The Importance of Private Conservation: Celebrating Local Conservation Heroes

North Shore Land Alliance 2021 Fall Newsletter

Another golf course sold for development. Another hillside cleared of forest for a better view. We are losing our natural areas at a rapid pace. This troubling trend runs counter to calls from scientists to protect more natural areas to mitigate the effects of climate change and better protect plants and animals from extinction. According to the Center for American Progress, more than 75% of the natural areas lost to development between 2001 to 2017 were privately owned.

Currently, 23% of US ocean waters are protected and only 12% of US lands. Moreover, 80% of the land east of the Mississippi River is privately owned. Accordingly, private landowners are integral to the fight to save the planet and, in turn, ourselves.

Private lands contain habitat that is essential to the extremely biodiverse species living on them. 95% of endangered species rely on private land for at least part of their habitat. Nearly 75% of US wetlands are located on private and tribal lands, providing important habitat for birds and aquatic life. Over half of US forests are privately owned, and these lands provide 30% of our drinking water.

Our 2021 Local Conservation Heroes

Today, we would like to celebrate our North Shore conservation champions – the local leaders who have been first to step up to donate their land or permanently protect it with a conservation easement. Their gifts will continue to improve the health of our community for generations to come!

The Mayrock family donated a six-acre vacant and wooded lot in the Village of Matinecock, which they retained after the sale of their family home on a separate adjacent lot. The property was a special place for the family, who enjoyed walking the trails among vibrant laurel, beech trees and rhododendron clusters. Having raised their three children in Matinecock, Mr. and Mrs. Mayrock often strolled the trails of Shu Swamp with their kids. The Mayrocks envision their property as a complementary parcel to existing preserves. Indeed, it provides an important piece of the puzzle in connecting Cushman Woods, Humes and Shu Swamp, enhancing habitat for plants and animals.

This generous donation builds on what has been a successful conservation effort in Matinecock, securing its natural beauty for future generations.

The Schiff Family The family donated 5.62 acres of predominantly forested land surrounded on three sides by Tiffany Creek Preserve. The 200-acre Preserve, which had originally been part of the Schiff Estate, abuts the property and is owned and administered by Nassau County. It consists of woodland, freshwater wetlands and critical wildlife habitat. The Preserve provides public access to nature in a County that is rapidly losing precious open space to development.

This donation increases protected habitat and connectivity to adjoining preserved lands totaling 450 acres and delivers groundwater recharge services.

When the Centre Island Land Trust (a founding member of the Land Alliance) was formed in 1999, its leaders approached Mrs. von Bothmer about placing a conservation easement on her waterfront property. Mrs. von Bothmer preferred not to encumber her land with an easement at that time, but she promised to leave instructions in her will for the easement to be placed upon her death.  As we have learned more than 20 years later, she kept her word.  Soon after her death we heard from her attorneys, who confirmed her intent to place a postmortem easement on portions of her 9.544-acre property located on Centre Island Road, Centre Island.

This beautiful waterfront site will be protected in perpetuity and continue its work in keeping the water in our Oyster Bay Harbor clean. We are most grateful to the von Bothmer family for supporting their mother’s wishes.

The Williams family donated a 4.5-acre property adjoining St. John’s Church in Lattingtown to the Land Alliance for conservation purposes. Several years ago, they lost their home (located on the property) in a fire and chose not to rebuild. This gently sloping property in the Frost Creek watershed is filled with beautiful old trees, small streams and a pond that empties into the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge and the Long Island Sound. This property provides important habitat for plants and animals and will be a wonderful place to enjoy the benefits of nature.

In our most 2021 Spring issue of Conservation News, we highlighted 30×30, a global goal of protecting 30% of Earth’s land and water by 2030. 30×30 has been discussed in scientific circles for quite some time. It acknowledges the multiple crises we face — the extinction crisis and the climate crisis — both of which are magnified by the rate of habitat loss.

Our North Shore community has the potential to reach this global goal, but we must act now. Based on the Land Alliance’s Community Conservation Plan (which covers our catchment area, from the Queens/Nassau border to the Town of Huntington’s eastern border and from the Long Island Sound to the Long Island Expressway), we have protected 15% of our natural areas, 7% of which is public land and 8% privately owned. We have identified another 2,108 acres (or 21%) of public and private land that could be eligible for future conservation.  It’s exciting to think our community has the potential to achieve the crucial 30×30 goal!

If you are interested in exploring conservation on your land, please give us a call at 516-922-1028 or [email protected].

We are most grateful to all the members of our community who have chosen to protect their land through donations of fee title or conservation easements

North Shore Land Alliance Land Conservation

the Bacon family
the Braunstein family
the de Roulet family
the Diamond family
the D’Loren family
the DuBois family
the Friedlander family
the Fuschetto family
the Grace family
the Krasnoff family

the Macy family
the Marker family
the Marsiello family
the Mayrock family
the Morgan family
Nassau County
Robert Sabin
the Schiff family
the Stallings family
the Taglich family

The Nature Conservancy Long Island Chapter
Town of Huntington
Town of Oyster Bay
the von Bothmer family
the Wallace family
the Webel family
the Williams family