CATTARAUGUS COUNTY, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Nature Conservancy is making a major move to protect a beloved natural resource in Cattaraugus County.
The Conservancy announced on Thursday that they have acquired 612 acres of pristine forest in the Zoar Valley. According to a news release issued, the purchase was made possible thanks to a collaboration between a private landowner, The Nature Conservancy and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC).
Experts estimate the preservation of these acress will help capture 74,000 tons of carbon pollution from the atmosphere, that's the equivalent of keeping 16,000 cars off the road.
"Local land protection benefits the entire planet. It helps provide clean air and water for people while also contributing to the fight against global climate change," said Jim Howe, The Nature Conservancy's Central and Western New York chapter director. "That's a tall order but workhorse lands like the forests of Zoar Valley are up for the challenge. It helps that they are also spectacularly beautiful. Protecting these forests give us the chance to enjoy these remarkable lands while maintaining a myriad of benefits for local communities."
In addition to the carbon storage benefits it offers, the land's location in a river valley will allow plants and animals to move and adapt as the climate changes.
According to The Conservancy, the newly protected forestland also includes frontage on Cattaraugus Creek, which feeds the aquifer that provides drinking water for the Seneca Nation of Indians.