Peconic Land Trust Acquires 1.4 Acres On Georgica Pond

September 16, 2020

The Trust will restore the wetlands and uplands on this former commercial property, critical to the health of the pond and surrounding natural habitat.

The Trust will restore the wetlands and uplands on this former commercial property, critical to the health of the pond and surrounding natural habitat.

The Peconic Land Trust announced today that it acquired 1.4 acres on Georgica Pond. The acquisition was completed thanks to the generosity of Katharine Rayner, who donated the funds to support the purchase, remediation and restoration of the property.

“I am privileged to be able to give back to a place that has provided me with so much joy and beauty. Having lived on Georgica Pond for forty years I have witnessed its deterioration, and this project to protect the Pond comes from the heart. As a gardener, I look forward to learning a new vocabulary of native plants and working with Peconic Land Trust to restore a natural habitat on the shore of Georgica Pond,” said Katharine Rayner.

The property is located on the southeast corner of Montauk Highway and Wainscott Stone Road in Wainscott. While the land is zoned for residential use, its pre-existing, non-conforming use has been commercial for over 50 years as the site of a restaurant. Protecting this land will aid in improving the health of the pond and the surrounding natural habitat by removing the building, septic system and leaching fields that have contributed to the degradation of the pond’s water quality.

The Trust will implement a restoration plan that will include new plantings of native grasses and wetland vegetation. The Trust also looks forward to working with both the Town of East Hampton and the Friends of Georgica Pond Foundation in ongoing efforts to reduce the storm water run-off into the pond from both Route 27/Montauk Highway and Wainscott Stone Road. Nitrogen and phosphorus are major contributors to the harmful algal blooms that have stressed many of our local ponds and bays, including Georgica Pond. The protection and restoration of this property will be an important step toward improving the health of the pond.

Located where Talmage Creek flows into Georgica Pond, the property sits within the 4,000-acre Georgica Pond Watershed.* The protection of this land will revert a developed property back to nature (today, approximately 59% of the land within the watershed is developed*). The area is home to a wide-range of birds, reptiles, finfish and shellfish, and native plants and trees — including osprey, snapping turtles and blue crabs.

“Sometimes it takes years to make a conservation purchase happen. In this case, it was literally weeks,” said John v.H. Halsey, president of the Peconic Land Trust. “Upon learning that the landowner was actively considering offers on the property, the Trust’s staff, especially Kim Quarty, our Senior Project Manager, worked with broker Lori MacGarva to make it happen. Guided by Kathy’s commitment and vision, we are now preparing for the demolition of the structures on the property to set the stage for its restoration, all to improve the health of Georgica Pond! We are deeply grateful to Kathy for making it all possible.”

About the Peconic Land Trust

Founded in 1983, Peconic Land Trust conserves Long Island’s working farms, natural lands, and heritage. Since its inception, the nonprofit Trust has worked conscientiously with landowners, communities, municipalities, partner organizations, and donors, to conserve over 13,000 acres of land on Long Island. The Trust’s professional staff carries out the necessary research and planning to identify and implement alternatives to outright development. While working to conserve the productive farms, watersheds, woodlands, and beachfront of Long Island, the Trust is also protecting the unique rural heritage and natural resources of the region. For more information about the Peconic Land Trust, visit

*source: Friends of the Georgica Pond Foundation website

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