Because WLC is a not-for-profit organization whose work benefits the whole community – and because we are qualified by New York State and the U.S. government for this work – we may only protect properties that meet criteria related to the ecological, historical, and cultural significance of the land.
Typically, a property must have three or more of the following attributes to be considered either for acquisition or a conservation easement:
- Land that contains prominent and/or unique natural features.
- Land that is within a publicly accessible scenic location or that offers notable vistas.
- Land that is adjacent to, or in proximity to, other protected lands (i.e., land owned by the Town, State, or New York City or lands that WLC already protects).
- All or part of land in an environmentally sensitive area containing, among other features, freshwater wetlands, watercourses, flood hazard areas, steep slopes, important plant or wildlife habitat, or other significant natural communities.
- Land that contains endangered, threatened, or rare species or that protects biodiversity.
- Land that is valuable to the community as open space in an area currently experiencing, or which may in the future experience, significant development pressure.
- Land that has a prominent position in how people perceive our community and/or is important in preserving the integrity of the landscape.
- Land that is identified on Town, State, or Federal plans as important open space.
- Land that has agricultural or forestry significance.
- Land that contains, or has the potential to contain, ecosystems of educational and/or scientific value.
- Land that contains, or has the capacity to contain, recreational value by lending itself to low-impact activities that do not diminish the integrity of the environment.
- Land that provides for watershed and/or aquifer protection.
- Land that has historic value, or is adjacent to lands of historic value, and that is necessary for the protection of items of historical interest.
- Land that is in a relatively natural condition.
- Land that serves as a buffer for lands meeting any of the above criteria.
- Land whose protection through acquisition or with a conservation easement would set an important precedent for preserving open space in an area of interest to WLC.