Finger Lakes Land Trust launches a new water protection plan

The Finger Lakes Land Trust Thursday announced new water protection efforts in the wake of increasing outbreaks of toxic algae.

“Toxic algae outbreaks within each of the Finger Lakes have generated alarming headlines over the last few years, prompting the Land Trust to take immediate action,” stated the announcement of a five-point plan by the Ithaca-based land trust.

Toxic algae — also referred to as harmful algal blooms — poses a threat to human health and water quality. The land trust reaffirmed its commitment to protect the region’s clean waters by escalating its work in five key areas:

Protecting lakeshore and stream corridors

This will “help prevent erosion, pollution, and nutrient runoff from entering our lakes. With support from New York State and private funders, the Land Trust has been increasing efforts to save our last remaining undeveloped lakeshore from development as well as protect pristine frontage on key tributaries to the Finger Lakes.”

Creating natural buffers along streams

This will “restore our lakes’ natural filtration system. Many streamside areas have been cleared of trees and shrubs to allow for agriculture or development. To restore this important natural system, the Land Trust will plant trees and shrubs along streams in areas that will be permanently protected.”

Restoring streams and wetlands

This will “slow stormwater runoff will protect our lakes during intense rain events. For nearly 200 years, drainage systems in our region have been enhanced in an attempt to dry farm fields and developed areas in the spring and to keep our roads from flooding. These efforts have the dual-effect of increasing nutrient runoff to our lakes. To restore some of the resilience of our original landscape, the Land Trust will work with partners such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to rehabilitate wetlands and streams that have been straightened.”

Online educational resource hub about toxic algae

This resource hub is now online at fllt.org/water. People may “find easily accessible information about toxic algae and steps that individuals can take to reduce nutrient runoff. Staff will be updating the resources available on the site regularly and will also be out in the field meeting with landowners, community organizations, town officials and others."

Strengthening partnerships with lake associations

This will “complement local watershed protection efforts. Each of our eleven Finger Lakes is served by a non-profit lake association or watershed group and working together will maximize our collective impact.”

Visit fllt.org/water to learn more.