Assemblyman Englebright Announces 1,000 Acre Addition to Central Pine Barrens Preservation Area
Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) announced that the State Budget agreement passed last week includes the addition of over 1,000 acres to the Central Pine Barrens Preservation area in the Town of Brookhaven.
More than 800 acres of coastal forest owned by National Grid in Shoreham and lands already in public ownership in the headwaters of the Forge River will be added to the Pine Barrens Preservation Area. The measure has been approved by both Houses of the Legislature and is waiting for the signature of Governor Cuomo.
In addition, the State plans to purchase the over 800-acre Shoreham coastal forest property currently owned by National Grid and manage it in a manner that considers the area’s unique natural characteristics. In the 2016 New York State Open Space Conservation Plan, the Shoreham property was identified as an acquisition priority project because of its location within the boundaries of the federally designated Long Island Sound Estuary, including more than one mile of forested coastal bluffs fronting the Long Island Sound. Acquisitions are scored based on their ability to protect ground and surface water quality, improve coastal resiliency, enhance fish and wildlife habitat, and support water-based industry and tourism.
“I am pleased that we have been able to work together with the Governor, Senator LaValle, and Brookhaven Town Supervisor Romaine to find a solution to protect a large tract of some of the most ecologically valuable land in New York State,” said Englebright.
The Shoreham parcel will have a management plan that will ensure that the land is utilized in ways that are most beneficial to the public and the ecology of the region. The lands will be subject to the protections encompassed in the Long Island Pine Barrens Maritime Reserve Act.
“The Shoreham property is one of New York’s largest remaining original coastal forest tracts as its rugged terrain historically precluded farming activities and clear cutting. It is estimated that upwards of a half-billion gallons of water pass through it to underground aquifers each year. This property also completes a north-south greenbelt that runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Long Island Sound and lies on the Atlantic Flyway,” said Englebright. “It includes one of the most diverse collections of habitats to be found in one concentrated area anywhere on Long Island. Preservation of this museum piece landscape as well as ensuring public access is a great triumph for the protection of Long Island’s natural history heritage.”