Conservation through partnership
Except for a few mighty Sycamores that have surrendered themselves to the river, the view of the Battenkill River from Kathy and Hugh Roome’s property in Jackson, NY has changed very little since they first purchased the land over 20 years ago.
Home to an assortment of ducks, kingfishers and untold numbers of trout tucked into deep pools, “the land is located on a wonderful stretch of river that doesn’t have a structure on either side,” says Kathy. Which is one reason protecting it was so important to her and her husband.
The Roomes, who had previously donated an easement on 275 acres of farmland in Jackson to ASA in 2018, were already familiar with the process and merits of conservation. “Turning to ASA to protect the land was naturally my first thought.”
But while it may have felt obvious, the project wasn’t without its challenges.
The first issue was a matter of timing as the Roomes were looking to donate an easement within a tight timeframe. The second was that, with its 3,400 feet of river frontage, but only a few acres of prime and important soils, the 50-acre property didn’t quite check all the boxes for a typical ASA easement. But the one box it did check —and the one that mattered most — was that it was a property worth conserving.
Very quickly, ASA’s land protection team realized the property was a better fit for the Battenkill Conservancy (BkC). So ASA reached out to Lorraine Merghart Ballard, Executive Director of the BkC with a proposition: if ASA was able to put an easement on the property, would the BkC be open to having it transferred to their portfolio for monitoring and stewardship?
“Of course we said ‘yes,’ recalls Lorraine. “And the timing couldn’t have been better as we had been actively honing our process for easement acquisition at the time. And here was a chance to work alongside ASA and watch and learn from their efforts and protect a valuable stretch of land and water.”
ASA was able to secure the easement and will transfer it to BkC this summer, effectively conserving the land through a partnership with BkC.
Funding for the transaction and stewardship costs was provided by the landowners.