Hofstra University has been awarded a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 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.
The cleanup of the 35-acre section of coastal salt marsh, located in Long Beach, will be led by Hofstra biology professors Jason Williams, Maureen Krause, and Russell Burke, who 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. The marsh is adjacent to the Nike Alternative High School and the South Shore Environmental Center.
Salt marshes are valuable ecosystems that are rich with plant and animal life.
“We are excited to get started with the cleanup efforts,” said Dr. 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 hope that 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.