Written by Patricia Aitken Friday, 15 November 2013 00:00
The Cold Spring Harbor Library has a new rain garden, thanks to the cooperative efforts of the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District, Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District, Friends of the Bay, the Oyster Bay Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee and Main Street Nursery.
Rain gardens reduce storm water runoff by allowing water to be absorbed into the ground, rather than traveling across asphalt or concrete, which can carry pollutants into nearby bodies of water. They are an important means or protecting water quality. They also provide habitat for local wildlife, such as birds and butterflies. Native plants are used in rain gardens since they do not require fertilizer and are suited to the climate in the area in which they are planted.
Brian Zimmerman, district manager of the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District, explains, “Much of Long Island’s storm water flows through storm sewer systems into ponds, streams and harbors, carrying with it silt, nutrients, bacteria and chemicals, all of which are harmful to the native plants and animals in the water – including, at times, humans. Rain gardens filter out much that is harmful and return the water to the ground, rather than the ocean.”
The Cold Spring Harbor Library is an opportune site for the demonstration garden as it is located at the foot of a steep grade, is adjacent to the harbor, will help control storm water runoff at a location that serves parts of both counties, and the Cold Spring Harbor Library is a center for environmental education. Interpretive signage will be placed at the rain garden so that visitors to the library can learn just how valuable rain gardens can be in protecting the environment.
The Scott Paper Company provided funding for the garden through a grant.
Dignitaries at the groundbreaking ceremony included Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, Brian Zimmerman, district manager of the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District; Paul DeOrsay, executive director of Friends of the Bay, and Rob Crafa of the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee.
Crafa cited the Cold Spring Harbor Library rain garden as an example of the Protection Committee’s efforts to promote cooperative action by the municipalities within the watershed to protect the health and productivity of its waters.