Working together for healthy soils and clean water.
Our purpose is to protect, preserve, restore, and enhance natural resources through education and technical assistance. We provide programs and technical services to all Nassau County residents and municipalities to manage our precious natural resources.
Nassau County Soil & Water Conservation District is one of 58 county districts in New York State that provides “on the ground” assistance for soil and water resources, preservation of wildlife, and promote the health, safety, and welfare of residents in their respective communities.
Raingarden Workshops with National Expert, Rusty Schmidt
Learn How to Design, Install & Maintain a Raingarden
Date/Time 1: Nov. 12th, 2014 from 7 – 9 p.m.
Date/Time 2: Nov. 19th, 2014 from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Date/Time 3: Nov. 20th, 2014 from 2 – 4 p.m.
Location: The Waterfront Center, West End Avenue, Oyster Bay, NY 11771
Contact: K.C. Alvey
Phone: (516) 364-5860
Raingardening is catching on as something that everyone on Long Island can do to help with coastal resiliency and mitigating pollution to our waters post-Sandy. Several workshops in November in Oyster Bay are being presented by national raingarden expert Rusty Schmidt to show how easy and fun it is to turn any ordinary garden into a raingarden that can also help the local environment.
Friends of the Bay, Sustainable Long Island, Oyster Bay / Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, Nassau County Soil & Water Conservation District, Town of Oyster Bay, and Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee are partnering with Mr. Schmidt, a wildlife biologist and landscape ecologist who has built over 1,000 raingardens, trained numerous raingarden trainers, and co-authored the “Blue Thumb Guide to Raingardens.” Mr. Schmidt will share design and installation recommendations from the tens of thousands of beautiful, functional raingardens built around the country over the last 20 years.
A raingarden is a shallow depression planted mostly with deep-rooted native plants and grasses, along with some cultivars, that capture rainwater and slow runoff velocity. They naturally filter stormwater runoff while attracting birds and butterflies.
Workshops are geared toward conservation professionals, homeowners, landscape professionals, gardeners, and anyone interested in growing beautiful plants and improving our streams and waterbodies. Presentation topics include sizing, modeling, and complete details for a simple raingarden.
Cost for the workshop is $10 for homeowners and residents, and $25 for landscape professionals. Payments will be accepted by check or money order made out to NCSWCD or Nassau County Soil & Water Conservation District. Light refreshments are included in the price. Space is limited, registration required one week prior to each session. To register email K.C. firstname.lastname@example.org or call (516) 364-5860.
3rd Annual Long Island Green Infrastructure Conference and Expo
The 3rd Annual LI Green Infrastructure Conference will be hosted at the Town of North Hempstead’s “Yes We Can” Community Center at 141 Garden Street in Westbury, NY on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. We are pleased to be able to offer 4 AIA Learning Units from the United States Green Building Council – Long Island chapter, at least 2 PE credits, and LA credits are expected. The focus of this year’s conference is “Preparing for the Next Storm.” In the wake of Storms Irene and Sandy, the need for thoughtful, well planned coastal and inland resiliency became very apparent. Areas with intact natural buffers fared best, and that protective effect can be replicated utilizing green infrastructure.
Green infrastructure (GI) practices are methods go beyond traditional practices in reducing carbon emissions, protecting water quality, improving quality of life, and providing wildlife habitat. Green infrastructure includes a range of practices that are used as alternatives to traditional building and stormwater management methods to promote land conservation, water body buffers, and reduced imperviousness, as well as stormwater capture, and filtration. GI can not only reduce runoff and mitigate the effects of small storms but also have a protective effect during big events as well. The conference will provide municipal officials, planners, consultants, property owners, developers, and others with the information they need to understand and implement the latest innovations.
The 2014 Long Island Green Infrastructure Conference will include an address by Jon Kaiman, Special Advisor on Superstorm Sandy relief to Governor Andrew Cuomo. There will also be tours of the “Yes We Can Community Center, the platinum-certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building. In addition, sessions on addressing applications of GI for coastal protection, effects of climate change and adaptation planning, municipal codes and breaking barriers, economic value of GI and grants, current technologies and materials including stormwater calculators, and retrofitting to GI are planned.
Calling all High Schools – Envirothon Teams Wanted!
The Long Island Regional Envirothon is held in the spring every year, alternating between the USDAN Center for the Creative and Performing Arts and the Old Bethpage Village Restoration, bringing teams from local schools in Nassau and Suffolk Counties to compete for a chance to represent their County at the New York State Envirothon. The Envirothon involves teams of 5 students from each school gaining environmental knowledge through a competition-based outdoor event. Subjects include Forestry, Soils, Aquatics, Wildlife, and Current Issues. The current issue for 2014 is Sustainable Local Agriculture/Locally Grown. Students are required to answer questions and demonstrate hands-on application of these topics. The Long Island Regional Envirothon is put together locally by the Nassau County and Suffolk County Soil and Water Districts. For more information on the Envirothon, volunteering, or working with local schools to protect our environment, visit the website at www.LIEnvirothon.com
We have a DVD grant in progress!
We have a DVD in the works! This film will cover stormwater discharges in urban and suburban landscapes and how it can be addressed by low impact strategies, smart growth and best management practices. It will cover a large variety of issues that relate to point and non-point pollution and its effects. Things such as contaminants, most common pollution sources, and green infrastructure solutions will be shown.
We are currently working on locations to be included, people to interview, and the script for the film!
Rain Garden Presentation
District manager Brian Zimmerman gave a presentation on rain gardens at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s “Managing Landscapes Sustainably” conference. You can check out his presentation, which was very well received, here: Rain garden presentation
Science Teachers Association of New York State Book Fair
We were so excited to be able to have an informational booth about the Long Island Regional Envirothon high school competition at the Science Teachers Association of New York State’s book fair yesterday, October 23! We had many teachers ask about Envirothon and how they and their students can get involved. If you’d like to learn more about Envirothon, visit the website at www.lienvirothon.org
2013 was a great year!
2013 Annual Report <– click here to view the 2013 Annual Report
We had an amazing year in 2013! Here are some of our activities from last year! Along with Rain Garden planning and maintenance, we also had tons of educational opportunities, where we were able to reach out to schools and spread the word about watershed health and Green Infrastructure Practices. We had tons of meetings and a myriad of ideas!
The Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District worked with 75 separate individuals, educated 750 students, worked with 21 different organizations, visited 10 schools, held 1 conference, and held 1 plant sale. NCSWCD attended and organized, collectively, 17 meetings. Among these meetings was the Green Infrastructure Conference planning and coordination meetings, Long Island Native Plant Initiative meetings, Water Quality Coordinating Committee meetings, and meetings about the Foodway Corridor Project. We have kept extremely busy throughout the year, and plan to continue this way. Some of this year’s highlights include the Green Infrastructure Conference, where there were 200 people in attendance, with 16 speakers, and 22 vendors/sponsors. With the Water Quality Coordinating Committee, we were in talks about Bergen Point Treatment plant, we spoke with Pat Aiken about various educational projects, and we revised and completed NYSDEC grant forms for various projects. We gave three rain garden talks with Martin Viette, the Massapequa Park Garden Club, and at Cornell Cooperative Extension’s “Managing Landscapes Sustainably” conference. We educated students about the health and maintenance of our watershed at Marine Education Day, where 7 elementary school and about 400 people were in attendance. We visited the Oceanside school district schools to assess Hurricane Sandy Damage and talk about plant material needs. We held a plant sale, where we sold mainly native plants and non-invasive non-native plants. We sold about 11,000 trees and shrubs and educated people about the importance of implementing native plants into their home gardens. We educated about 150 students at the Cradle of Aviation BOCES about stormwater and Green Infrastructure Practices. We volunteered at the Long Island Native Plant Initiative plant sale, and planted our own nursery. We worked and trained for seed collection, and advised BOCES about outdoor learning center curriculum. NCSWCD installed a demonstrating rain garden at the Cold Spring Harbor Library and Environmental Center and visited and cleaned the Tackpausha Rain Garden, the Town of Oyster Bay Animal Shelter Rain Garden, and the two Malcolm House Rain Gardens.
Scotts Environmental Challenge Proposal for Cold Spring Harbor Library Environmental Center
Press Conference/Photo Op. at Cold Spring Harbor Library and Environmental Center’s new rain garden
The press conference on Mon., October 21st was a great success!! A large crowd came, including a handful of reporters and various officials from Nassau County and the Town of Huntington. This was a wonderful joint effort between Nassau and Suffolk, and helps to press the point that water and pollution know no political boundaries. Here’s a news article about the unveiling: CSH library rain garden article
The Nassau and Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation Districts in cooperation with the Cold Spring Harbor Library and Environmental Center, the Oyster Bay-Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee and Friends of the Bay have created a rain garden/native tree planting to protect Cold Spring Harbor from stormwater runoff. This project will not only serve as a way to protect Cold Spring Harbor’s water, but also as an educational opportunity for those involved and those who go to see it.
Rain gardens are shallow depressions designed to absorb storm water runoff from surfaces such as roofs, parking lots, and driveways. Without rain gardens, the storm water will continue to flow into the storm drains and waterways leading to problems such erosion, water pollution and flooding. Covered with native plants and flowers, rain gardens are both beautiful and functional. The garden’s size is determined by the amount of water expected to flow into it. When it rains, the garden fills with a few inches of water and allows the water to slowly filter into the ground rather than running off into storm drains. This is more efficient than a patch of lawn, as rain gardens allow 30% more water to soak into the ground. Rain gardens have environmental benefits of returning rain water to the ground, renewing ground water and aquifers, and reducing storm water runoff. Additionally, rain gardens reduce mosquito breeding by removing standing water, and also create a habitat for birds and butterflies, all while serving as an aesthetically pleasing attribute.
Our project included a soil drainage test, determining the size of the rain garden based on the watershed, community outreach, surveying and designing the rain garden and much much more!
Our plant material was native plants, and adapted non-invasive non-native plants. These plants were selected by the Soil and Water Conservation Districts for their adaptability to the site conditions and beauty.
SUNY Old Westbury Green Roof
Recently, we went to see how the green roof we installed on the natural science building at SUNY Old Westbury was holding up. A little over a year after being installed, it was doing better than we could imagine, despite the drought. This is the first green roof in Nassau County and we hope to see many more in the future! — at SUNY College at Old Westbury.
A green roof, or rooftop garden, is a vegetative layer grown on a rooftop. Green roofs provide shade, absorb rainwater, and remove heat from the air , reducing temperatures of the roof surface and the surrounding air. On hot summer days, the surface temperature of a green roof can be cooler than the air temperature, whereas the surface of a conventional rooftop can be up to 90°F (50°C) warmer.1
Green roofs can be installed on a wide range of buildings, from industrial facilities to private residences. They can be as simple as a 2-inch covering of hardy groundcover or as complex as a fully accessible park complete with trees. Their increasing popularity in the US inspired us to give it a try!
Tackapausha Museum & Preserve holds Science and Nature Exploration Day!
We are excited to announce that we attended Tackapausha Museum & Preserve’s Science and Nature Exploration Day! It was held on Saturday, July 20th from 2 – 6 PM, in order to honor the 44th Anniversary of the first moon landing in 1969! It was a fun-filled day of live wildlife programs, model rocketry contests, science experiments, space and aviation exhibits, science fiction movies, guieded hikes, robotics, crafts and much more! Tackapausha Museum & Preserve is located at 2225 Washington Ave, Seaford NY 11783
The plant sale was a success!
The Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District held its first annual plant sale this year. We not only sold nearly 11,000 trees and shrub seedlings, but also educated the public and individuals about proper soil and water conservation practices. Selling mostly native plants that addressed local environmental needs, we provided an inexpensive plant resource for the community.
After Hurricane Sandy the Nassau County SWCD Board decided to investigate the plant sales to fill a need and help the people of Nassau County install proper plant materials to replace those that were destroyed by the superstorm. Large numbers of trees were toppled by high winds and water throughout Long Island. Oaks, Maples and Conifers were the hardest hit and pulled down electrical wires, destroyed homes and automobiles. The trees that fell left voided areas in the landscape that can be filled with native plants.
Soil & Water Conservation Districts hold Second
Annual LI Green Infrastructure Conference & Expo at
Brookhaven National Laboratory
On June 12, 2013, Nassau and Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation Districts jointly held the 2nd annual Long Island Green Infrastructure Conference & Expo at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). The audience of approximately two hundred people included municipal officials, planners, consultants, property owners, developers and other interested individuals. Speakers at the conference discussed how our communities can address vital water and energy issues and benefit by going green during tough economic times. Delivering cutting edge, realistic solutions for protecting water quality as well as conserving energy, the experts speaking were well received. Speakers showcased their methods using Green Infrastructure Technologies. These green infrastructure technologies go beyond traditional practices in reducing carbon emissions, protecting water quality, improving quality of life, and providing wildlife habitat. Green infrastructure (GI) includes a range of practices that are used as alternatives to traditional building and stormwater management methods to promote land conservation, water body buffers, and reduced imperviousness, as well as stormwater capture, and filtration.
The conference featured keynote speaker Judith Enck, United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), Region 2 Administrator. She discussed the benefits of green infrastructure and US EPA programs that support green infrastructure initiatives.
“Green infrastructure is a fiscally responsible answer to many water challenges, and helps build healthier communities,” said Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “The investments that Long Island communities make today will be a catalyst for sustainable growth and environmental protection for years to come. I commend the conveners of the Long Island Green Infrastructure Conference for hosting this valuable event.”
The conference was organized by the Nassau and Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation Districts (NCSWCD and SCSWCD) along with the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee, Long Island Chapter of the United States Green Building Council, Manhasset Bay Protection Committee, New York Sea Grant, Suffolk County Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the Oyster Bay / Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee. These entities all work to protect and restore water resources and have joined together to deliver this regional forum to promote green infrastructure.
Sponsored by New York Sea Grant, the conference provided water resource management, planning, and development professionals with important training that will enable them to more effectively address the environmental concerns of their constituents and clients.
The 3rd Long Island Green Infrastructure Conference and Expo will be held on June 11, 2014 at the Town of North Hempstead’s LEED Platinum certified “Yes We Can” Community Center in Westbury, New York. The topic of this year’s conference will be “Preparing for the Next Storm.”
For more information please visit http://ligiconference.org/
Rain Garden Updates!
The headquarters of the Nassau County Soil and water District at the Malcolm House in Jericho has a newly completed rain garden. Rain Gardens are shallow depressions designed to absorb storm water runoff from surfaces such as roofs, parking lots, and driveways. Without rain gardens, the storm water will continue to flow into the storm drains and waterways leading to problems such erosion, water pollution and flooding. Covered with native plants and flowers, rain gardens are beautiful and functional. The garden’s size is determined by the amount of water expected to flow into it. When it rains, the garden fills with a few inches of water and allows water to slowly filter into the ground rather running off into storm drains. This more efficient than a patch of lawn as rain gardens allow 30% more water to soak into the ground. Rain gardens have environmental benefits of returning rain water to the ground, renewing ground water and aquifers, and reducing storm water runoff. Additionally, rain gardens reduce mosquito breeding by removing standing water, and also create a habitat for birds and butterflies, all while serving as an aesthetically pleasing attribute.
Please, feel free to come and check out our new rain garden. We have many other Rain Garden projects underway, and are pleased to help out with the growing interest in Rain Gardens on Long Island.
If you can think of a place in need of a Rain Garden, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Phone: (516) 364-5860 Email: email@example.com
“Our rain garden should serve as a model for homeowners all over Long Island. We hope that our community will learn from our example of sustainable practice”
“The advantages of creating a rain garden are far-reaching. Ultimately the garden becomes a natural filtering system that stops pollution that would have otherwise ended up in the sound. And by trapping pollution, rain gardens are responsible for improving water quality and protecting the species within the LI Sound.”
- Brian Zimmerman
15th Annual L.I. Envirothon
April 30, 2013
@ Old Bethpage Village Restoration
Congratulations to the 2013 winning teams!
Chaminade High School Team 1 in Nassau County
Sachem High School North Team in Suffolk County
If your school wants to participate please contact either the Nassau or Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation Districts or go to the LIRE website at: http://lienvirothon.org/
Thank you Nassau County for 2013 funding!
Thank you Ed Mangano and the Legislature for funding the District in 2013 and for realizing the tremendous economic and environmental value the Conservation District brings to the county. There was bipartisan support to funding the Conservation District. The County Executive and the legislators did the right thing to fund Conservation District programs that protect Nassau’s drinking water and work to conserve other natural resources. The Legislators who have done a lot to help are Norma Gonsalves, Rich Nicolello, Rose Walker, Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, Dave Denenberg, and Wayne Wink.
We are a public / private partnership that receives funding from Nassau County, NY State, grants, and other sources. Nassau County has steadily decreased our funding from $100,000 in 2008 to $12,600 in 2012. In 2013 we will receive $81,000. This money invested in the Conservation District will be used to leverage funding from the NY State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) that has been specifically dedicated for Conservation Districts as well as grants. Long Island will now receive a more equiatble share of funding from NY State that otherwise would have gone to other parts of the state resulting in the loss of many important programs to protect drinking water and other natural resources.
If you want to help make Nassau County a more beautiful and healthy place to live we have opportunities for you to help out near where you live and work.
Help we need in the field: digging up and preparing gardens, amending soil, cleanups of downtowns and shorelines.
Help we need in the office: light office work to public relations (write press releases, create brochures, update website, build relationships with media, elected officials, partner agencies, and the public).
Donations we need: tools, heavy equipment, office equipment and materials, and even funding. Money can be donated on our website or directly to the Conservation District by check or money order. We prefer not to handle cash.
Can you think of other ways you could help that we didn’t list?
Contact us at 516-364-5860 or nassauSWCD@optonline.net
Beach and Preserve Cleanups
The Conservation District holds targeted beach and preserve cleanups throughout the year. Please contact with an area that you want to work with the Conservation District to cleanup.
Below are some pictures from one event the Conservation District organized as an International Beach Cleanup day around Wantagh County Park. Brownie Troop 491 from Bellmore New York was instrumental in cleaning the waterfront with parents and family members collecting over 160 pounds of garbage that would ordinarily pollute our waterways. Members of the Wantagh Junior Chamber of Commerce along with Operation Splash took to the water in one of Operation Splashes 7 boats to clean the bayside of West Jones Beach. There efforts were indispensable in helping us collect our total of 612 pounds of trash.
Operation SPLASH boat provided to help the cleanup
Brownie Troop 491 from Bellmore
New Rain Garden at Tackapausha Preserve, Seaford
Late summer time yielded many projects for the Conservation District including a 300 square foot rain garden, at Tackapausha Preserve’s Museum front entrance. The newest rain garden to Nassau County is 300 square ft with a depth of 2 ft. Inside there are warm season grasses, forbs, vibernum shrubs, creeping raspberry and cranberry bushes. Timing was perfect for this garden as it was installed right before Hurricane Irene brought in a lot of rainfall. The garden proved itself immediately following its completion! Take a look at the gallery that shows our progess and the final result:
Long Island Fair
On September 21st – 23rd, Nassau SWCD will have a booth at the Long Island Fair held at Old Bethpage Village Restoration. This table will be educational, providing information about stormwater pollution and practices that can be implemented locally to help curb this issue. We will have brochures and information packets, along with a demonstration rain barrel. Also we will be publicizing a rain barrel sale we are doing with New England Rain Barrel in October. Please take a look at the fair’s website and hope to see you there!
Conservation Districts Work for You!
Check out this publication on more ways that we can work to assist you:
NYS district article (852.5 KiB, 460 hits)
NYS district article (852.5 KiB, 460 hits)
Conservation District promotes Green Infrastructure and Green Roofs
Having spent time at various training sessions around New York, NCSWCD and its employees have broadened their knowledge in the area of green infrastructure and its practices and benefits. One interesting green infrastructure component is that of Green Roofs as we become more and more urbanized. We built the first Green Roof in Nassau County at SUNY Old Westbury in the fall of 2012 to show educate the public abouth them Some positive attributes associated with them are:
- Retain up to 90% of the summer precipitation that falls on them and up to 40% in winter
- Reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and delays the time in which runoff occurs, resulting in decreased sewer system stress during peak flow
- Provide additional insulation which creates a reduction of 25% in cooling needs
- Reduce sound reflection and transmission by up to 40%
- Increases the life of the roof by at least two times
- Creates a wildlife habitat – increases bird and insect habitat
- Increases regional water quality
Here are some links with more information:
Please contact us if you need any more information!
“The Lower Hudson – Long Island Resource Conservation and Development Council Inc. (LHLIRC&D) is still active and functioning”.
Congress has zeroed out the funding for RC&D program from the Federal budget for this year and next but the LHLIRC&D Council Inc. is an independent not for profit corporation and will remain viable. We will continue to work for and serve our 13 counties and New York City boroughs. Our focus on the natural resources, economic viability and people of our region will not waver. There are two signature projects that we have been working on. They are the Hudson Valley Grass Energy Project and the Foodway Corridor Project. Take a look at the attached document for more information.
Here are some letters written about the status of the LH-LI RC&D and projects underway:
Conservation District of Nassau County on the air!
The Conservation District Manager was on the Lou Telano show, “Streetwise” on March 15,2011 discussing the Conservation Districts function and how it can help the people of Nassau County. Brian Zimmerman and Donna Martini, a health and wellness advocate and Nassau County Planning Board Commissioner discussed the need to utilize open spaces, such as school yards, to produce good nutritious locally grown food for the health and vitality of the students. Brian spoke on the idea and how the Conservation District can help in this effort.
The grants that we received for 2011 are very exciting. The first one is to create an educational DVD that will focus on non-point sources of pollution. It will focus on adults and landscapers and companies that disturb the soil and there will be a short version for grade school students. We are very excited to begin work on this project and to distribute it to other agencies. The other grant is to revise the Nassau County Water Quality Coordinating Committee. This group is made up of officials from the local towns, county, and interested people to coordinate the needs of the natural resources of the county. We hope to coordinate all of the efforts that are being performed to address pollution and water quality.
A few last updates:
- November 15th, 2013 at 10:00am, there is a Conservation District Board meeting at Nassau County DPW, 1194 Prospect Ave., Westbury, NY. All are welcome to attend.
- TBA (late Jan. or early Feb. 2014) - DEC Training – Old Bethpage Village Restoration
- RC&D will be applying for the USDA Rural Business Opportunity Grant for $50,000 to study the existing conditions opportunities and feasibility for waterborne transportation of agricultural products from the rural areas of the Hudson Valley. They will be reaching out to farmers to assess their needs and desires in relation to this project.