge – the process of replenishing the aquifer’s water supply – 3.5 million gallons of water annually based on available acreage alone.

The newly protected land will also provide a natural habitat for hiking and bird watching that will be open to the public later this year.

Funding for the acquisition comes from a grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. This competitive grant program provides reimbursement up to 75 percent for the acquisition of lands that protect our source water resources.

The Trust also worked with the Town of Shelter Island on this conservation — and at closing the Trust sold the land to the Town for the remaining 25 percent of the acquisition cost.

“We are incredibly thankful to Governor Cuomo and the Peconic Land Trust for taking the necessary steps to protect Long Island’s drinking water. This acquisition demonstrates the State’s dedication to preparing for climate change and protecting the residents,” said Shelter Island Town Supervisor Gerry Siller.

To read the full press release issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on Thursday, March 26, 2020 click here.

In total, the Trust has received three grants under this program — DEC’s Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) — between 2017 and 2019 for a total of nearly $9 million for acquisitions in the towns of Brookhaven, East Hampton, Riverhead, Shelter Island, and Southold.

This grant program is specific for source water protection. The first two projects were in the Town of Brookhaven.

“As climate change poses a threat to our waterways, we are taking aggressive action to make sure drinking water is safe for Long Island residents,” said NYS Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “This $9 million total state investment helped the Peconic Land Trust acquire three Long Island properties that will recharge Long Island’s aquifer and safeguard the region’s clean water supply. By passing the Restore Mother Nature Environmental Bond Act, we can continue to make these important investments that improve water quality, restore critical habitats for wildlife and fish, and help protect our environment now and in the future.”

It is with your support that we are able to work effectively with property owners, multiple levels of government, and communities, to protect our important natural resources. We couldn’t do this without you.

Support the Peconic Land Trust
Peconic Land Trust needs your support to protect the working farms, natural lands, and heritage of Long Island.