Westchester Land Trust took a big step toward helping protect the watershed of the Croton Reservoir system with the recent completion of conservation easements on 286 acres in Bedford and in the Putnam County town of Patterson.
The easements, on Burdick Farm, Jensen Farm and Tanrackin Farm, were donated by Beth and Bob Mancini, of Bedford.
The Mancinis, the donors of two previous easements in Bedford, have now protected more land with Westchester Land Trust – 345 acres – than any other individual conservation easement donor. At 164 acres, Jensen Farm is the largest easement ever donated by an individual to Westchester Land Trust.
“We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. And although we are less than an hour from one the largest and most densely populated metropolitan areas in the world, we enjoy an unusual abundance of open space and natural beauty,” Bob Mancini said. “Beth and I cherish this environment and hope through our conservation easements to add incrementally to the permanency of this unique character.”
Burdick Farm and Jensen Farm are in the Great Swamp. Considered the third largest fresh water wetland in New York, the Great Swamp stretches from Putnam into Dutchess County, provides valuable wildlife habitat and serves as a key source of water for the Croton Reservoir system in northern Westchester.
The Great Swamp is a listed as priority area in New York State’s Open Space Conservation Plan, which says:
“This vital and fragile natural resource needs to be safeguarded from further development and associated runoff. In order to protect the unique habitat of the Great Swamp, the diverse range of wildlife it supports, its scenic value, and its critical function of water purification, not only the in-holdings but also the surrounding uplands need to be conserved.”
WLT’s land preservation staff described the properties this way:
“Burdick Farm includes wooded wetlands and wooded upland areas as well as extensive meadows and farm fields with hedgerows and other edge habitats creating a diverse array of vegetation communities of outstanding value to wildlife populations. Both Jensen Farm and Burdick Farm are integral links in a recognized ‘biotic corridor’ connecting large tracts of undeveloped lands.
“The parcels are part of a major avian flyway for migrating birds with more than 120 identified species, some of which are rare or threatened, catalogued by area bird counts.”
Parts of Burdick Farm are planted in hay; Jensen Farm is an evergreen tree farm.
In 2007 and 2008, the Mancinis donated easements on land they own in Bedford. The new 18-acre easement is contiguous to those. It helps protect the views from Guard Hill Road and Interstate 684, provides watershed and wetland protection, and keeps valuable farmland from being further subdivided.