Upper Susquehanna River
The Susquehanna River defines the Otsego Region and much of the mid-Atlantic seaboard. At nearly 450 miles, the Susquehanna River, which begins at Otsego Lake, is the longest U.S. river flowing into the Atlantic. It is also the largest watershed in the mid-Atlantic and the largest single source of freshwater to the Chesapeake Bay. As a result, what goes on in our backyard directly affects the health of that major ecosystem and the livelihoods of our neighbors downstream.
Large working farms line the banks of the Susquehanna and form an important focus in our efforts to protect the region's beauty, character and health. A one-mile stretch of the Susquehanna already under preservation includes some of the best examples of our conservation priorities, including active farmland, an extensive tract of floodplain forest and wetlands, and the place where James Fenimore Cooper's legendary character Leatherstocking is thought to have once lived.
The Upper Susquehanna River contains one of the highest concentrations of rare and endangered species in the Otsego Region. In its waters live a variety of, native freshwater mussels—yellow lamp, green floater, elktoe and brook floater—which attest to the general health of the river and the surrounding land. Along its banks grow a native species of orchid, the downy rattlesnake plantain, and timber rattlesnakes are common on its forested ridges.
The Otsego Land Trust recently made its first outright purchase of land—a three-acre parcel at the confluence of Oaks Creek and the Susquehanna River known as Compton Bridge. Based on input from residents in the community and in response to recent closures of state parks, we are working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to permit public access from the site for canoeing, kayaking and fishing.