WGXC-90.7 FM

185 Columbia County acres protected

Dec 29, 2010 6:43 pm
[caption id="attachment_6302" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Photo from CLC taken Nov. 30, 2010 at land being protected by William and Deborah Cohan in Ancram."][/caption]Four Columbia County property owners permanently protected 185 acres of their properties on Dec. 29, according to Columbia Land Conservancy (CLC). The non-profit group holds the conservation easements on the properties and now protects more than 21,000 acres of land in the county. Joe and Diane Haley donated the development rights on 110 acres in Ghent and Claverack in addition to the 98 acres they have already protected. In Ancram, William and Deborah Cohan protected their 75-acre property. "Growing up on Long Island in the 1950's, my wife and I saw first hand the result of unplanned development and its impact on farming and the natural world," says Joe Haley, in a CLC press release. "To preserve this land for future generations gives us a great sense of gratitude." Both properties are working farms, and part of the Haley property is leased to Hawthorne Valley Farm. The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) determined that the Cohan property has eleven acres of "prime soils" and fifteen acres of "soils of statewide importance" which grow hay and corn.[caption id="attachment_6303" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Photo from CLC taken Dec. 9, 2010 of Joe and Diane Haley\'s protected land."][/caption] “My wife and I decided to put our land into a conservation easement because we wanted to preserve its astonishing natural beauty forever. Its essential purpose is farmland and provides a means to enjoy the simpler things in life,” explains William Cohan.
Both properties include protected wetlands: the Haley land includes portions of a 33-acre New York State Department of Environmental Conservation designated Class 2 wetland, and the Cohan property has two acres of a larger 75-acre Class 2 wetland. Both conservation easements will protect waterways. The North Creek, deemed a Class C(TS) trout spawning stream by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation runs through the Haley property for approximately 1,500 feet. A tributary to the Roeliff-Jansen Kill runs through the Cohan property for approximately 2,700 feet. The Cohan property is part of a larger 3,000-acre “Neighborhood Conservation Block” that includes seventeen other properties permanently protected with conservation easements. The area is highly prominent from Route 82 with visible meadows, open hillsides, hedgerows, and bodies of water. The 110 acres of Haley property is directly attached to 98 acres owned and previously protected by the Haleys and this expanded easement property is located across the street from another 47 acres which the Haleys also protected and sold subject to a conservation easement. The property owners donated the development rights of their property to CLC and this ensures that the property is permanently conserved. The property owners retain title to their property, pay property taxes, and can sell or pass the property on to heirs. They can still farm on the land, and are not required to allow public access. CLC now holds 150 easements that protect 21,135 acres.
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