What's at Stake
Farm near Dimmock Hollow. PHOTO: Richard Walker
That's what's at stake. And these places need your help. By protecting our lands and waters, we—and you—build upon a legacy that reaches back to the earliest residents of the Otsego Region. Sustaining a conservation ethic helps ensure that residents will learn to respect, cherish and protect the land for generations to come.
The quality of life that so many of us cherish in the Otsego Region is already threatened by thoughtless residential, commercial and industrial development. Conservation leaders around the country predict that we have twenty to thirty years to protect the rural places we care about and the clock is ticking.
Several studies document the threats to our area, where new houses already outpace population growth:
- Farming on the Edge (American Farmland Trust 2002) identifies high-quality farmland along the Route 20 corridor as highly vulnerable to residential and commercial development.
- Forests on the Edge (U.S. Forest Service 2005) forecasts that forests in the Upper Susquehanna River Basin, especially in the southern portion of the Otsego Region, will become increasingly fragmented as more homes are built there.
- Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (New York State Department of Conservation 2008) identifies habitat loss as the major threat to wildlife in our region.
As these threats evolve, ease and gain intensity over times, new ones continue to emerge. Most recently, natural gas extraction is emerging as a complicated issue that poses threats the Otsego Region and beyond.
In 2008, Otsego Land Trust completed its Conservation Blueprint for the Otsego Region, which was made possible with a grant from the New York State Conservation Partnership with the Department of Environmental Conservation and Land Trust Alliance. The grant enabled us to compile and analyze the best available data for our region and to identify ten expansive and landscapes where it makes the most sense for us to focus our land protection efforts.
To protect our expansive landscapes and the natural treasures they encompass, it is necessary to work with partners on a meaningful scale. Fortunately landowners, and people like you, are coming together to make a difference in places like Otsego Lake, Red Creek and the Susquehanna River, Upper Otego Creek, the Unadilla River headwaters, and the Butternut Valley. As a result of efforts by landowners collaborating with Otsego Land Trust and our partners, a network of conservation lands is beginning to emerge throughout the region.