Hofstra University has been awarded a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant of $75,000 to remove debris accumulated during Superstorm Sandy from a local salt marsh that is used regularly for research and educational projects. Among the professors spearheading the project is Dr. Russell Burke, of Bellmore.
Cleanup of the 35-acre section of coastal salt marsh, located in Long Beach, will also be led by professors Dr. Jason Williams and Maureen Krause.
Hofstra will collaborate with the Long Beach School District, the Town of Hempstead Department of Conservation and Waterways, and Operation SPLASH (Stop Polluting, Littering and Save Harbors), a non-profit volunteer group based in Freeport. The marsh is adjacent to the Nike Alternative High School and the South Shore Environmental Center.
“We are excited to get started with the cleanup efforts,” said Williams, who regularly visits the site for research and student field trips. “Superstorm Sandy destroyed the boardwalks that everyone uses to access the marsh. The Long Beach School District is focused on rebuilding their schools, as it should be, but we are hoping that donors will help us rebuild the boardwalks.”
He and the other organizers said they hope the initial NOAA grant of $75,000 will grow with community donations. The grant will also fund research by a Hofstra University graduate student and two high school students from the Long Beach School District who will investigate salt marsh recovery after debris removal.
Hofstra is sponsoring the first in a series of cleanups in the salt marsh on Saturday, Oct. 5, from noon to 5 p.m. (the rain date is Oct. 6). The site is at 659 Lido Blvd. in Lido Beach. Turn into the Long Beach Public School Transportation Facility and follow the signs to the Nike School building.
Volunteers will remove lumber and debris such as tires and Styrofoam on the marsh. The work will be hard and you will get muddy, but the effort will be rewarding and critical for marsh restoration, organizers said. The debris includes wood with nails and other potentially dangerous materials, so volunteers should be 15 years or older.
Volunteers should bring:
1. Sturdy boots that can get wet and muddy.
2. Gloves (if you have them) and a reusable water bottle. (Water and some snacks/sandwiches will be provided.)
3. Insect repellant.
For more, contact Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.