Hofstra University faculty, students and community members are once again teaming up in Lido Beach on Sunday, May 3, from noon-4 p.m., to participate in the last of a series of cleanups of a 35-acre coastal salt marsh that is used for research and education projects. Volunteers will meet at the Nike Alternative High School at 659 Lido Boulevard to clear marine debris deposited by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
This effort to preserve one of the few remaining salt marshes in Nassau County has been funded by a $75,000 grant awarded to Hofstra in 2013 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). There have been four previous cleanups, during which more than 300 volunteers have cleared 27 tons of debris (representing over 220 cubic yards of wood, plastic, styrofoam and tires) from more than 15 acres of marsh.
Salt marshes are valuable ecosystems that are rich with plant and animal life. Hofstra Biology Professors Jason Williams, Maureen Krause, and Russell Burke have been working closely 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.
Dr. William says the results they’ve achieved “could not have been accomplished without the hard work of many volunteers, including Hofstra and Long Beach students. Our hope is that we have raised awareness about the importance of marshes and the ecosystem services they provide, including as a nursery for species and in the protection the marshes provide as a barrier to storms.”
Information for those interested in volunteering their time on Sunday:
- The debris includes wood with nails and other potentially dangerous materials, in addition to smaller pieces of trash. Children younger than 15 should not participate.
- Poison ivy grows around the marsh, but there is little to none in the clean-up area.
- For those that do not want to work on the marsh, there is an opportunity to work on the community gardens at Nike.
- There is a large of supply of gloves and lightly used pairs of rubber boots. Volunteers should wear clothes that they don’t mind getting wet and dirty.
- Bring insect repellant and a re-usable water bottle
For more information contact Dr. Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-463-5524.