DESPITE BRUTAL WINTER WEATHER, SCUDDERS POND RESTORATION PROJECT ON TRACK FOR SPRING COMPLETION
February 9, 2014 (updated Feb. 12) -- Despite multiple polar vortices and at least four significant snowfalls this winter, restoration work on Scudders Pond in Sea Cliff has moved steadily along, with the expectation that it will be completed by the April 30 deadline.
Progress on the 2.6 million dollar project, which began this past November, is clearly evident, as the full breadth of the pond, much of which had been concealed by eight-foot tall reeds, is now very much visible as one drives along Prospect Avenue.
When the work is completed, 5800 cubic yards of sediment will have been dredged from the pond's floor, bringing it closer to original size and depth. In addition, the phragmites, an invasive species of plant that covered much of the shoreline will have been removed, new vegetation planted along the slopes for stabilization, the two weirs (low dams) that control the pond's water level replaced, and a new storm water interceptor installed on Littleworth Lane to reduce the amount of sediment entering the pond from runoff.
The frigid weather has created some challenges for Galvin Brothers, Inc. of Great Neck, the company that is doing the work. An impeller shaft on the dredging rig broke, setting the project back about one week. In addition, dredging pumps lose their effectiveness as their lines freeze when temperatures fall below 20 degrees. Workers have overcome the obstacle by mechanically removing the sediment, which is then placed in 200 foot long tubes that expand to about 8 feet in diameter. After water leaks out of the dredged muck and re-enters the pond, the dried material is tested for contaminants and then carted off for disposal.
Before work began in the late fall, Sea Cliff Village secured $2.3 million dollars in federal and state grants, and a $200,000 contribution from the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee. The Village will contribute up to $140,000 for the project.
In addition, easement agreements had to be negotiated with nine neighboring homeowners and the North Shore Country Club. In order to avoid interference with the golf season, work could not begin until after November 1st, and must be completed by April 30th. If it appears on April 15th that the project will not be finished by the deadline, the site will be secured, cleaned up and put on hold until the following November.
At this past Monday's Village Board Conference, Village Administrator John Mirando said that even with the extreme cold and snow, the project will very likely be completed this spring.
Scudders pond is a New York State regulated tidal and freshwater wetland that acts as a filter for run-off into Hempstead Harbor, and so once completed, the $2.6 million dollar project should help to improve the harbor's water quality. The pond was last dredged in 1979.
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