The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Town of Hempstead today signed an agreement under which the town will manage and make improvements to environmentally sensitive wetlands at Lido Beach in Hempstead, Nassau County, Long Island, DEC Commissioner John P. Cahill announced.
"Under Governor Pataki's leadership, New York State has purchased and protected an unprecedented amount of open space, including this magnificent wetland and upland property at Lido Beach," DEC Commissioner Cahill said. "Through the memorandum of understanding signed here today, this delicate property will be managed by the Town of Hempstead and open for the public to enjoy for years to come."
Commissioner Cahill and Hempstead Town Supervisor Rich Guardino signed the agreement during a ceremony at Lido Beach. The 10-year agreement, which is renewable, calls for the Town of Hempstead to manage a 39-acre parcel that was acquired by New York State on Aug. 12. The parcel is just west of town-owned property.
Hempstead Town Supervisor Guardino praised the efforts of Senator Skelos, the DEC and Commissioner Cahill for rescuing this endangered property from future development.
"Over the years, I have watched this property become a dump site and a race track for dirt bikers," Supervisor Guardino said. "Under this agreement, residents can look forward to a peaceful, passive park where they can be in touch with nature."
State Senator Dean G. Skelos, who represents Lido Beach on Long Island's South Shore said: "This agreement between the Town and the State represents the culmination of years of work to ensure that the Lido Beach wetlands area remains a wetland, and is not converted to housing or developed in any other way that would alter it from its current, natural state. I want to express my gratitude to Supervisor Guardino and Commissioner Cahill for making the conservation of this area in my district a reality."
The agreement signed today will help maintain and enhance the land, waters and marsh-life of the area and optimize its recreational use for activities such as bird-watching, hiking and picnicking. The area will formally be known as the Lido Beach Marine Conservation Education Area and the town will manage it for passive conservation and study.
The memorandum of understanding calls for the Town of Hempstead to develop an upland nature trail and boardwalk over the tidal wetland area to Reynold's Channel; construct parking; develop and implement a restoration plan for a portion of the site; development educational signs; and, in collaboration with DEC, assess the potential for locating educational facilities at the site.
Seventy-five percent of the Lido Beach property is marsh, which supports a wide range of grasses, vegetation and marine life, including several species of finfish and shellfish. The marshes also act as a miniature pollutant treatment system; large quantities of bacteria and other micro-organisms exist naturally in the marshes and break down organic waste.
The new conservation area is also part of the Atlantic flyway where various species of waterfowl inhabit the marshes during their spring and fall migrations.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michael Farina
DATE: May 9, 2003
Lido Beach, NY, May 9, 2003 - The Town of Hempstead: Dept. Conservation & Waterways (TOHCW) invites the community to a Public Meeting held on June 23rd and 24th starting at 7:30pm at TOHCW Main Office on Lido Blvd in the west marina right off the Loop Pkwy. The purpose of this gathering is to solicit comments and suggestions from the community at large on the proposed development of the Lido Beach Passive Nature Area, on the old de St. Aubin property along Lido Blvd. just west of the Lido water tower.
In 1999, the State of New York acquired the de St. Aubin property and an agreement was reached between New York State: Dept. of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) and TOHCW stating that the TOHCW would assist in the development and management of this nature area. This valuable parcel of tidal wetland is an important piece in the puzzle that provides for the protection of life within the Hempstead estuary system. In the winter months, a variety of waterfowl make use of the property as a wintering ground. During the spring and summer month it serves as a breeding ground to several endemic marsh birds including the Clapper Rail and Seaside Sparrow.
This meeting will outline the plans of the TOHCW to transform this damaged tract into a productive tidal wetland as well as Passive Nature Area open to the public for their enjoyment and education. This process will take several years, ultimately leading to the return of indigenous plant and animal life.
To achieve this end result, debris will be removed in and around the upland zone while protecting any existing native plants. Filled areas that are not presently vegetated will be graded and planted with appropriate wildlife friendly and native plants. A rudimentary trail system will be created for immediate public access to the site. The trail will also lead to the Town of Hempstead West Marina to provide access to the public restrooms. Signs will also be installed informing the public of the location of a public fishing pier and launching ramp located at the neighboring West Marina.
We recommend everyone interested to attend the meeting on June 23rd and 24th to ask questions, provide information and make suggestions on our proposed plan. The Town of Hempstead along with the State of New York will welcome your ideas.