Lake Placid Land Conservancy recently acquired a 135-acre habitat and open space conservation easement in the Town of Jay, that was donated by local resident Gregory Claude Fetters. The property includes approximately 44 acres of northern Appalachian-Acadian, conifer- hardwood, acidic wetlands and over 90 acres of Laurentian-Acadian pine forest.
Conservation of the property permanently protects a variety of terrestrial and aquatic habitats, and allows the property to remain available for sustainable timber harvesting and eligible for enrollment in New York’s 480-A forest tax law.
The property hosts almost a mile of Otis Brook, an important tributary to the East Branch of the Ausable River, and contains wetlands and hardwood vegetation that support wetland-dependent species, including a variety of amphibians, migratory birds, mammals and reptiles, as well as New York State species of concern, such as the American bittern, cerulean warbler, and Wilson’s warbler. Additionally, the tributary’s wetlands and watercourses provide high-quality, aquatic habitat that contributes to the overall protection of the East Branch’s water quality and ecological viability.
Otis Brook, which traverses through the property’s wetlands, is an ecologically important tributary to the East Branch of the Ausable River because its cooler, less impaired water provides critical spawning habitat for native brook trout and other fish species. Conserving forested and wetland areas along Otis Brook by LPLC builds on previous conservation planning and implementation efforts by the Ausable River Association, The Nature Conservancy, and other partners, who recently improved stream connectivity, fish habitat and flood resilience of the upper portion of Otis Brook through a major culvert restoration project in 2016.
The conservation easement property is located between several bridges and culverts on Otis Brook that were identified as priorities for repair and replacement in a 2012 Lake Champlain Basin Program technical report on fish passage and connectivity in the Ausable Watershed published by the Ausable River Association, The Nature Conservancy and SUNY Plattsburgh.
The Lake Placid Land Conservancy (LPLC) is a 501(c)(3) not for profit land trust that partners with landowners and communities in the Ausable and Saranac River basins in the Adirondack Park to conserve important open spaces, view sheds, wildlife habitats, water resources as well as recreational lands that create opportunities for people to enjoy the region’s natural beauty.
Photo: Otis Brook Conservation Easement, courtesy Lake Placid Land Conservancy.