Flora Protected Around Hemlock and Canadice Lakes

From a DEC press release:

City of Rochester, State Preserve Last Two Undeveloped Finger Lakes in New York

(Thursday, July 1, 2010) – Rochester Mayor Robert J. Duffy and State Environmental Commissioner Pete Grannis announced today that New York State has completed the purchase of Hemlock and Canadice lakes from the City of Rochester for $13.7 million. The transaction, which has been in the works for over two years, will preserve and protect the last two undeveloped Finger Lakes – which have supplied water to Rochester for more than 130 years.

Of New York’s 11 Finger Lakes, Hemlock Lake and Canadice Lake are the only two with undeveloped shorelines. In 1895, the City recognized the value of protecting the source of its public water supply, and thus began acquiring watershed property adjacent to the lakes. By 1950, the City owned 7,000 acres of critical shoreline property. Cottages and houses were removed. Agricultural land was replanted to forest.

City stewardship of the lakes and adjacent lands over the last century has provided a superior water supply while also protecting valuable regional resources, including open space, wildlife habitat and fisheries. As a direct result of City efforts, these are the only Finger Lakes with no shoreline development.

The lakes have been identified as a “high priority” on the state’s Open Space Conservation Program since its inception in 1992 – state acquisition would remove the pressure on the City to sell off the buffer lands for development. Under the terms of the transaction, the state purchased approximately 7,000 acres of land in the towns of Livonia, Conesus, Springwater, Richmond and Canadice. The City will retain the use of the lakes, which serve as much of its drinking-water supply.

Per agreement with the City, DEC will continue property maintenance and preservation that meets or exceeds the City’s current standards, sealing the City’s legacy of good stewardship. Over the long term, a comprehensive unit management plan will be developed for the property, with extensive public input. That process will likely take two or more years to complete.

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