Beekman Beach will benefit from the Green Innovation Grant Program. (Photo by Jennifer Corr)

Town Of Oyster Bay Receives Green Innovation Grant

By Sydney Kuhnel
[email protected]

The Town of Oyster Bay was recently awarded a $435,000 grant through the Green Innovation Grant Program. The grant is part of a larger program through New York State which aims to promote the implementation of green infrastructure projects across the state. The larger goal of the program is to limit the effects of climate change. Oyster Bay is one of 10 applicants to be given awards through the program, and one of two in the Long Island region along with Riverhead. The grant awardees were announced in mid-February by Governor Kathy Hochul. The grants awarded by the state are done so by application only and are highly competitive.
New York State has distributed over $15 million through the Green Innovation Grant Program. To qualify for the grant a region must demonstrate plans for a project which will “utilize green stormwater infrastructure design and green technologies,” and “mitigate the effects of climate change” according to the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation. Specifics of what practices qualify for the grant include green stormwater infrastructure, energy efficiency, water efficiency and environmental innovation.
The projects in Oyster Bay include “the installation of nine floating wetlands, 1200 linear feet of wetland restoration, and oyster reefs to mitigate stormwater runoff from a multi-jurisdictional watershed covering approximately 1850 acres” as well as the addition of porous pavers to the beach parking lot. These improvements fall under the New York State defined categories of permeable pavement and establishment or restoration of wetlands which are approved projects for the grant. These improvements are vital for Oyster Bay, as they contribute to the efficient flow of water resulting in less pollution, less water runoff, and less flooding.
The funds from the grant will be distributed following a contract agreement between the town and New York State. The project provides funding for the implementation of the wetlands and oyster reefs, and the funding to plan permeable pavement for the parking lot at Beekman Beach. The floating wetlands and oyster reefs are an innovative measure by the town and according to deputy commissioner Colin Bell “the first of its kind here in Nassau County.” The town is not only relying on new innovative techniques to introduce green infrastructure in Oyster Bay. The introduction of porous pavers is an example of the town and current administration “finding ways to incorporate environmental initiatives into standard public works projects.”
The introduction of floating wetlands to the area will contribute to treating stormwater runoff. These wetlands have the potential to remove pollutants in sediment from water by collecting what could be harmful to the water and turning it into another product. Additionally, these wetlands help prevent flooding by retaining some water that would otherwise flood, as well as slowing the rate at which flood waters flow. Porous pavers, or permeable pavement, can limit storm water runoff by allowing water to flow through the pavers into a reservoir where the water can be collected and infiltrate the soil below.
The Green Innovation Grant will allow Oyster Bay to make many green infrastructure improvements to the area. The improvements will be seen at Beekman Beach and the Mill River Outfall. Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said of the project “This grant represents a significant investment in the future of Oyster Bay Harbor.” Saladino hopes the project will inspire the rest of the region to follow suit in implementing greener practices. The belief is that Oyster Bay is “set[ting] a precedent for sustainable water management practices that can be replicated across the region.”

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