sThe Western New York Land Conservancy is pleased to announce that it was awarded $1,843,487 from the Habitat Enhancement and Restoration Fund (HERF) towards creating the Stella Niagara Preserve. The fund was created as part of the Niagara River Greenway from the Niagara Power Project Relicensing agreement. When combined with the $500,000 received from the Greenway Ecological Standing Committee earlier this year, the Land Conservancy will have received more than $2,300,000 of the $3,100,000 needed to create the first nature preserve along the Niagara River to be owned and operated by a not-for-profit.
Senator George D. Maziarz said, “Stella Niagara is a gateway between the Niagara River and New York State’s 62nd Senate District which I represent. This project will help improve the region’s already high quality of life, and preserve our unique cultural and natural heritage.”
According to Greg Stevens, chairman of the Niagara River Greenway Commission, “The Stella Niagara Preserve represents an important accomplishment in our vision of creating a necklace of protected and publicly accessible open spaces along the length of the Niagara River. It is great to see the project moving forward with so much support.”
The executive director of the Land Conservancy, Nancy Smith, said, “We are so pleased to be working with the Sisters of Saint Francis to create the Stella Niagara Preserve. Our goal is to continue their legacy of careful stewardship of this extraordinarily unique and ecologically and historically important property while at the same time providing opportunities for new public access to the Niagara River.”
Located on the river side of Lower River Road in the town of Lewiston, across from the Stella Niagara Education Park and Center of Renewal, the 29-acre Stella Niagara Preserve property is one of the most remarkable places on the Niagara River. With over a quarter-mile of scenic shoreline the property supports rare plants and animals, was an important canoe landing site for the region’s Haudenosaunee and is the exact location where the British landed in 1813 to capture Fort Niagara. Once acquired, the Land Conservancy will restore grassland and savannah habitat and open it to the public with walking trails, fishing and kayak access.
Sister Edith Wyss, provincial minister of the Sisters of St. Francis, the current property owner, said, “There are certain places in the world that are so spiritually uplifting and whose beauty is so awe-inspiring that they just have to be protected for future generations to enjoy. Stella Niagara is one of those treasures. We sincerely thank everyone for helping to make this possible.”
The success of the project now hinges on obtaining the remaining $800,000 needed to acquire and maintain the preserve. According to Smith, “We are relying on our Western New York community to step up and ensure that this important piece of our heritage is secured.” The Land Conservancy is seeking the remainder of the funding from local businesses, foundations, private donors and other funding sources. If you are interested in supporting the Stella Niagara Preserve, please contact the Land Conservancy by calling Nancy Smith at 687-1225 or emailing her at email@example.com.
The Western New York Land Conservancy is a regional, not-for-profit land trust that permanently protects more than 5,000 acres of land with significant conservation values in Western New York for the benefit of future generations. We envision a future in which natural areas, farmlands, wildlife habitat and scenic beauty are cherished and protected as part of the landscape and character of Western New York. The organization is one of 1,700 land trusts nationwide, including 90 in New York State, which have protected 40 million acres over the last 20 years. For more information on upcoming events, volunteer opportunities or the mission of the Western New York Land Conservancy, please call 687-1225 or visit www.wnylc.org.