Readers Write: Tidal wetlands protect Manhasset Bay

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It is disheartening that your paper would publish pictures of beautiful, flourishing (and federally protected) tidal wetlands and then allow a reader to write that they are a “mess” in an opinion piece published on July 8.

The Manhasset Bay Protection Committee, a committee made up of 15 local municipalities which joined together to “clean up” and protect Manhasset Bay, supports the work of the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Town of North Hempstead to complete habitat restoration projects like this one around Manhasset Bay and in Mill Pond. I will attempt to clear up some public confusion below, but readers can also reference a letter to the editor written by the staff of the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District to the Port Washington News on June 16, 2018 (http://portwashington-news.com/letter-response-to-mess-at-our-mill-pond/).

The original state of Mill Pond was not as a pond at all, but a tidal inlet. It was closed in the 1800s in order for a mill to be operated along its banks. With the advent of Shore Road, Mill Pond cannot go back to its original state, but we can take steps to preserve it and restore it to a functioning habitat. Over the past decade, the Town of North Hempstead has stabilized the banks (and there is a convenient walking path around the pond), installed a treatment device to catch stormwater and treat it before entering the pond, and completed habitat restoration of the tidal wetland along the banks of the pond.

Tidal wetlands are important as nursery habitat for various fish and wildlife species, a natural filter for water running off the land and into the pond, and as a buffer to the land from wave and storm action. Water in the pond ultimately makes its way into Manhasset Bay due to tidal exchange, so improvements to the water quality in Mill Pond also lead to improvements in the water quality of Manhasset Bay.

I invite everyone to walk the path around Mill Pond, take in the sights, read the signs, and bask in the history and habitat of a restored and preserved Mill Pond.

Sarah Deonarine

Executive Director, Manhasset Bay Protection Committee

Port Washington

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