NEW YORK CITY-Federal and city officials report that New York City has committed an additional $25 million to its program geared at acquiring “environmentally sensitive” land in the Croton Watershed. The funds will be used to acquire up to 700 acres of land in three Hudson Valley counties.

City officials state that the Department of Environmental Protection has acquired more than 50,000 acres of Catskill/Delaware watershed property under its Land Acquisition Program since 1997.

“Although we are required to build a filtration plant for Croton system water, we’re also taking further steps that are necessary to protect that watershed long-term,” says New York City mayor Bloomberg. The city is currently planning to build a massive filtration facility that is estimated to cost more than $1 billion on property at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.

“Land acquisition allows the city to forever protect valuable watershed property from development and pollution,” NYCDEP Commissioner Christopher O. Ward notes. “To date, over 680 willing sellers have agreed to accept the city’s fair market value purchase offers, either selling land outright or granting conservation easements. We will continue to identify strategic properties through at least 2007.”

The Croton watershed provides New York City with approximately 10% of its daily supply from a 220,000-acre watershed in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties. To date the city has secured more than 1,200 acres in the Croton watershed under fee simple or conservation easement by the city and New York State since 1997. The city and state currently own more than 10,200 acres, or approximately 5% of the total Croton watershed.

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