By Lexi Bruening, Channel 7 February 21, 2023
TOWN OF ORLEANS, New York (WWNY) – After recently buying land along Blind Bay, the Thousand Islands Land Trust observed Stewardship Day Tuesday. It’s a chance to help preserve nature and to protect the land from a looming threat.
Wrestling through the brush, volunteers disappeared into the woods along Blind Bay to provide homes for the hundreds of wildlife that flock to the area every spring.
“There’s over a hundred species here between the fish, the turtles, the birds, the mammals,” said Spencer Busler, assistant director, Thousand Islands Land Trust.
The first annual Stewardship Day on Blind Bay is a partnership between the Thousand Islands Land Trust, Save the River, and a few local Cub Scouts like Aiden Trickey, who got his hands on a drill.
“I’m really used to that happening but it never backfired and fell out of my hand before,” he said.
The group also set up three wood duck nest boxes, where eventually, wood ducks will lay their eggs, and their fledglings will make their way out and into the bay.
“We wanted to be prepared so that when animals migrate back, we are here and ready for them, and their homes are ready too,” said Lauren Eggleston, assistant director, Save the River.
As boxes and birdhouses went up, a looming threat was in the back of the minds of many. U.S. Customs and Border Protection wants the land for a new facility.
In September, CBP wrote it was seeking a temporary right of entry to the Blind Bay land for an environmental assessment – seemingly the first step in an eminent domain proceeding.
To help better legally defend itself, TILT purchased the land CBP was interested in. It was finalized in November.
Since then, Busler says TILT hasn’t heard a peep.
“We do plan to continue reaching back out to CBP to try to find a site that is more compatible for their uses,” he said.
Creating, protecting and preserving a home.