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Public-private grants boost local land conservation

Three Madison County organizations, the Cazenovia Preservation Foundation, the Great Swamp Conservancy and Southern Madison Heritage Trust have received a total of five conservation partnership grants through New York State's Environmental Protection Fund.

"The New York State Conservation Partnership Program advances Governor Cuomo's agenda for a cleaner, greener New York," said Joe Martens, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. "New York State's financial support for the partnership program is critical to important work of land trusts who, in partnership with communities across New York, provide vital protection of open space for its environmental and economic value."

The 57 competitive grant awards announced in Albany by the Land Trust Alliance and the DEC will be matched by more than $1.82 million in private and local funding. Since the program's inception in 2002, the NYSCPP has leveraged over $12 million in additional funding, creating employment and advancement opportunities in the conservation field and helping local communities permanently conserve approximately 15,000 acres of farmland, wildlife habitat, recreation areas and urban open space.

The Cazenovia Preservation Foundation will use its grant award to update their Strategic Conservation Plan. "This work, will then guide the specific activities CPF will take to meet its mission of protecting historic, agricultural and natural resource in and around Cazenovia," said Environmental Project Manager Judy Gianforte.

CPF currently protects over 1900 acres of farmland and open space through conservation easements and ownership. They also maintain over 12 miles of public use trails and offer a summer walks program. More information on CPF can be found at www.cazpreservation.org.

The Great Swamp Conservancy works in a 36,000 acre area of the Oneida Lake and Lake Ontario watersheds to return a portion of the wetlands drained in the 1800's to their original condition. The GSC offers a wide range of education programs at its center on North Main Street. Road in Canastota and works to preserve biological diversity in their focal area. They protect about 200 acres in northern Madison County and Oneida County through conservation easements.

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