Town aims to preserve Crab Meadow watershed in Northport

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Suzanne McGuire has lived in Northport her whole life and considers the neighboring Crab Meadow watershed area a "treasure."

McGuire attended a meeting on Thursday night, along with about 30 other people, to discuss work the Town of Huntington is doing to protect and enhance the area, one of the few large areas of salt marsh on the North Shore of Long Island.

McGuire said the area needs to be preserved for future generations. Benefits of the marshes include encouraging biological diversity and providing storm protection. "You can't get it back once it is gone," she said.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Long Island Sound Futures Fund in 2012 awarded the town a $58,000 grant for the work. Huntington in February 2013 used the grant for a $57,900 contract with GEI Consultants Inc. of Huntington Station.

GEI is conducting a hydrology study of the watershed area and will draft a stewardship plan to maintain and enhance the environmental quality of the system. The plan will be created with public input and by working with the Crab Meadow Watershed Citizens Advisory Committee, according to town officials.

On Thursday, the town held its second community meeting, which included two sessions that drew about 60 people. After a presentation, people split up into work groups to discuss topics including wildlife, land use and water quality. The consultants will use this information as they continue their research.

"We're very encouraged that people are that interested in their surroundings and a vital watershed," said Huntington Town Councilman Mark Cuthbertson, who has sponsored town resolutions related to this initiative.

The Crab Meadow watershed area encompasses more than 3,500 acres and extends south from Long Island Sound in Northport to Bellerose Avenue in East Northport.

Donna Waldenburg lives in the Crab Meadow area, which can act as a buffer when storms hit.

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"It protects us, so we need to protect it," Waldenburg said.

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