North Shore Land Alliance North Shore Land Alliance 2016-12-06T20:28:19Z http://northshorelandalliance.org/feed/atom/ WordPress Andrea Millwood <![CDATA[The Importance of Connectivity – Smithers Connector Parcel]]> http://northshorelandalliance.org/?p=3934 2016-12-06T14:54:40Z 2016-11-22T15:59:52Z In September, the North Shore Land Alliance acquired from the Smithers family two parcels totaling seven acres in the Village of Mill Neck. The Land Alliance has long been interested in acquiring and preserving this important area because it connects Nassau County’s Upper Francis Pond preserve (formerly known as Smithers Pond) to the south with the North Shore Wildlife […]

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In September, the North Shore Land Alliance acquired from the Smithers family two parcels totaling seven acres in the Village of Mill Neck. The Land Alliance has long been interested in acquiring and preserving this important area because it connects Nassau County’s Upper Francis Pond preserve (formerly known as Smithers Pond) to the south with the North Shore Wildlife Sanctuary’s Shu Swamp Preserve and the Land Alliance’s Humes property to the north. The acquisition of the Smithers connector parcel adds a critical piece to a wildlife corridor of 150 contiguous acres in the middle of the highly significant Beaver Brook watershed.

The property begins at the spillway at Upper Francis Pond and runs along Beaverbrook Road past Lower Francis Pond and ends just across from the Shu Swamp Trail. From there water runs under the road, emerging as Beaver Brook, which transverses Shu Swamp Preserve and carries water to Beaver Dam Pond and, eventually, to the Long Island Sound. A trail runs from behind the main house at the Humes property alongside a pond fed by a tributary stream feeding into Beaver Brook and meets a Shu Swamp trail.

Smithers Connector Parcel protects biodiversity and ecosystems

North Shore Land Alliance Shu Swamp and Francis Pond Conservation AreaConnecting or linking parcels of land and developing networks and systems of protected areas is very important in protecting biodiversity and ecosystem functions (like maximizing water quality and plant productivity). When most people think of biodiversity, they think of verdant rainforests in the Amazon or vibrant coral reefs in tropical seas, but we have great biodiversity here too.

These parcels, because they have been relatively untouched for many years, have some of the greatest biodiversity in our community. They also have an abundance of different species. Plants like marsh marigold, turtlehead, dog and primrose violets as well as the state endangered American strawberry bush can be found there. Birds like the wood duck, ruby-throated hummingbird, great-horned owl and the winter wren are joined by harvester and appalachian brown butterflies in making this property their home. Brook trout breed in Beaver Brook and mammals like the river otter, american mink and muskrat can be spotted too. Noteworthy or rare plants of this area include spring beauty, squawroot, hops, dwarf ginseng, red trillium, pinesap, umbrella and sweet bay magnolia and the ancient tupelo.

While a portion of the land that has been protected in this area was protected with public money, most of the land was protected by private groups like the North Shore Wildlife Sanctuary and the Land Alliance, along with private individuals. Private conservation plays a critical role in increasing the area coverage of habitat preserved, and in many cases, increasing connectivity in the wider landscape. In doing so, private land conservation plays a vital role maintaining and restoring vital ecological processes.

Increasing and improving conservation of private lands, in alignment with set national and state level conservation goals is crucial. It will not only work to counteract the decline of biodiversity but also make private lands more resilient to climate change and capable of sustaining the ecosystem services on which both current and future Long Island residents will depend.

Another terrific example of how public and private land conservation can create great impact has occurred in the Village of Oyster Bay Cove.

tiffany-creek-preserve-conservation-areaSince 2002, 385 acres of land have been preserved in perpetuity through a combination of public acquisitions and private conservation easements. Nassau County purchased the 197-acre Tiffany Creek Preserve from the Schiff family in 2000. In 2005 and 2006, Nassau County purchased the 30-acre Red Cote Preserve from the Pulling family and also Held Pond, expanding the Tiffany Creek Preserve by an additional eight acres. In 2008, the Town of Oyster Bay bought the 25-acre Farm at Oyster Bay (formerly the Littauer property). Since 2001, the Land Alliance (and its predecessor the Oyster Bay Cove Land Trust) has taken ownership and/or placed conservation easements on 143 acres of land. And, many years earlier the Roosevelt family protected the 11-acre Theodore Roosevelt Bird Sanctuary as American’s first songbird sanctuary.

As we continue to go about our work to increase the amount of habitat preserved and improve landscape connectivity, we are pleased to demonstrate that slowly but surely we are beginning to knit our landscape together in a very meaningful way.

You can read this article in our 2016 Fall/Winter Conservation News newsletter.

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Andrea Millwood <![CDATA[Undevelopment at the Humes Property]]> http://northshorelandalliance.org/?p=3932 2016-12-06T14:58:06Z 2016-11-22T15:55:13Z We are continuing to make progress at the Humes property in Mill Neck.  In September, we demolished three highly distressed structures in the northeast corner of the property, including the former caretaker’s house, a detached garage associated with the house and a former greenhouse. The caretaker’s house and garage had been abandoned by the former owners and the […]

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Humes Property Restoration

We are continuing to make progress at the Humes property in Mill Neck.  In September, we demolished three highly distressed structures in the northeast corner of the property, including the former caretaker’s house, a detached garage associated with the house and a former greenhouse. The caretaker’s house and garage had been abandoned by the former owners and the greenhouse had collapsed. The house had been built around an enormous oak tree and we knew early on after acquiring the property that one of our goals should be to remove the house and keep the tree! We’re pleased to report that this has been successfully completed and that additional land, immediately adjacent to Shu Swamp Preserve, has been restored to its natural state.

We are also busy making plans to open the Humes property to the public.  To this end, we will be developing adequate access and parking, restoring the center of the property as a meadow habitat for passive use and installing a fitness trail along the paved roads that traverse the property. Not only do the existing roads have the potential to offer a variety of visitors safe and easy access to the property, but they are perfectly oriented for a course equipped with outdoor exercise equipment. The course is designed to promote physical fitness and good health. We’re hoping that this property can be a model innovative stewardship project and encourage visitors of varying athletic ability to use the property.

The Humes property is not yet open to the public though we anticipate an official opening in 2017.

You can read this article in our 2016 Fall/Winter Conservation News newsletter.

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Andrea Millwood <![CDATA[Restoration Plans for the Cushman Woods Preserve]]> http://northshorelandalliance.org/?p=3930 2016-11-22T15:52:39Z 2016-11-22T15:50:38Z The Land Alliance closed on Cushman Woods, a 28-acre preserve located in the Village of Matinecock, in June of 2016.  We are now in the process of working with the Village to open the property to the public.  Our plans include installing a small parking area off Still Road, a private road that the Land Alliance uses […]

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The Land Alliance closed on Cushman Woods, a 28-acre preserve located in the Village of Matinecock, in June of 2016.  We are now in the process of working with the Village to open the property to the public.  Our plans include installing a small parking area off Still Road, a private road that the Land Alliance uses to access the preserve.  We also intend to restore the existing trails on the property and to create a new trail that connects the parking area to existing trails.

We are pleased to report that the money necessary for building the parking area, creating new and restoring old trails and installing appropriate signage was raised in a special appeal at this year’s Wine Auction.  Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we can begin our stewardship work at Cushman Woods Preserve soon and, by the spring of 2017, open this preserve to the public.

Cushman Woods Preserve

Click here to read this article in our 2016 Fall/Winter Conservation News newsletter.  

 

 

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Andrea Millwood <![CDATA[Land Alliance was awarded $30,500 to continue the their Water Education program]]> http://northshorelandalliance.org/?p=3928 2016-11-22T16:14:22Z 2016-11-22T15:45:59Z As of the close of the 2015/2016 school year, The North Shore Land Alliance Long Island Water Education Program in local schools has, in its two short years, reached 2,400 students at 17 local schools within nine school districts across Long Island.  Little did we dream when we launched the three session program in fall of 2014 that it would […]

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North Shore Land Alliance Long Island Water Education ProgramAs of the close of the 2015/2016 school year, The North Shore Land Alliance Long Island Water Education Program in local schools has, in its two short years, reached 2,400 students at 17 local schools within nine school districts across Long Island.  Little did we dream when we launched the three session program in fall of 2014 that it would so quickly become requested by so many teachers in so many schools.  But word has spread in large part because of the talents of our educator and a crew of dedicated volunteers. Their assistance and leadership on field trips to our Shore Road Sanctuary this spring and fall have been invaluable.

The success of the program can best be summed up by a quote from a parent (who’s also a teacher) whose son had recently participated in the Program. “My son Eamon is a 4th grader at St. Patrick’s in Huntington and he came home two weeks or so ago and told me ALL about aquifers.  He loved the follow up lesson yesterday, and this morning when I told him we’d be having a rainy week he said “Well Mom, that sure is good news for the aquifers!”

In September, the Land Alliance was awarded an additional $30,500 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Long Island Sound Futures Fund, which will sustain the program for the 2016/2017 school year.  This grant will allow us to offer busing for students in underserved schools and broaden the range of the program by offering it to more schools.

For more information about the North Shore Land Alliance Long Island Water Education Program, please contact Jane Jackson at 516-626-0908 or send an email to jjackson@northshorelandalliance.org.

You can read this article in our 2016 Fall/Winter Conservation News newsletter.

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Andrea Millwood <![CDATA[28-Acre Cushman Woods Preserve Created]]> http://northshorelandalliance.org/?p=3490 2016-11-07T19:33:23Z 2016-06-24T14:38:24Z On June 15th, a beautiful, 28-acre, heavily wooded parcel in the Village of Matinecock was purchased by the Land Alliance for conservation purposes. This acquisition would not have been possible without the incredibly generous support of Verena and Roderick H. Cushman, who donated the funds necessary to purchase this highly significant portion of the Beaver Brook […]

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Verena and Roderic CushmanOn June 15th, a beautiful, 28-acre, heavily wooded parcel in the Village of Matinecock was purchased by the Land Alliance for conservation purposes. This acquisition would not have been possible without the incredibly generous support of Verena and Roderick H. Cushman, who donated the funds necessary to purchase this highly significant portion of the Beaver Brook watershed for use by the community.

The property, which will be named Cushman Woods, provides a critical habitat for birds, fox and a variety of wildlife species. It is tucked between Duck Pond Road, Piping Rock Road and Chicken Valley Road and is literally filled with old-growth trees, an abundance of native plants and a trail system that was once a popular fox hunting route for the Meadowbrook Hunt.

When asked why they chose to give this incredible gift to the community, the Cushmans said “we want to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to enjoy, care for and learn from this unique woodland habitat.”

In the 1920’s, the property was a part of the estate of Paul Cravath, a prominent Manhattan lawyer and a presiding partner of the law firm today known as Cravath, Swaine & Moore. The accompanying house, which has been purchased by a private individual, has historically been referred to as Still House. It was Cravath’s fourth home in the area, and he chose to have it made of brick because fires destroyed his first two, according to the blog Old Long Island.

The Land Alliance will soon begin the process of subdividing the house parcel from the land. Once it is completed we intend to restore the trails and maintain the property as a passive use preserve for walking, birding and nature exploration. Over time, we will evaluate the habitat and begin to remove invasive plants. We wholeheartedly welcome participation from the neighbors in these endeavors.

Carter Bales, Land Alliance Chair, said “The Cushman family represent the highest form of community leadership in their commitment to protecting the character of the North Shore. Such foresight and generosity are rare in our society today. We thank each member of the Cushman family for their commitment and leadership on the crucial issue of protecting our precious community from excessive development.”
Many, many thanks to Verena and Rod Cushman for their extraordinary generosity and unparalleled devotion to our community and its most important open spaces. And many thanks to Claudia and Gunnar Overstrom who brought this deal to the Land Alliance’s attention and hung in there through thick and thin until it was all done.

The serenity of Cushman Woods will be enjoyed for generations. The ecosystem services it provides, like recharging our groundwater, absorbing harmful carbon emissions and cleaning our air, will ensure a healthier community for all that follow us.

If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Ott at the Land Alliance at 516-626-0908.

 

 

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Andrea Millwood <![CDATA[Land Alliance Launched the Joyce and William O’Neil Steward Program]]> http://northshorelandalliance.org/?p=3499 2016-11-07T19:34:31Z 2016-06-24T14:14:29Z Thanks to a generous five-year endowment from the Joyce C. and William C. O’Neil Charitable Trust, the North Shore Land Alliance has launched a formal internship program. The program, modeled after the Student Conservation Association, is called the Joyce and William O’Neil Steward Program. Through this new program these interns, who were selected on a […]

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Thanks to a generous five-year endowment from the Joyce C. and William C. O’Neil Charitable Trust, the North Shore Land Alliance has launched a formal internship program. The program, modeled after the Student Conservation Association, is called the Joyce and William O’Neil Steward Program. Through this new program these interns, who were selected on a competitive basis, will gain a variety of skills from writing management plans for preserves, mapping trails, organizing volunteer and fundraising events, managing invasive plants, installing a woodland trail at Wawapek and educating the public about conservation. It is our hope that this experience with a variety of projects, will help the O’Neil Stewards build their job skills and inspire them to consider a career in conservation.

From a pool of highly qualified applicants, four college students were selected by four conservation professionals. Amanda Furcall, our talented internship coordinator, will manage the interns who will be working for 12 weeks over the summer and receiving a competitive stipend. For the Land Alliance, an organization whose land holdings are growing quickly, the Joyce and William O’Neil Stewards will provide much needed hands-on caring for our preserves.

We are very grateful to the Joyce C. and William C. O’Neil Charitable Trust for this fabulous opportunity to train the next generation of conservation stewards.

.2016 Internship Program Participants

2016 Joyce and William O’Neil Steward Program Participants

Joseph Murphy is a junior in Sustainability Studies at Hofstra University, where he co-founded and serves as treasurer to the Sustainability Club. He has been a leader in the Discovery Program when introducing new Hofstra stu­dents to State parks and the concepts of sustainability. He enthusiastically de­signed and maintains two on-campus vegetable gar­dens.

Conor O’Sullivan gradu­ated from Hunter College with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Environmental Studies. Conor’s interest in conservation has taken pre­cedence and he has worked for the Greenbelt Native Plant Center where he learned to collect and process na­tive seeds. Volunteering at the Hempstead Plains En­vironmental Education Center he removed invasive plants. With the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation he was an environmental educator and led teens on camping trips in the Adirondacks.

Jeb Polstien is a junior in the Environmental Studies department at Bowdoin Col­lege. Last summer he was a stewardship intern for the Land Conservancy of New Jersey where he learned many of the skills needed to excel at the Land Alliance. He has led outdoor education camps and spent a term in India studying urban agriculture.

Lauren Weller has just grad­uated from SUNY Cortland with a BA in Conservation Biology. She has organized large-scale volunteer projects for the Mahwah Environ­mental Organization as well as provided educational pro­grams for the community.

 

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Andrea Millwood <![CDATA[Enhanced Federal Tax Incentive is Permanent]]> http://northshorelandalliance.org/?p=3481 2016-11-14T16:51:36Z 2016-06-24T13:53:06Z The Land Alliance is pleased to announce that at the end of December 2015, Congress passed, with strong bipartisan support, legislation that makes the enhanced federal tax incentive that supports land conservation PERMANENT. Under the enhanced incentive, an individual landowner can deduct up to 50% of their adjusted gross income (AGI) in any year over a […]

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The Land Alliance is pleased to announce that at the end of December 2015, Congress passed, with strong bipartisan support, legislation that makes the enhanced federal tax incentive that supports land conservation PERMANENT. Under the enhanced incentive, an individual landowner can deduct up to 50% of their adjusted gross income (AGI) in any year over a total of 16 years, including the year of the gift. Qualified farmers can deduct up to 100% of their AGI over 16 years.

The incentive is directly responsible for conserving more than two million acres of land throughout the United States and is retroactive to January 1, 2015. Lands placed into conservation easements continue to be privately owned and help conserve groundwater, surface water, wildlife habitat, farming and recreational opportunities. Conservation easements do not require public access and rely on tax incentives, providing a cost effective approach to conserving our community’s most valuable natural resources.

The Enhanced Federal Tax Incentives were originally put into place in 2006 and we thank all of those in the community who have worked tirelessly to get this legislation passed. In particular, we’d like to thank Representatives Kathleen Rice, Peter King and Grace Meng in the United States House of Representatives and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer in the United States Senate. Our country loses three acres of land to development every minute and 1.5 million acres every year. Once the land is gone, it is gone forever.

You can read more government update in our 2016 Spring Conservation News newsletter.

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Andrea Millwood <![CDATA[Land Alliance Receives Two New Grants]]> http://northshorelandalliance.org/?p=3478 2016-11-14T17:05:36Z 2016-06-24T13:23:58Z On April 19, 2016, the North Shore Land Alliance received two separate grants totaling $45,000 from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP) and New York’s Environmental Protection Fund. Those grants were a $25,000 grant for transaction costs associated with the expansion of Wawapek, a newly created preserve in Cold Spring Harbor (Town of […]

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On April 19, 2016, the North Shore Land Alliance received two separate grants totaling $45,000 from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP) and New York’s Environmental Protection Fund. Those grants were a $25,000 grant for transaction costs associated with the expansion of Wawapek, a newly created preserve in Cold Spring Harbor (Town of Huntington, Suffolk County) and a $20,000 grant to cover the internship coordinator for the Joyce and William O’Neil Steward Program.

The $25,000 NYSCPP grant will support the Land Alliance’s 2015 acquisition of a three-acre property immediately adjacent to the newly created Wawapek. The Land Alliance is now working on a stewardship plan for the property that incorporates the newly acquired parcel into the existing preserve and effectively uses the expansion area to enhance/ promote public access as well as educational programming. The Land Alliance is also working with the Town of Huntington, which is in the process of acquiring a conservation easement on the property that it is perpetually preserved.  See page 10 of our 2016 Spring Conservation News newletter.

The $20,000 NYSCPP grant is a one-year grant which will cover the cost for the internship coordinator for the Land Alliance’s new Joyce and William O’Neil Steward Program. Over the past few years the Land Alliance has engaged a committed corps of volunteers who contribute as many as 1,000 hours toward the stewardship of our preserves each year. While we have in the past worked on a limited basis with students or recent graduates carrying out stewardship activities on our preserves, stipends and staff supervision have been very limited. This NYSCPP grant provides the Land Alliance with the ability to hire our former consultant Amanda Furcall as an internship coordinator. This in turn will greatly improve our program by mentoring college students and recent graduates, inspiring lifelong stewardship of the environment at home and in the larger world and engaging young people in hands-on service to the land. Through the presence of our coordinator and this program, we will be benefiting interns’ experiences as well as our preserves.

The NYSCPP is administered by the Land Trust Alliance, in coordination with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. In all, the Land Alliance has received 15 grants from NYSCPP over the past 13 years totaling $343,600.

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Andrea Millwood <![CDATA[Acquisition to Connect Shu Swamp Preserve to Upper Francis Pond Preserve]]> http://northshorelandalliance.org/?p=3562 2016-12-05T15:13:00Z 2016-06-23T14:19:16Z The North Shore Land Alliance has long been interested in acquiring and preserving approximately seven acres of land that connects Nassau County’s Upper Francis Pond Preserve (formerly known as Smithers Pond) to the south, with Shu Swamp Preserve to the north. In the past several months, the Land Alliance has been working with the owner […]

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The North Shore Land Alliance has long been interested in acquiring and preserving approximately seven acres of land that connects Nassau County’s Upper Francis Pond Preserve (formerly known as Smithers Pond) to the south, with Shu Swamp Preserve to the north. In the past several months, the Land Alliance has been working with the owner and their representatives to acquire the property. The Land Alliance is currently in contract and anticipates closing on this important acquisition by early summer of 2016.

The property is incredibly important from an ecological and environmental perspective: It consists of freshwater wetlands, underwater lands, a waterway that connects Upper and Lower Francis Ponds, pond frontage, mature woodlands, undeveloped uplands and existing trails that traverse the property. Aside from their ecological value and the fact that these parcels connect two existing preserves, the property is also an important viewshed along Beaver Brook

Road (there is nearly 1,700 feet of road frontage) and it is another seminal piece to the preservation puzzle that now includes the Humes property and will, we hope, include the Japanese Stroll Garden.

Once it is acquired, the Land Alliance will work with the Village of Mill Neck and other regulatory authorities to repair, improve and expand the existing trail so that the property can be publicly accessible and connect to the adjacent Shu Swamp Preserved.

Acquisition of the Smithers Connector Parcels to Connect Shu Swamp and Francis Pond Conservation Areas

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Andrea Millwood <![CDATA[Simple and Effective Ways to Help Migratory Birds]]> http://northshorelandalliance.org/?p=4251 2016-12-06T16:51:35Z 2015-12-06T16:00:43Z Every second of every day, birds are migrating somewhere in the world. Whether it is a short distance or an epic journey, every place where birds spend time is critical for the survival of their species. This includes their summer breeding grounds, their wintering areas and all the stopovers in between.  Without these stopover places, […]

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Every second of every day, birds are migrating somewhere in the world. Whether it is a short distance or an epic journey, every place where birds spend time is critical for the survival of their species. This includes their summer breeding grounds, their wintering areas and all the stopovers in between.  Without these stopover places, the birds have insufficient reserves to continue and have difficulties completing their journeys.

Here are some simple and effective ways we can help migratory birds – from what we plant in our gardens to what coffee we pour into our morning cup:

1) Birds require pristine habitat at both their breeding and their wintering grounds, and they need a safe place to land and rest that has food and water. Protecting small spaces, including your back yard, is an important way to create habitats for migratory birds.

2) Landscape with nature in mind, using native wildflowers, berry-producing shrubs and trees.

3) Healthy back yards that are pesticide free are better for birds, humans and our water.  Moreover, buy organic at the store. It is healthier for you, the farmers and birds.

4) Keeping cats inside is important, as freeranging cats kill more wild birds than any other single human-related cause, like windows or cars.

5) Use recycled paper, to protect the Canadian boreal forest, where hundreds of species of birds nest, and from which most U.S. paper products come.

6) Scott’s final suggestion was a surprise to many. Daily, we could make an important impact on healthy bird habitat by choosing to drink shade-grown or “Bird Friendly” coffee.  For more information on where to find Bird Friendly coffee visit the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center at https://nationalzoo.si.edu/scbi/migratorybirds/coffee/

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