Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Improvements to Harbor Island

Westchester County has laid out a half-a-million dollars to restore six-tenths of an acre of salt marsh and an acre and a half of adjacent upland at Harbor Island Park, which is on the Sound in Mamaroneck:

The Harbor’s west basin, which is used for boat mooring, is located along Rushmore Avenue and the West Boston Post Road. Prior to restoration, fill had created a steep embankment to the water’s edge. The embankment and part of the area above were covered with invasive plants, which provided little ecological benefit and blocked views of the water from the park. A thin band of smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora), an important inter-tidal wetland plant, was clinging to the toe of the embankment.

To restore the tidal marsh, the embankment was cut back to increase the inter-tidal zone's width and create a gentler slope. The newly created low marsh, embankment and flatter areas above the embankment were planted with appropriate beneficial wetland and upland vegetation, such as smooth cord grass in the inter tidal zone, salt marsh hay and marsh elder in the high marsh area and coastal grasses, shrubs and trees on the embankment. Once these plants become established, the restored tidal salt marsh will help improve water quality in Mamaroneck Harbor.

Also, a non impervious public walkway and a tree-shaded observation point were added to allow park users to observe the salt marsh and harbor. A natural stone access way for kayakers was included at the request of neighbors. Three signs will be installed along the walkway describing the coastal ecosystem.

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