The Town of Brookhaven was recently awarded $988,401 in grants for environmental projects throughout the town. The grants were awarded by the New York State Regional Economic Development Council and announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The first grant is $375,000 to demolish abandoned homes in Mastic Beach and restore the natural wetlands. Supervisor Ed Romaine said the town believes the wetlands will act as a sponge and help to mitigate flooding issues that have plagued the waterfront community.
This grant aids the town in what has been an ongoing effort to demolish abandoned homes in Mastic Beach. In two years, about 60 homes have come down in Mastic Beach, about 25 percent of the goal, Romaine estimated. The supervisor acknowledged that there is a cost associated with preserving open space, but said it improves quality of life for the community.
“It’s an expense to the town, but we believe it’s necessary,” Romaine said.
And now, thanks to a new county law passed in December 2018, any demolished homes that are within the Mastic/Shirley Conservation Area are required to be restored to open space. The grant, Romaine added, should allow the town to increase their total home demolitions in 2019, from about 67 in 2018 to an estimated 70 to 75 this year.
“I have been working closely with our law department to clean up abandoned houses throughout Mastic Beach and this grant will go a long way to continue that effort,” said councilman Dan Panico. “This is a win-win for the residents and the environment.”
The second grant awarded was $313,401 to build a permeable barrier at Davis Park Marina on Fire Island. The barrier will prevent nitrogen from entering the surface waters by removing it from groundwater. The project will reduce nitrogen entering Long Island coastal waters, which can lead to eutrophication, hypoxia, marine-harmful algal blooms and marine life mortality.
“Davis Park is one of Brookhaven Town’s busiest summer destinations and we must do whatever we can to protect it,” said councilman Neil Foley. “This grant will help maintain the environmental integrity of the barrier island and ensure that it will be enjoyed by future generations for many years to come.”
The third grant was $300,000 to purchase a vacuum truck for the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) program. Use of the truck will improve water quality by removing sediment and other pollutants that would otherwise enter water bodies via the storm sewer system. The highway department and superintendent Dan Losquadro will run this project.