Friday, December 3, 2021

Governor Hochul Announces New Pilot Program to Improve Public Access along Western New York's Lake Ontario Tributaries Receiving Water from the Erie Canal

 Fishing in the Canals of Western NY

Access and Conservation Easement Program through the Reimagine the Canals Initiative Will Expand Angling Access to Streams While Preserving the Local Environment

 Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a new pilot program to improve public access along Western New York's Lake Ontario tributaries receiving water from the Erie Canal in Monroe, Orleans, and Niagara counties. Through the Reimagine the Canals initiative, the New York Power Authority (NYPA), Canal Corporation, and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), have entered into a partnership to implement the "Access and Conservation Easement" program has been created to provide one-time payments to waterfront property owners to secure public fishing access and other conservation rights. The eligible properties are along north flowing Lake Ontario tributaries which are currently and proposed to become part of the Reimagine the Canals Fall Fishing Program.

"Fishing during the fall season is a cornerstone of recreation in Western New York, and I am delighted to announce the expansion of our efforts to maintain optimal conditions and improve opportunities for anglers," said Governor Kathy Hochul. "Through the Reimagine the Canals initiative, this partnership between the state and local landowners in key fishing areas will connect community and conservation along the Lake Ontario tributaries and will provide New Yorkers with additional areas to cast a line while increasing tourism and bolstering local businesses."

A Request for Expressions of Interest is being developed and will be issued to allow landowners in the designated areas to provide property and contact information to be considered for inclusion in the Program.  The ACE program will be piloted on several waterfront properties in Monroe, Orleans, and Niagara counties selected through the RFEI and will follow a transparent process by which an easement price will be determined, with an option for landowners to opt-out at any point prior to reaching an agreement.

The easements will provide public fishing access and convey to the rights to maintain easement areas to improve water quality, enhance habitat, and reduce erosion. Easements or rights-of-way will reside with DEC ensuring public access and water quality improvements into the future. 

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