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Long Beach's Surfrider builds Ocean Friendly Garden

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Volunteers with the Surfrider Central Long Island chapter have built an Ocean Friendly Garden, which aims to increase water retention and reduce pollution runoff.

There are three main aspects to an ocean-friendly garden are conservation, permeability and retention, Betsy MacLeod, the chapter's vice chair said.

Conservation comes from planting non-invasive native plants that are drought resistant. For permeability, volunteers use pavers and mulch to absorb rainwater in order to avoid runoff in the sewers. They also have installed a rain barrel to collect rainwater, so it can be used to water the garden.

“We’re trying to educate the public on eco-friendly ways in which you can utilize your garden,” MacLeod said. “Be more sustainable, while growing your own food and protecting the environment.”

The ocean-friendly concept is a national program through Surfrider that the Long Beach chapter picked up. The garden, located at the end of Pennsylvania Avenue and Ocean Beach Park, was planned in February and built in late May. Several volunteers planted an array of vegetables -- including tomatoes, eggplants and peppers -- along with various herbs. Native pollinators and beach grass were also planted in the garden.

The produce that is grown in the garden will be given to the Long Beach Soup Kitchen, volunteers and neighbors. Ocean-friendly restaurants in the area such as LB Social, Blacksmith Breads and Lost at Sea will also have access to the produce and herbs.

A crew of about 15 regular volunteers will handle the day-to-day maintenance of the garden, MacLeod said. She also thanked A&T Garden Center and New Eco Landscapes for donating the plants and soil.

She added that she hopes to expand the program and garden to promote environmentally friendly gardens around town. For more information on volunteering or building an Ocean Friendly Garden, you can visit on beach.surfrider.org