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Letter: Restore Damage Done To Preserves

This letter was sent to County Executive Edward Mangano and Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves on Dec. 17

During the Dec. 3 Legislative Committees session, the Rules Committee approved a $20 million contract for a “debris management plan,” enabling the county to clean up after Superstorm Sandy. Connected with this plan, Welwyn Preserve in my district was accidentally subjected to an inordinate amount of tree cutting. A head of Nassau County’s Parks Department gave public testimony at the same committees session that the wrong tree-cutting crew was sent into this Glen Cove preserve for several days. As a result of this, one of our few protected natural spaces was severely damaged.     

I understand that the entire Nassau County government has been under pressure in the wake of Sandy. Our leaders and workers have been performing at an emergency level, around the clock for over a month. Therefore, if a mistake happened, at the expense of Welwyn Preserve, I believe the simple answer now would be to work together on a course of action to reverse some of the damage. 

Please join me in the process of restoring this natural space that Nassau County has been entrusted to protect. I am requesting your assistance as I work with environmental groups and government agencies to:

• Replant trees 

• Examine run-off, erosion and other related issues, as the landscape within the preserve has been altered

• Assure that there was no stream obstruction

• Identify affected bird, honey bee and other species and remediate accordingly 

• Leave the felled trees in a manner more suitable to a preserve

This is an opportunity for Nassau County to demonstrate to Glen Covers, conservationists and nature enthusiasts that we take natural areas under our protection seriously. I would hope that the majority of the work I suggest could be covered under the above-mentioned contract, and the rest would be done by county staff so there are no additional costs. 

Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, 18th LD