Soil & Water Health: Protecting Our Groundwater Resources

photo by Jeff Heatley

December 4, 2017

Stephen Jones

Quail Hill Farm

Recently, I spoke at a hearing of the Long Island Commission for Aquifer Protection (LICAP) regarding groundwater and aquifer protection and the soon to be published planning work of the Commission.

Over the course of my remarks, I pointed to some of the Trust’s educational efforts, including our partnership with the Perfect Earth Project at Bridge Gardens and the summer programs and consulting sessions there for anyone interested in going toxin-free with their lawn care practices. I also highlighted our Farms for the Future program and how we are able, on both the North and South Forks, to provide small lease parcels and technical best management support to aspiring farmers.

One area I really wanted to highlight was a somewhat worrisome future regarding the thousands of homeowners who can now repeatedly access inexpensive, but highly poisonous chemicals at their favorite garden center.


Paul Wagner of Greener Pastures Organics and Rick Bogusch of Bridge Gardens lead talk about organic rose care at the gardens in early November 2017.

The public is generally unaware of the issues surrounding these chemicals, and are simply looking for solutions to create weed-free and luxuriously green lawns. Because of the ease in which they can buy these products “off the shelf” we have created an army of unlicensed, untrained and unregulated pesticide applicators.

Government regulations are designed for high-volume users, yet, in the aggregate, it is not farmers, but us as homeowners (under the radar) who constitute the bulk of toxic chemical use in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.  

The prescription? More education, more frequently and with more voices and venues.  

Steve Jones’ comments on the LICAP were included in Newsday’s coverage of hearing on Thursday, November 30. To read the story, click here.  

Stephen Jones is Chair of the Peconic Land Trust’s Board of Directors.

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