The Town of Brookhaven recently approved a resolution to purchase more than 22 acres spread over 106 parcels of land in Mastic Beach for open space. Much of the space is wetlands that are environmentally sensitive. The acquisition is a partnership with the Nature Conservancy, which is providing a $250,000 grant for the effort.
According to the resolution, the parcels were identified for conservation to “protect water quality, provide flood storage in storms and is a wildlife habitat.”
Mastic Beach has been a target area for the conservancy for some time, as the area is one of the most sensitive on Long Island to flooding and the threat of sea level rise. Alison Branco, coastal director for the conservancy, said preserving the wetlands is a key step in mitigating those effects. The wetlands help to soak up some water, but play a large part in reducing storm energy and surge onto land.
“The goal is to always have a natural shoreline between the people and the shore,” Branco said.
The wetlands act as a “safety barrier” between people and the ocean, and preventing future development helps them to stay active.
“Those wetlands will be able to migrate inland, as long as they’re healthy,” Branco said. “Our only choice is to make way for the water.”
A lot of other parcels around this area are already protected by the town, state and county.