In late October, the North Shore Land Alliance made an offer on the 35-acre Humes property in Mill Neck, which included the acquisition of the Humes Japanese Stroll Garden. As of now, we are working with the family to negotiate terms of a potential purchase. We hope to have a more definitive announcement in the weeks to come, but for now this is still a work in progress.
Whether we are successful or not, we think it is important to focus on large, environmentally significant properties such as the Humes parcel in our community conservation priorities. In 2014, the Land Alliance conducted an environmental assessment of local properties. The Humes property, with its connectivity to preserved lands, geographic features such as streams, ponds and wetlands and rare and endangered plants and animals, ranked the #1 most environmentally significant property in our community.
The Humes property is immediately adjacent to preserved land owned by Nassau County, which the Land Alliance helped conserve in 2007. The land includes the larger Shu Swamp Preserve and Francis Pond natural areas that consist of over 100 acres of preserved land. These conserved areas and surrounding lands are the headwaters to a series of rivers, lakes and waterways (both freshwater and tidal) that eventually reach the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge and the Long Island Sound. “Conservation of this property would help complete one of the most important wetland and open space corridors on the North Shore of Long Island and is the Land Alliance’s number one conservation priority,” said Carter Bales, Land Alliance Chair.
The Humes property is referenced as a priority parcel in the New York State’s 2009 Open Space Conservation Plan and the draft New York State 2014 Open Space Conservation Plan. That is because it contributes to preserving the Shu Swamp Natural Area, a Class I freshwater wetland area and is home to noteworthy brook trout, brook lamprey and river otter as well as regionally rare and unusual plant species. The property is also listed as a conservation priority in the Nassau County Planning Commission’s 2005 Site Nomination List of conservation priorities.
The conservation values for this property include the following:
1. Location within the Town of Oyster Bay’s Special Groundwater Protection Area
2. Contains NYSDEC designated Class I freshwater wetlands
3. Located within USGS designated watershed (HUC-12)
4. Headwaters of Shu Swamp Preserve, which drains to Beaver Dam Pond, Upper Mill Neck Basin, Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and eventually the Long Island Sound
5. Located within a FEMA 100 year flood zone
6. Contains meadow and woodland habitat
7. Consists of scenic viewsheds along Frost Mill Road and Locust Valley-Oyster Bay Road
8. Contains sloped land with a grade that exceeds 10%
9. Adjacent to already protected land owned by
10. Nassau County (part of the Shu Swamp Preserve and Francis Pond Natural Areas)
There are many factors to be considered when the Land Alliance decides to acquire a property, and conservation values such as these make the Humes property stand out.
If we are able to reach a deal with the family, we will immediately embark upon a fundraising campaign to ensure that the property’s conservation and open space values are preserved forever. Stay tuned for further developments and the potential kick-off to our fundraising campaign!