Friday, March 19, 2010

Assuming It's Not Contaminated With Highly Infectious Animal Diseases, Plum Island Would Be a Great Public Acquisition

While New Rochelle is reopening the discussion about developing Davids Island, the federal government is thinking about what to do with Plum Island, 100 miles to the east (and which I was surprised to see is 840 acres in size -- much bigger than I would have guessed). The feds operate a research lab for highly infectious animal diseases on Plum Island; it's off-limits to everyone except employees of the lab.

The New London Day reports:

No appraisal of the property has been done, Santangelo said. The agency plans to open an office in Southold, N.Y., where potential buyers can obtain information about the property, she said. Along with the lab, the island also has a lighthouse dating from 1869 and the remains of an Army base, Fort Terry.

As part of the process, the public will be invited this spring to meetings in Old Saybrook and Southold to give input about issues that should be considered in the environmental study and the possible sale. Notices will be issued two weeks before the meetings.

Meetings will also be scheduled in the two towns this summer for the public to review and comment on a draft version of the environmental study before it is made final. The study would describe all the contamination issues so any potential buyers "have full information about what is there," Santangelo said.

Plum Island is part of the moraine left by the receding Wisconsinan ice sheet 20,000 years or so ago (I'm writing from my memory of chapter 2 of my book), the other parts around here being the north shore of Long Island and Orient Point, Great Gull and Little Gull Islands, Fishers Island, and the coast of Rhode Island.

I've never been on Plum Island but I spent a weekend on Great Gull, in May of 1987, and it is a wild, fully-exposed-to-the-elements environment. Depending on what the contamination studies find, it would be great if The Nature Conservancy or the Trust for Public Land could snap it up, when it finally comes onto the market.


Anonymous Rick said...

Yeah, but what about when Hannibal Lecter goes on vacation?

3:33 PM  

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