Mothersfield Protected in Avon

Mothersfield Protected in Avon

iSeptember 11, 2020

A conservation easement placed on Mothersfield in Avon last week will protect the farmland and open space of this property.  By limiting development and subdivision of this farm, the easement will ensure the productive soils and positive economic impacts will continue to benefit the community for generations to come.

Genesee Valley Conservancy worked with landowners Carol and Randy Kozlowski to protect this equestrian farm that comprises of 66 acres along State Route 39 and Hogmire Road in the town of Avon.

Look at That View

The location of the farm is highly visible to the public and is a key part of the rural scenic viewshed that can be enjoyed when traveling on Route 39 and Hogmire Road.  In fact, the town of Avon’s 2016 comprehensive plan identified this stretch of Route 39 as a greenbelt/viewshed that should be protected to preserve the “beautiful agricultural views of the valley,” one of just three locations designated in the plan for viewshed protection.

Family History

For over 100 years, this property has been owned and managed by the Blakely family.  Carol is the third generation to own and operate at this location and has been working on the farm for 25 years.  Today, Carol runs an equestrian boarding and training facility.   

Carol has a long history of high-level equestrian riding including being long listed for the Olympics and short listed twice for the Pan American Games.  While Carol continues to ride and compete, she has created a business that works to ensure riders of all ages and abilities can benefit from lessons at her barn.

From boarding horses, riding lessons, safety trainings, and competition events, Mothersfield attracts equestrians from across the region all year long.

Important Bird Area

The conservation of Mothersfield adds protected acres to a location designated as an Important Bird Area due to the rare and endangered species that rely on this part of the Genesee Valley. 

Fields that are suitable for pasturing horses and growing hay also support bird species that rely on grasslands for survival.  The largest threat to the Nations Road Grasslands, as the Important Bird Area is called, is loss of open fields due to subdivision for residential housing development (and the associated paved driveways, mowed lawns, and structures) that fragment habitat necessary for grassland species to survive.

Mothersfield is the 16th conservation project completed within the 13,700 acre Nations Road Grasslands by Genesee Valley Conservancy.

Take a Hike

Mothersfield is located directly adjacent to one of Genesee Valley Conservancy’s longest nature preserves, the Railroad Bed Trail.  This three-mile long hiking trail provides hiking and riding opportunities to the public.  One of the enjoyable features of this trail are the sweeping views that can be enjoyed out over the neighboring rural properties.

This project is the 7th conservation project directly adjacent to the Railroad Bed Trail, adding over 1,000 feet of protection to this nature preserve and views enjoyed from it.  The trail now has 3.2 miles of protected boundaries surrounding it.

Agriculture Uses

The farmland at Mothersfield primarily supports the equestrian operation directly, through pastures and growing hay and straw.  The land also provides a supplemental funding stream for the equestrian business through leases with local farmers who grow a rotation of crops on the property.  The farm boards up to 20 horses.

While this is the Kozlowski’s first conservation project they’ve completed with Genesee Valley Conservancy, they are not new to local conservation efforts.  The Kozlowski’s own two other properties protected by the previous landowners.  As a result, Randy and Carol have worked with the Conservancy for 20 years as owners of these protected lands, ensuring the important open space and agricultural resources remain intact, and ensuring these properties will be available for future owners to enjoy as open space and agricultural lands as they have been able to.

By the Numbers

The conservation easement on the Mothersfield is the 88th easement completed by the Conservancy and the 22nd project in Avon.  There are now 4,685 acres protected in the town of Avon.

How It Happened

In 2018 the Kozlowski’s approached the Conservancy to learn about farmland protection and conservation options available in the Genesee Valley.  Later in the year, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets released a grant opportunity to protect farmland that met certain minimum requirements, had local support, and relied on the landowners donating a conservation easement to a land conservancy.  The State grant provided funding to cover the transaction costs of the project, including legal work, staff time, and property survey, that are necessary to protect land with an easement.

This project was the result of a collaboration between Genesee Valley Conservancy, Livingston County Board of Supervisors, Livingston County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board, Town of Avon, and New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.  To-date, the collaborative effort between Genesee Valley Conservancy and local partners has resulted in over $18 million invested in protecting some of the States most productive agricultural lands here in the Genesee Valley.

In Summary

This project was supported by the Livingston County Agricultural & Farmland Protection Board and the Town of Avon.  Both municipalities recognize agricultural land and operations are critical to the local economy and the economic future of the region.  Genesee Valley Conservancy works throughout the Genesee River watershed to protect high quality habitat, open space and farmland for the community.  The Conservancy now oversees the protection of 21,360 acres.

Landowners in the Genesee River watershed interested in pursuing conservation options for their property, be it farmland, habitat, or a public nature preserve, should contact the Genesee Valley Conservancy for more information.