Two Long Island-based Surfrider Chapters have installed Ocean Friendly Gardens this spring to help protect clean water, support healthy soil and provide both beauty and sustenance for their communities.
East Hampton, NY
The Eastern Long Island Chapter transformed over ½ acre of a village green into an oasis of native plants this spring. The green was previously heavily maintained lawn that receives heavy flows of stormwater and road runoff. The newly-installed Ocean Friendly Garden includes a low-lying swale with wetland species that can withstand the flooded conditions in the lowest elevations of this parcel, and a native pollinator garden along the roadside. Nearly 17,000 square feet of the current turf lawn has also been replaced by a native meadow with 24 native trees. Over 15,000 native plants and trees have been planted in this garden all together!
The Methodist Lane Bioswale OFG project was designed to maximize absorption and retention functions of stormwater and to create wildlife habitat with native plant and tree species important for local bird and pollinator populations. This site sits just upstream of a coastal pond that is impacted by low oxygen levels and cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, blooms. Once the plants are established they will reduce the flow of polluted stormwater into Hook Pond and reduce inputs of nutrients, pathogens and sediment into this watershed which eventually leads to a very popular ocean beach.
The ELI Chapter and all of their community partners and supporters who helped make this Ocean Friendly Garden possible hope that the Methodist Lane Bioswale garden will become a community showcase to help shift public perceptions of desired landscaping practices that can improve local water quality conditions and beautify private and public spaces. Two school groups have already visited the site including the student club members at East Hampton Middle School, who helped plant the native meadow. Check out local media and more information about this project on the Eastern Long Island Chapter’s website.
Long Beach, NY
Closer to NYC, the Central Long Island Chapter has also been busy planting a community garden. Neighbors, volunteers, and local businesses worked together to transform a dry dirt patch near a beach access point into the first Ocean Friendly Community Garden in Long Beach. Free from chemical fertilizers and pesticides, this Ocean Friendly Garden includes native sea grasses, marigolds as a natural pest deterrents, and vegetable plants. Mulch and pavers were added for permeability to soak up and prevent runoff. A rain barrel also retains rain water and is the main source of irrigation for the garden. There is also a compost bin and compost tubes installed directly into the garden beds that are full of red wriggler worms happy to turn food scraps into soil nutrients. This system helps to keep hundreds of pounds of food waste out of the landfills which even has climate change benefits.
Garden volunteers will share their harvest with the Long Beach Soup Kitchen. Robert Blau, who helps run the soup kitchen is excited about the collaboration and says “it would be wonderful to have fresh produce straight from the garden.” The chapter also intends to provide our Ocean Friendly restaurants with fresh herbs and produce as a thank you for their commitment to ocean friendly practices. Local media coverage of this community project has been extensive. Learn more about Long Beach’s first Ocean Friendly Garden on the CLI Chapter’s website or watch this great news clip below at News12.com.