DU protects New York public lands missing link

Popular Lake Ontario public area now connected.

This space will soon be part of Galen Wildlife Management Area.

This space will soon be part of Galen Wildlife Management Area.

Ducks Unlimited in late 2021 secured a 184-acre tract of land that completes Galen Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in New York’s Wayne County, near Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes.

The private land tract is about half agricultural use and half forested wetlands, making it ripe for restoration. Once DU finishes restoring the former farm field, the property will be turned over to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for inclusion into the WMA.

The property purchased by DU will connect Galen’s two areas into one large public property. The management area is popular for outdoor recreation including hunting, fishing and birding.

"Agricultural fields on this site flooded every couple of years and the site is naturally wet, so restoring wetlands here will be a magnet for waterfowl in the center of the Atlantic Flyway," said Patrick Raney, DU manager of conservation services.

Ducks Unlimited will use the property as part of its wetlands mitigation program. Under the Clean Water Act, development and construction projects that impact a wetland are required to mitigate the damage by creating a wetland of equal or greater functioning capacity. Developers will pay DU for credits at this site to be counted toward their mitigation requirements.

The property is close to the iconic Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, one of the most important wetland complexes for waterfowl in the New York portion of the Atlantic Flyway. The existing forested wetland is recognized by the New York Natural Heritage Program for its high botanical quality and supports a diverse array of wildlife and songbirds.

"Had we not purchased this site, it faced threats of logging, introduction of invasive species and potential for development," Raney said.

Ducks Unlimited used funds from the DU mitigation program and also New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to acquire the property in two phases.