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DEC and Peconic Land Trust Announce Preservation of Pine Barrens Land Critical to Protect Long Island’s Sole Source Aquifer

Conservation News
January 29, 2019

Brookhaven Property Acquisition is First to Use DEC Source Water Protection Grants

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Peconic Land Trust today announced the preservation of a parcel in the Central Pine Barrens Core. The acquisition of this property will help protect Long Island’s groundwater. The town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County, parcel is the first in the state to be approved and purchased with funding from DEC’s Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grants that specifically target the protection of source waters.

“Protecting Long Island’s sole source aquifer is among the state’s top priorities, and DEC commends our partners at the Peconic Land Trust for their assistance with the successful completion of this acquisition,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “While small in size, this property will provide significant groundwater benefits when combined with other protected parcels nearby, affording greater protection to Long Island’s drinking water supplies.”

John v.H. Halsey, President of the Peconic Land Trust, said, “The Trust is pleased to work with the DEC and the Town of Brookhaven to protect our important drinking water resources. This is the first of what will be proactive preservation of land that will contribute to health and well-being of Brookhaven residents. Our sincere thanks go to the landowner for choosing to sell this land to protect it instead of building on it. We also extend our appreciation to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, the New York State Senate and Assembly, and the staff of the DEC for making this funding available; and to the Town of Brookhaven and the Peconic Estuary Program for partnering with us. We look forward to announcing additional conservation efforts in Brookhaven later this year.”

Funding for the project comes from a $2.3 million DEC grant awarded in December 2017 to the Peconic Land Trust for implementation of a Regional Aquifer Protection Land Acquisition Program (RAPLAP). The Trust paid $135,000 for the one-acre parcel on Cornfield Road in Ridge. The property was identified by the Town of Brookhaven as a priority for conservation because of its location in the Central Pine Barrens Core, adjacent to other protected Suffolk County and Pine Barrens conservation easement lands, and its proximity to land owned by the Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA).

The Trust proposes to maintain the new Cornfield Preserve for passive recreational uses such as hiking and birdwatching. There will be no interior parking. Potential improvements would be limited to a foot trail, placement of trail markers, and a trailhead kiosk.

View the full press release here.

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