After a long, cold winter, we are delighted to be embarking on habitat restoration at the former ExxonMobil property this spring. Drive by 95 Shore Road in Cold Spring Harbor and you will see activity and some changes afoot. We have selected Scenic Designs, Inc. (from a number of proposals from very talented applicants) as our contractor to launch grassland and wet meadow enhancements in accordance with our habitat restoration plan. As you may have noticed if you visited or drove by the property in summer or fall of 2013, many of the grasses seeded by ExxonMobil prior to transfer of the property were thriving last year. The seeding and planting being conducted this spring will complement and enhance those efforts.

After an early spring mow of the property, native grass and wildflower seeds are being sown via a practice known as “no till” seeding, which preserves moisture in the soil and causes minimal soil disturbance. A blade creates a shallow opening in the soil, seed is deposited, then small wheels press soil back over the seed. A diversity of grass and wildflower species characteristic of maritime and tall grasslands on Long Island has been planted and a footpath has been designed in accordance with our restoration plan. After seeding, plugs, many of which are from the Long Island Native Plant Initiative, are being planted with the help of volunteers. Among the volunteers participating on planting days are members of the Three Harbors Garden Club, which made a generous donation for the purchase of plant materials for the
site, and East Woods School eighth graders.

What’s to come over the next few months? A diversity of short and tall grasses and wildflowers – the vibrant yellow, orange and purple of goldenrods, butterfly weed and asters in summer and early fall. Wet meadow, where the soils are particularly moist, punctuated by stands of blue flag iris, swamp milkweed and cattail. And, thanks to a contribution from Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society (HOBAS), a pollinator garden towards the front of the property, where a variety of shrubs and trees will also be ensconced.