Worth the Wait: North Shore Land Alliance Officially Opened the Humes Preserve in Mill Neck to the Public
Restore our Bays: Applying Innovative Advanced Nitrogen Reducing Technologies to Long Island Septic Systems.
Restore our Bays: Applying Innovative Advanced Nitrogen Reducing Technologies to Long Island Septic Systems.
Government Updates: The Great American Outdoors Act and A Community Preservation Plan for the Town of New Paltz, NY
FEDERAL Great American Outdoors Act Moves to the House On July 22nd, in a 310-107 bipartisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). An identical bill passed the Senate in June with a resounding 73-25 majority. The GAOA was signed by President Trump on August 4th and became public law on August 9th. Many believe this is the most important conservation legislation passed in the last 50 years! And it has been a priority for conservationists for decades. The GAOA will dedicate $6.65 billion over five years to addressing the $11.9 billion backlog of maintenance projects across more than 400 national parks, monuments, recreation areas and historic sites. An additional $2.9 billion will be used for repairs on lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Education. The GAOA will also finally fund the important Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at the $900 million annual rate authorized in 1964 (when President Johnson signed the bill into law). The LWCF, funded from royalty payments from offshore oil and gas drilling in federal waters, was created to both foster recreation and acquire more open space annually to supplement the nation’s public lands. It also supplies grants to states to protect historic sites, steward natural areas, preserve rare species and create recreational opportunities (like ballfields, picnic areas and swimming pools). LWCF money has been used in virtually every county in the country! The Land Alliance applauds every member of Congress who voted in favor of enacting the GAOA. At a time when Americans are finding peace in nature, the GAOA will go a long way to ensuring that our natural resources are protected and access to the outdoors is available for all. This great outcome was the result of many years of committed efforts from conservation advocates like the Land Alliance. We are grateful to our members who made the calls and wrote the emails to help achieve this legislative victory. We have definitely been a part of ensuring that our public lands will be there for generations to come. Unfortunately, we are not quite there yet on seeing any results. As of this writing, land acquisition lists due to Congress on November 2nd are held up in the political morass. Conservation Ballot Measures Across the Country The importance of nature and the environment was evident this election as voters across the country approved more than two dozen conservation ballot measures resulting in nearly $3.7 billion in new funding for land conservation, parks, climate resiliency and habitat. Here are some of the most notable measures that were passed: CALIFORNIA The $487.5 million bond in Prop A for San Francisco parks and recreation will direct $239 million to parks and open space. COLORADO Climate sales tax in Denver – Measure 2 will introduce a “climate sales tax,” a quarter-cent sales tax increase that is expected to generate $720 million for a variety of climate-related programs. The measure also mandates that funding “should maximize investments in communities of color, under resourced communities and communities most vulnerable to climate change”. Residents in the Colorado River Water Conservation District chose to increase their property taxes to protect streams and improve water use. This measure could generate $100 million over 20 years. FLORIDA Three Florida counties will raise property taxes to pay for environmental programs. • Residents in Volusia County voted to increase property taxes to renew the Volusia Forever land conservation program and pay for the Environmental, Cultural, Historic and outdoor Recreation program. The measure is expected to generate $100 million. • Increased property taxes in Collier County are expected to raise $287 million for the acquisition and management of environmentally sensitive lands. • In Manatee County, a property tax increase is expected to produce $108 million for the acquisition, improvement and management of land to protect water quality, preserve wildlife habitat and provide parks. Marijuana initiatives passed in five states. Initiative I-190 in Montana included a provision to allocate 50% of tax proceeds from recreational marijuana sales to land conservation. The measure is expected to generate $360 million over 20 years and is an unprecedented move for a major U.S. city. NEW YORK STATE The 2020 Saving Mother Nature Bond Act was postponed at the last minute due to COVID-19. Hopefully we will have another chance next year. There was one local ballot measure in the State of New York. The town of New Paltz has established a Community Preservation Fund. Modelled after a successful program that has existed in the five East End towns of Long Island for decades, the New Paltz Water Quality, Working Farms, Wildlife Habitat and Natural Areas Preservation Fund creates a small real estate transfer fee on sales that exceed the median home value in the town, and directs funding generated to an account that will help the town protect affordable housing while leveraging private, state and federal dollars to conserve local forests, family farms and clean water. The measure is expected to generate more than $3.5 million over the next 20 years. More than 70% of town voters supported this measure, which was approved as part of the November election. Environmental bond measures tend to do extremely well in years of big voter turnout as was experienced this year.
Here’s a preview of our 2021 Walks in the Woods, which are open to the general public. Sunday, February 21, 11:00 a.m. – North Fork Preserve, Northville In partnership with Long Island Botanical Society and led by Eric Lamont This extensive property contains many fascinating ecological communities. We will walk through old growth forest in the Harbor Hill Moraine and successional fields on the outwash plain. Saturday, March 6, 11:00 a.m. – East Meadow Farm, East Meadow In partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension – Nassau County, Led by Mary Callanan Explore a diversity of demonstration gardens at this highly educational location. There will be a focus on the thriving arboretum started in 2013 and you may even learn some pruning techniques. Saturday, April 10, 10:00 a.m. – Fox Hollow Preserve, Laurel Hollow Led by Dave Taft Enjoy this dramatic property before the trees leaf out when its native groundcovers are particularly inviting. Saturday, May 1, 2:00 p.m. Marine Nature Study Area, Oceanside Led by Peter Martin This program will feature a variety of the wonders of spring, particularly shorebirds and warblers stopping over at the preserve during their migration north. Saturday June 19 (Juneteenth!), 11:00 a.m. Red Cote Preserve, Oyster Bay Cove Led by Meghan Leverock In honor of NYS Invasive Species Awareness Week come out and explore Red Cote Preserve where you will learn about invasive plants common on Long Island and how you can help prevent their spread. Saturday, July 17, 10:00 a.m. Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood Led by Amanda Furcall If you’ve never visited the Sisters’ sprawling and thriving campus you are in for a treat! Amanda, landscape ecologist, will show us the grounds and introduce us to some of its inhabitants. Tuesday, August 24, 9:30 a.m. Caumsett State Park, Lloyd Neck Led by Virginia Dankel Virginia’s literary walk will highlight lots of inspirational readings in addition to nature (of course!). Saturday, August 28, 10:00 a.m. John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden and Shu Swamp, Mill Neck Led by Ann Lotowycz and Mary Schmutz Learn all about iconic cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), its value to wildlife and a research project when its striking bloom marks its presence. Friday, September 24, 7:00 p.m. Wawapek, Cold Spring Harbor Led by Stella Miller Stella does the best Eastern Screech Owl call around and has a knack for enticing other owl species. Saturday, October 23, 10:00 a.m. Cranberry Bog Preserve, Riverhead In partnership with Long Island Mycological Club – Led by Andy Greller – Join us at this magnificent preserve when mushrooms, cranberries in the bog and fall color make it the most beguiling time of year. Saturday, November 6, 11:00 a.m. Roosevelt Preserve, Roosevelt Led by Jane Jackson, Michael Kliger and Leslie Pieters This is arguably the most beautiful time of year to explore Meadow Brook and Roosevelt Preserve. Take it all in as we learn about foraging and recognize the October 27th birthday of Teddy Roosevelt. Sunday, December 5, 11:00 a.m. Cushman Woods, Matinecock Led by Richard Weir Richard will lead us through this majestic tucked-away woodland and introduce us to its diverse plant community as we make our way up and down its extensive hilly trails.
One of the best ways of dealing with stress in the times of the COVID-19 Pandemic s to get outside. On April 22nd (Earth Day), gardeners were able to enjoy a breath of fresh air and touch the soil when the Roosevelt Community Garden opened for the season. It was a pleasure to see the many smiling faces as they arrived at the Garden to help clean up, plant cool weather crops and reconnect with neighbors. This season concluded with a Fall Harvest and Garlic Planting in November. It was a very good year, with a harvest that included 25 different types of fruits and vegetables, including callaloo, Roselle Hibiscus, eggplant, okra, bok choy, sweet potatoes, organic garlic, strawberries, flowers and ornamental gourds. Throughout the season, the health and well-being of our gardeners and volunteers was a priority. Visitors were required to wear face masks and maintain safe distance. In addition, hand sanitizer was accessible, gardeners were encouraged to use their own tools and some activities were cancelled to minimize the number of visitors to the Garden. We also offered virtual educational presentations. Through the Garden, we’ve been pleased to be able to bring healthy, locally grown food to the residents of Roosevelt and Nassau County to help combat preventable diet-related illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and obesity. We are especially grateful to our volunteers Peter Meleady, Iesha Saunders and Master Gardeners Mary Callanan, Kathy Gaffney, Charles Kaminsky and Audrey Thomas. Special thanks to Nassau County for being such a great partner by providing the space and the materials needed to achieve such a positive community impact. 2020 programs Highlights and Activities include: • Partnered with Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Nassau County to host two in-person and two virtual workshops for gardeners and local residents • Five new volunteer joined us at the Garden to help educate Garden and community members and to help maintain the Garden • Nine new families joined the Garden to grow their own food and learn about their environment • Two square-foot demonstration garden plots were installed by CCE to educate the community about square foot gardening • Installed a bookshelf stocked with new books donated by the Book Fairies and a communication board
- Protecting a Treasured Landscape: Seminary of the Immaculate Conception
- What is 30×30? (Recently Renamed America the Beautiful)
- The Land Alliance 30×30 Conservation Plan
- Conservation Tools
- Explore The Trails at these Five Nature Preserves This Summer
- Nature Play is Good for Children (and Adults Too!)
- Fourth Season at the Roosevelt Community Garden
- How Investments in Clean Water Can Restore Ecosystems
- The Cicadas Are Coming!
- Five Native Plants to Consider Planting