During the recent hurricane, tree-laden preserves have suffered damage. The trees felled by the natural disaster, however, are insignificant compared with the calculated cutting that has since taken place.
A month after Superstorm Sandy, Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton said she was alarmed to hear that trimming crews were taking chainsaws to trees in two Nassau County preserves located in Glen Cove – Welwyn and Garvies Point.
The legislator was contacted by concerned residents who frequent both preserves, as well as environmental groups like the Audubon Society and the Friends of Garvies Point.
DeRiggi-Whitton went out to meet concerned people at both county preserves. Starting at Welwyn, the legislator had hikers walk her through the trails, showing many cut trees. She then went to Garvies, where members of the Friends of Garvies showed her the same kind of damage and told her that the crews did not seem to be properly monitored and had no knowledge of trees.
“Healthy trees, trees fallen adjacent to trails were removed. Stumps were being dug out, leaving bomb craters,” said Jennifer Wilson-Pines, president of the North Shore Audubon Society.
She said the county has hired crews from out of state to cut, section up, and remove all “dangerous” trees; “dangerous” is interpreted to mean anything leaning at a 15-degree angle.
Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton called for a hold on the projects and demanded information from several involved managers within the Nassau County government. She was told that each tree crew was led by an arborist who was selecting dead trees that were a potential danger to people. She was also told that each crew was following a careful plan within the preserve. However, testimony from many people on the ground at both Glen Cove locations suggested that there was not correct supervision and crews seemed to be carelessly damaging precious preserve area without a clear purpose. They said that many of the trees cut were alive and posed no danger.
One Friend of Garvies member told the Record Pilot the crews seemed to be on a mission to cut a lot of trees, and were even taking pictures of the trees that were cut, speculating that they may be offered monetary incentives for taking down trees. Garvies may have been saved from the destruction due to a worker’s quick action. An old tree that had not been struck by the hurricane was the first tree cut down.
Members of the Audubon Society and Friends of Garvies raised concerns that the crews did not know the difference between a park and a preserve. At the preserve, the trails are used to lead the public, but the decaying trees are used as teaching points. Dead or rotting trees are important to wildlife, especially birds that might use the stumps for nesting.
“Owls nest in dead trees and woodpeckers and other birds use these dead trees for many purposes, said Peggy Maslow, vice president of the North Shore Audubon Society. “The workers are getting money for doing totally unnecessary work that is detrimental to wildlife and to the environment.”
“It is evident that the county and park administrations do not know the difference between parks and preserves,” said Bruce Piel, chairman of the Park Advocacy and Recreation Council of Nassau. “A park is a green space specifically designed for human recreation, i.e. picnics, sports, biking, swimming, etc. Removing damaged or dangerous trees from public parks is not only acceptable but also prudent.
“Preserves, however, are “forever wild” green spaces that allow our residents to see nature as it was before the population explosion that filled most of the space on Long Island. Natural events, even Hurricane Sandy, are part of the natural process that defines our forests. Trees felled by the storm still provide protection and food to the wildlife that lives there. Over time downed trees will decay and become a part of the forest floor, providing nutrients to new saplings. This process should not be tampered with except in two circumstances: emergency vehicle access roads and walking or hiking trails.”
At Garvies, the legislator got to meet with a landscape architect in charge as well as an arborist. They went over the sophisticated process the county is supposed to follow, using iPads to identify and track trees that truly need to come down for safety reasons.
“I believe that this process was not originally used in either of Nassau’s preserves in Glen Cove,” DeRiggi-Whitton said. “It is terrible that while tree limbs are still hanging on wires right out on Glen Cove Road, crews were being set loose in protected natural areas and doing permanent damage.”
At the Nassau County Legislature’s committee sessions on Monday, Dec. 3, Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton publicly raised her concern about this process. A Parks and Recreation head explained it away by saying that the wrong crew was sent into Welwyn for several days and was ultimately removed. The legislator said she was saddened to learn that the crews were removed after cutting down 143 trees.
However, Wilson-Pines said the county ordered Garvies Museum to be closed at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 4, and that on Wednesday, Dec. 5, Garvies employees arrived to find a new lock on the gate, while behind the locked gates, crews were cutting. Nine school programs scheduled for Wednesday were canceled by the parks department, claiming the preserve was “ too dangerous” for the public.
Kathryne Natale, who is on the board of the Audubon Society, said, “I was distressed to learn, after talking to a county supervisor, that at least one tree holding up a bluff was cut.”
Natale said she was told that the workers were paid by the county per tree, and the county would be reimbursed by FEMA.
“If they are paid by tree, why wouldn’t they be overzealous?”
Friday, 24 May 2013 00:00
A recent visit from the Maureen McCormick, chief of vehicular crimes at the Nassau County District Attorney’s office, during an assembly for the seniors at Glen Cove High School, drove home the message that with every choice there is a consequence. The Choices and Consequences program, which addresses the dangers of reckless driving and driving under the influence, is brought to the high school by SAFE, Inc.’s School Committee who partner annually with the Nassau County District Attorney’s office to bring the program to the school right before the prom.
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
The community elders were celebrated and honored at Senior Recognition Day, held at the Glen Cove Senior Center on May 11. The day’s events included lively music from the Les Stanco Group and the Golden Voices Chorale, a luncheon and accolades to certain seniors.
Many of the centenarians in the community were recognized and given citations by the City of Glen Cove, and two members of the center were presented with awards.
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
The Glen Cove Junior Lacrosse Club celebrated their Lacrosse Day on Saturday, May 11. Under cloudy skies and the threat of rain, the seventh and eighth grade ‘Late Knights’ started the day off against Half Hollow Hills and continued to struggle offensively. In the end the lopsided score didn’t reflect the strong effort put in by the Knights. Davey Moore, Russell Perciballi, Anthony Calo and Lucas Salerno each had a goal for Glen Cove. Calo and Salerno, converted defensemen, scored their first career goals on attack. Joey Grella was a force on midfield with two assists. Eric Brown and Perciballi assisted on the other two tallies. Goalie Brendan Whitehead played well but was unable to hold off the Half Hollow attack.
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
Glen Cove Junior baseball/softball games are now in their fourth week with games in full schedule. Below are results of last week’s games:
The Glen Cove Fire Department Durham Bulls had three games last week. In the first game, they fell to the Hot Rods, 15-12. Matt Basil was 3-for-3 with a homer and two singles. Gavin Conway contributed a single and double as Luciano Tausaysay was also 3-for-3, with a single, double and triple. In the second game, the Bulls defeated the Blue Line Pools Iron Pigs, 13-7. Rodni Leftwich and Ian Cukro had three hits apiece in the team’s win. Leftwich homered and contributed five RBI. Conway added two RBI. Ryan Annunziato belted a go-ahead homer as Tausaysay added a triple and Finn Jenkins had an RBI. In the third game, the Delicious Pizzeria Bees outlasted the Bulls, 11-8. Tausaysay contributed two hits out of three at-bats including a double. Jenkins had a hit and two RBI as Vincent Milano was 2-for-3 with two RBI.