John v.H. Halsey, President of the Peconic Land Trust, recently announced that ExxonMobil has donated to the Trust a 2 acre parcel in Greenport on Shelter Island Sound, a former terminal property for the company. Additionally, a conservation easement on the property was donated to the Town of Southold. The Village of Greenport will be a party to the easement as well, ensuring that the property is preserved, in perpetuity, as natural habitat and open space.
Going forward, the Peconic Land Trust will be responsible for developing and executing a site restoration plan.
“ExxonMobil’s decision to conserve this property recognizes the strong desire by the local community to protect valuable natural resources, such as wetlands and shorelines, for the public benefit,” said John v.H. Halsey, President of Peconic Land Trust.
A former ExxonMobil terminal, located on the southeastern corner of Fourth and Clark Streets in Greenport, the site was acquired by ExxonMobil in 1924 and was operated as a petroleum products storage facility until its closure in the mid_1980s. The property is about 2 acres in size, including 1.5 acres of coastal lowland vegetation and about a half acre of undeveloped beachfront, and provides habitat for sea grass and several species of birds and animals commonly found along functioning shorefront.
The property has more than 600 linear feet on Shelter Island Sound—part of the Peconic Estuary, an Estuary of National Significance and a significant recreational and cultural resource for Long Island residents and visitors.
ExxonMobil completed an environmental remediation project at the Greenport site in late 2003, which included excavation and removal of petroleum impacted soils and subsequent backfilling with clean soil. The scope of the remediation project was determined by a Remedial Action Work Plan (RAWP) approved by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) in 2002. In 2004, Exxon Mobil received a “no further action” letter from NYSDEC stating that the required remediation activities were completed to applicable state standards.
In April 2012, ExxonMobil secured permits from the NYSDEC and Village of Greenport to voluntarily remove metal sheeting on the beach that became exposed during last winter’s storms and created a potential safety hazard for those walking along the beach. That work was completed prior to the donation.
Going forward, the Peconic Land Trust will be responsible for developing and executing a site restoration plan. While still in the conceptual stage, the Trust envisions restoring the property over a period of about 5 years to include removal of invasive plant species and planting maritime grasses and natural shrubs to enhance natural habitat characteristics. The Trust also envisions developing “passive” outdoor recreation uses on the property, such as a walking path and water access.
Timing to fully restore the property will ultimately depend on project scope and availability of funding. “The Trust is committed to a public engagement process that will consider input from Greenport residents and others interested in the future of the property,” added Project Manager Stephen Searl.
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