Tern Island, a 50-acre refuge in Peconic Bay for three
protected bird species, will be preserved forever under the terms of a gift
announced last week by the Nature Conservancy.
Landowner Louis Bacon has donated a conservation easement for the entire
island to the South Fork-Shelter Island chapter of the conservancy, a
Under the terms of the easement, Tern Island will remain Bacon's property
but development will be permanently prohibited there and the conservancy will
manage the island for wildlife habitat preservation.
Bacon executed similar agreements in 1997 for nearby 435-acre Robins Island
and in 2000 for the 540-acre Cow Neck peninsula, adjacent to Tern Island.
Tern Island is home to three protected birds: the piping plover, least tern
and osprey. It is situated between Sebonac Neck and Cow Neck, in Bullhead Bay
in the Town of Southampton.
"Tern Island has been on the Nature Conservancy's preservation wish list
for more than two decades, given its value as a coastal breeding bird habitat
for threatened species and its key location in the Peconic Estuary," said Nancy
Kelley, director of the conservancy's South Fork-Shelter Island