Did you know an acre of mature forest can capture a ton of carbon every year? Nature is the sleeping giant in solving climate change, and nature-based solutions–like protecting land and forests–are among the cheapest and most effective ways to store carbon, the leading driver of climate change. Thanks to a new and innovative partnership, the City of Albany Water Department and Albany Water Board and The Nature Conservancy in New York are taking a leap forward in tackling one of the greatest challenges our planet faces.
It was an agreement years in the making. Troy Weldy, our Senior Conservation Manager, met Amy Walsh, a forester with the Albany Water Board, and discussed participation in the Conservancy’s Working Woodlands program. Amy immediately recognized the benefits of the program for the residents of Albany. While forest lands that surround city water supplies may be thought of as protected, there is not always a formal agreement to permanently protect these lands.
By participating in the Working Woodlands program, the City of Albany keeps the landscape intact, improves forest health, protects drinking water, and generates a new source of revenue. The agreement permanently protects the Basic Creek and Alcove Reservoirs and the surrounding forested lands–a total of 6,400 acres of land and water.
In addition to protecting the primary source of Albany’s drinking water, the surrounding forests absorb and store carbon, which limits greenhouse gas emissions. The forest also serves as a home to all kinds of species, including bald eagles and other rare and threatened birds.
Working Woodlands helps landowners sustainably manage their forests while generating a sustainable new revenue stream. Certification into the program requires a full forest and carbon inventory, a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved forest management plan, implementation, and monitoring.
Not only are we keeping forests healthy through the Working Woodlands program, the Conservancy is also helping to generate a new revenue source for the Albany Water Board by developing and marketing the carbon credits to the voluntary carbon market, in which businesses and individuals buy credits to offset their carbon emissions. It’s a win-win in the fight against climate change.