The Nassau County Soil & Water Conservation District recieves funding through the NYS Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) that is set by the govenor and state legislature annually. The EPF is mainly financed through real estate transfer taxes. Three Provisions of the state aid to District Program include:
Part A - Direct reimbursment to Soil & Water Conservation Districts for technical services provided to landowners within the jurisdictions they cover. (established by Chapter 534 of the Laws of 1996, SWCDL Section 11a-ammended July 2012)
Part B - Annual resources to assist with the implementation of local "Conservation Projects" pre-approved by the SWCC that benefit landowners and/or the general public. (SWCDL Section 11a-1b)
Part C - Competitively awarded conservation project resources based on the material performance of a Conservation District in their normal delivery of public services to landowners and communities in their jurisdiction. (SWCDL Section 11a-1c)
The Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District funds a limited number of mission-aligned projects every year. Eligible applicants include local governments in Nassau County and not-for-profit organizations.
Projects must meet one or more of the follow criteria in Nassau County:
Mon-Fri: 8am - 3:30pm
The NCSWCD provided funding to the Friends of Hempstead Plains for their project to preserve, restore and manage the Hempstead Plains prarie habitat on the campus of Nassau Community College. The Hempstead Plains Preserve is the last, best remaining Long Island Tallgrass Prairie including over 200 plant species, 14 rare species. Funding from the NC Conservation District will help suppliment outreach and educational programs.
Restoration via mowing, tree cutting, herbaceous plant cutting, herbicide treatment etc., is already happening, however prescribed fire, a necessary control component, has not been used at the Hempstead Plains since the 1990’s. This Part C funding would allow the Friends to study the prairie’s response to prescribed fire this coming April. The area scheduled to be burned in 2023 is a 4-5 acre section of Hempstead Plains Grassland community dominated by little blue stem and goldenrods, with pockets of successional scrubland habitat, and general overgrowth. It also includes the 1 acre plot in which the globally endangered Sandplain Gerardia grows, and is a fire dependent species. The surveys will allow the Friends to select a 2024 burn location, and create an invasive species removal plan for the 2023 burn area.
In 2014 the Friends of Cedarmere began a program aimed at removal and control of invasive species of plants and trees and planting of native species. This work was supported in part by funding from NCSWCD. Many hundreds of native trees and shrubs have been planted and established over the years, but excessive growth of invasives threatens these plantings every growing season. Hundreds of invasive trees of all sizes in natural areas, such as Norway maple, tree of heaven and Japanese maple have been removed.
This projects plan is to make a more ambitious effort to remove invasives in certain upland areas, where we will also add hydroseeding with native grasses and flowers to help control invasive ground cover plants such as English ivy. For all of this work the services of Spadefoot Design and Construction were utilized. Their specialized knowledge and equipment used for this work is expected to give us the best results. We used the services of Spadefoot for invasive plant removal in selected areas over the past two years. This year they will be employing some additional mechanized equipment, where feasible, plus the addition of hydroseeding. Overall the project areas covered a total of 20,000 ft sq.
The seed mix used: 20% Virginia Wildrye, 19.8% Big Bluestem, (18.9% Little Bluestem, Indiangrass), 13% Switchgrass, 2.8% Partridge Pea, 2.5% Blackeyed Susan, (1.4% Oxeye Sunflower, Showy Ticktrefoil), (>.2%Common Milkweed, Wild Bergamont), (>.1% Heath Aster, Roundhead Lespedeza, Narrowleaf Mountainmint, Canadian Goldenrod)
The Science Museum of Long Island (SMLI) is a non-profit, science activity center that has been providing science education on Long Island since 1962. With programs designed to help stimulate children’s interest in science through hands-on learning, helping children understand and gain a greater respect for the environment and natural world.
Our campus, located on the 36-acre Leeds Pond Preserve is the core of our educational programs. The varied habitats, from open fields, to intertidal beaches, natural forests and riparian marshes, are our outdoor classrooms, most notably for our Summer Science Camp and after school workshops. While the property is home to SMLI, all of Nassau County’s residents are able to visit and benefit from this publicly owned preserve.
The Science Museum of Long Island was awarded $15,000 in grant funding to be used for site reforestation and woodland restoration at our facility in Manhasset at the Leeds Pond Preserve. This funding was met with an equal match and used for the purchase and installation of over 325 native plants for restoration of a 12,500 square foot area. SMLI goal is to stabilize and re-store soils and provide food sources and ground cover for wildlife in a degraded area of forest within the Preserve. Through physical site restoration (absent of any pesticides or herbicides), invasive and undesirable species were eliminated or greatly reduced. In an effort to mimic a young forest consisting of trees, shrubs and groundcover, reforestation featured varied sizes of plants with ample spacing, allowing light penetration and promoting natural restoration through the existing seedbank in the soil. Temporary irrigation was used to ensure survivability and will be actively monitored to eliminate unwanted erosion. Historically, the restoration area has been negatively impacted by a variety of invasive species. Invasive plants like Kudzu and Japanese Knotweed, have historically outcompeted or overtaken native vegetation, in turn pushing out native species of wildlife including birds and mammals. This reforestation project was designed specifically to ensure that these aggressive invasive species do not return or gain a foothold. The restoration project will be used as part of our outdoor classroom learning experience, with children and adults being able to see the project from start to finish and be educated on the importance of native plants and how individuals can make an impact through invasive species removal.
The Garvies Point Museum and Preserve are operated by the Nassau County Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums. The preserve consists of 62 acres of glacial moraine covered by forests, thickets, and meadows. There are approximately five miles of marked nature trails including those for the visually impaired. Wooded areas, which exhibit various stages of succession, contain over 60 species of trees as well as numerous shrubs, vines and wildflowers. High cliffs along the shoreline display erosional features such as alluvial fans, talus slopes, and slumping caused by ancient multicolored clays oozing from the bluff. The woods and meadows, with their varied plant life, attract more than 140 species of birds, notably, scarlet tanagers and many varieties of warblers. Woodchucks, opossums and raccoons can occasionally be seen in the woods or along a meadow's edge. The preserve supports woodland communities of differing ages and composition. Their development is related to prior land use which included cattle grazing, hay harvesting, and timber cutting for lumber, firewood and fence stock. In the early 1900s most of the preserve and surrounding land was meadow and pasture. As less open land was needed for cattle and agriculture, the area reverted, through natural succession, to woodlands, resulting in forest communities of varying ages. The land was acquired by Nassau County in 1963, with the museum opening on July 4, 1967. The museum specializes in New York State and Long Island geology and Native American culture and archaeology with an interactive "woodland village" with activities depicting Native American life-ways, while also providing an extensive outdoor classroom where the public can learn about the natural systems and communities which existed prior to settlement.
This project aimed to enhance and restore soils by removing invasive species such as porcelain berry, mile-a-minute, and mugwort, then planting approximately 750 native grassland plugs consisting of 5 native grassland species. Planting native species establishes a diverse root system that provides erosion control, improved stormwater infiltration, and increased nutrient uptake, resulting in healthier soils for insects and small mammals.
A Day in the Life is a program organized by the South Shore Estuary Reserve focused on environmental education, community engagement and water-quality monitoring. Students will get the opportunity to collect water quality samples, learn about ecosystem services and engage with local flora & fauna.
After the field trip event, the data collected by student groups is processed and shared for analysis—an activity in which students are encouraged to participate in. This can range from tracking water & soil health throughout Nassau County to GIS analysis of the collected data.
dThe purpose of a Rain Garen is to capture excess stormwater runoff and filter it of pollutants as it enters the groundwater system. Rain Gardens are a type of green infrastructure, using native plants with extensive root systems that capture and clean as water passes down their roots.
The NCSWCD has built numerous gardens over the years, five gardens were. The locations include Nassau Hall in Muttontown Preserve, Bayville Community Center, Bayville West Harbor Beach, Bayville Eastern Waterfront Center and the Hempstead Plains Nature Preserve on the NCC Campus.
The NCSWCD provided funding to Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) to collect water quality data that will then be used to identify problem areas and manage fecal coliform contamination in the watershed.
The project was broken into four parts with the main goal to use data collected to guide efforts to identify problem areas and manage fecal coliform contaminiation.
The Invasive Plant Removal and Native Plant Revegetation of Leeds Pond Preserve was made possible with funding from the Nassau County Soil & Water Conservation District. The Science Museum of Long Island worked with Spadefoot Design and Construction to complete the project with the goal of clearing 2 acres of Invasive plants like Japanese Knotweed, English Ivy and Norway Maple and replanting with resilient native species.
The NCSWCD provided funding to reimburse Town of North Hempstead Residents who purchased native plants to create native plant gardens and rain gardens. Native plants provide food, shelter and nesting resources for birds, pollinators, small mammals and a variety of wildlife species.
Native plants have a multitude of environmental benefits like extensive root systems that absorb polluted stormwater, sequestering carbon, lower maintenance requirements and less need for fertilizer, mowing and irrigation.
Providing rebates for installation of these plants would lead to more native plants being put into the ground, which will support the Town's effort to increase native plants and wildlife habitat throughout the Town of North Hempstead.
Repairing and replacing the riparian buffer along the shores of Baxter's Pond.
Bordered by a densely suburban community and 2 highly trafficked roads, Baxter's Pond is the catch basin for debris, runoff, litter and chemical waste from lawns and road care. Baxters pond is spring-fed and flows directly into Manhasset Bay eventually feeding into the Long Island Sound
The "Shorescaping" Project will address the need to abate nonpoint pollution sources reaching Manhasset Bay, increase and improve the natural resources with native plantings and the removal of invasive plants.
The project, funded by the NCSWCD began in 2019 and has supported a multi-year design and planting program. The Baxter's Pond Foundation has engaged volunteers to assist in the planting process and educate about native plant choices.
Participating in the 2022 TICK BLITZ
The NYS Tick Blitz is a yearly event created by the Northeast Regional Vector Control Center NEVBD. With help from Cornell Cooperative Extension CCE and NYS Integrated Pest Management NYIPM. Read about the NYS Tick Blitz here
The purpose of the study is to study all NY regions simultaneously to understand where different tick species are present and track their northward expansion. District Technician Sean Rooney surveyed a collective 1,500 meters of Muttontown Preserve.
Interested in protecting your local resources? Looking for a chance to give back to your community?
The Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District is currently seeking volunteers to help implement various environmental projects. No experience required. Weekend opportunities available.