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Protecting Precious Property

Friends of Massapequa Preserve celebrates 10th Anniversary and updates members on county project.

The Massapequa Preserve - 423 undeveloped acres of woodlands, ponds, lakes and freshwater wet-lands that borders Massapequa Creek from South Farmingdale to Merrick Road - has forged some serious friendships over the years.

Leading the list is The Friends of Massapequa Preserve –a group of concerned citizens who work extraordinarily hard to enhance the protection, restoration and appreciation of the Preserve. Their ongoing efforts are in cooperation with Nassau County, which owns the Preserve, and the Department of Recreation and Parks which manages it. 

The group is celebrating 10th anniversary this fall, but were still hard at work at their annual meeting at the  Wednesday.

They've been keeping  an especially close eye on the Preserve during Nassau Country' $6 million  stream enhancement and pond restoration project, which is nearing completion in early 2011.

Richard Schary who formed the advocacy group with his wife Lisa ten years ago, is president of Friends of the Massapequa Preserve and provided an update on the project.

He began by trying to allay concerns about the  scope of the two year-old project.

"We know how upsetting it's been for some of you to have to watch helplessly as heavy machines rip and dig their way through the Preserve, sawing down trees and bulldozing through the underbrush," he said.  "Please keep in mind that your Friends organization, the County, and the construction crews are doing everything possible to limit the damage and disruption, and to make sure the Preserve is adequately remediated and beautified."

Schary said  the restoration should deliver some long-awaited results. He told the members that the Preserve is cleaner, safer and healthier than it's ever been.

He also noted that the  storm water treatment devices installed in the area as part of the project will filter out suspended solids, harmful nutrients and pathogens, oil, grease and heavy metals.

He said that when the project wraps up, the water will be cleaner, the streams clearer, the ponds deeper in spots and less clogged with vegetation; and, over 30,000 plants, trees and shrubs will be planted.  

The Preserve is home to hundreds of species of birds, animals and plants, but  many problems that still plague it are caused by its visitors.

Speakers at the meeting  griped about bicyclists going way too fast on the multi-use trails, people riding ATVs and other motorized vehicles in the park.

Another problem has been dog walkers. Dogs are not permitted in the Preserve. There have been incidents of  where dogs have gone in the ponds and attacked ducks, with one needing to be euthanized recently.

Schary stated that signs will be put to help stop these situations and police will start to issue summonses. 

But despite the changes and ongoing issues, Schary said the overall state of the Preserve is strong.

"So far, the Preserve has gotten through all the chaos of construction and disruption in pretty good shape," he said. "As the stream project winds down, the Preserve will finally have a chance to regenerate and return to normal. That day can't come too soon for us. We've accomplished a great deal in the past ten years, and look forward to the next ten."  

james April 25, 2012 at 04:19 AM
I am really sorry to hear about the duck. I persoaly have been walking my dog or dogs at the perserve for over 30 years. I do know dogs can chase birds or wildlife(it is their natural instinctual behavior). I have never seen A dog catch one. What I have seen are young people with bb and paintball guns shooting at wildlife. As a dog walker in the Massapequa Preserve, I have meet alot of other people who love the woods. It is my experance that a morjority of the other dog walkers are true animal lovers, must of us have a story or two of people misusing the Preserve. As A group alot of us have dispached these offenders away from the illigal misbehavor they are causing. I myself have stoped some serious feloney activity, which could of caused harm to another human being. while most people use the main blacktop path, most dog walkers choose to take the less traveled inside paths where most crimes and trouble happen. I have meet many fine inderviduales in my travels, we uselly always talk to each other if any proublems are occuring. As far as the scores of dogwalkers I see in the Preserve, my hats off to them. We are out ther in fource. The only thing I see is A large political group which I refure to as the Walking Watchdogs......................................................................................................'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

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