108 Acres for Braddock Bay Wildlife Area (NY)

Greece, NY, June 23, 2003: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Erin M. Crotty today joined with the Trust for Public Land and officials from the Town of Greece and Monroe County to announce the acquisition of two land parcels totaling more than 108 acres that will become part of the Braddock Bay State Wildlife Management Area. The land will be used to conserve open space, protect rare natural resources for migratory birds and native species, and enhance public recreational opportunities.

“The continuing conservation of valuable wildlife habitat like Braddock Bay is a priority for Governor George E. Pataki and New York State,” Commissioner Crotty said. “With the purchase of the Dahlheim property today, we are building upon our partnership with the Town of Greece and the Trust for Public Land to benefit New Yorkers and migratory birds that have come to depend on this area.”

New York State will purchase 71.6 acres for $587,218 using the State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Future uses of the state land in the Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area will include the planting of native grasses, trees and shrubs to provide additional bird habitat and the formation of nest structures and other methods to help foster the growth of native and migratory bird populations. The land will be available for public fishing, hiking, birding, hunting, cross-country skiing and other day-use activities.

The Town of Greece will purchase 37 acres adjacent to the state’s acquisition, for $505,000. The town will use a matching grant of $250,000 awarded through Monroe County’s Green Space Initiative. Once the purchase is finalized, the town will be working with the state to manage the property in a way that is consistent with Wildlife Management Area objectives. Input will also be provided by the Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Plan Advisory Committee, comprised of area homeowners, local and state officials, sporting groups, and birding groups.

The land being acquired is known as the Dahlheim property, reflecting owners James and Margaret Dahlheim. It includes approximately 3,500 feet of frontage along Salmon Creek with a direct connection to Braddock Bay and Lake Ontario. Currently, it is primarily used for agricultural purposes. The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is facilitating the sale to both the town and state.

TPL Project Manager Clark Wallace said, “This acquisition has been the very model of a partnership. By working together, the town, county, State and the Trust for Public Land were able to achieve something that we wouldn’t have been able to separately.”

Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area is located along the shore of Lake Ontario and includes five habitat units – Buck Pond, Long Pond, Cranberry Pond, Braddock Bay and Rose Marsh. The ponds are connected to the Lake by intermittent channels, which plug and open as lake currents and wave action change the character of the gravel and sand barrier bars. Upon completion of this purchase, the total acreage of the State’s Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area will be 2,684 acres.

Braddock Bay’s marsh provides excellent nesting, feeding and resting habitat for wildlife, waterfowl, shorebirds, marsh birds, songbirds and raptors. The area hosts a wide variety of rare and common species of birds – 310 identified to date – including the bald eagle, golden eagle, peregrine falcon, northern goshawk and red- shouldered hawk.

State Assemblyman Bill Reilich said, “I applaud the insight of all involved agencies and their ability to preserve these parcels of open space located near Braddock Bay and revert them back to their natural habitat. The collaborative efforts between all parties in this project has enabled the Town of Greece to purchase the property without negatively impacting the taxes of the town residents.”

Monroe County Executive Jack Doyle said, “Today’s announcement is a testament of what can be accomplished through collaboration and partnership between the private sector and government. Governor Pataki, Supervisor Auberger and Councilman Smith were all willing and active partners to ensure that the Dahlheim property could become a jewel of greenspace for future generations to enjoy. This acquisition, adjacent to the most significant wetland and habitat areas in the entire Great Lakes, is an accomplishment that the county, town and state can all be proud of.”

Town of Greece Supervisor John T. Auberger said, “The purchase of the Dahlheim Property is a prime example of the cooperation between three levels of government in an effort to preserve open space and maintain natural habitat. It exemplifies the commitment on the part of the Town administration to preserve open space via funding methods that do not adversely impact the Town of Greece taxpayers.”

Braddock Bay was designated as a Bird Conservation Area by Governor Pataki as part of a program designed to safeguard and enhance bird populations and their habitats. It is one of 25 Bird Conservation Areas located in selected State-owned lands and waters that are of particular importance to the conservation of birds. The area has also been designated as a Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Area by the New York State Department of State and was identified as a priority area in the State’s 2002 Open Space Conservation Plan approved by the Governor.

Under the leadership of Governor Pataki, New York State has preserved more than 412,000 acres of open space, resulting in increased recreational opportunities, preservation of historic resources, strengthening of local economies, and the protection of valuable ecosystems. Since 1998, $8.8 million in State EPF funds has been awarded for parks, open space preservation, pollution prevention, waterfront revitalization, and other projects in Monroe County.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.6 million acres of land in 45 states.