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Nissequogue weighs selling 2.5 acres to state for preservation

Nissequogue Village may sell about 2.5 acres of municipal land off Long Beach Road to New York State for use as a preserve.

“This would protect the beauty of Stony Brook Harbor,” Mayor Rich Smith said in an interview. “Nature in all its glory will be preserved.”

Smith and Department of Environmental Conservation officials discussed the possible acquisition last month, Smith and a DEC spokeswoman said, but did not discuss price or a timeline for the possible sale.

Smith described the land as undeveloped marsh along the south side of the East Long Beach barrier spit that may have been created when the harbor was dredged in 1958.

Preservation of the parcel along with several others in the area “would improve water quality, fisheries, wildlife habitat, wetland function, and coastal resiliency,” DEC spokeswoman Erica Ringewald wrote in an email.

The DEC “envisions an assemblage of protected land” between the nearby Smithtown Bay Yacht Club and the Nissequogue Preserve, at the east end of Long Beach Road, she wrote.

The state would manage the land and could provide one or two parking spaces for passive recreation, such as hiking or bird-watching.

The DEC bought three parcels totaling about five acres in the area in 2015 in sales ranging from $452,000 to $464,000.

The Nature Conservancy’s David Weld Sanctuary is also nearby, about a mile to the west. The protected parcels are a point of pride for the tiny village, whose resident handbook notes that “the earliest Village ordinances placed importance on the conservation of both the natural environment and the historical attributes of the area.”

Kaylee Engellener, chairwoman of the Joint Village Coastal Management Commission for Nissequogue and Head of the Harbor, who would have no oversight role in an acquisition but closely follows preservation matters in the area, called the possibility of a transfer heartening.

“Anything that encourages appreciation of our natural resources without any accompanying destruction is wonderful,” she said.


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