The Town of North Hempstead was awarded a $25,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for tidal wetland restoration of Hempstead Harbor Cove.
Officials say this funding is necessary to address contaminants from the Mattiace Petrochemical Superfund site that affected several wetlands throughout the Towns of Oyster Bay, Huntington and North Hempstead.
According to the U.S. Fish and WildLife, contaminants and hazardous substances were detected in on-site soils, sediment, surface water, and groundwater at levels that could reduce the lifespan of algae, newly-hatched fish and other communities of animals such as shellfish, fish, birds and mammals.
The grant funding will be used to control and remove invasive species found in Hempstead Harbor Cove such as Phragmites australis, an herbaceous plant that pushes out other native species that benefit wetlands and wildlife. This will be followed by planting new grass known as Spartina plugs.
“In order for our waterfront to be environmentally sound, we are partnering with the USFWS to continue to preserve our natural resources and ensure that our water remains clean and safe for plants and wildlife,” Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said, in a statement
The Hempstead Harbor Restoration Project is part of a 2014 Addendum to the original restoration plan proposed in 2007 by the USFWS. Previous restoration efforts had been stalled by re-growth of the grass and storm damage.
No word yet on the start date for this project.