Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, Senior Councilman Anthony J. Santino, Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney and Councilman Bruce Blakeman announced that the town is seeking groups, clubs and organizations to volunteer planting beach grass at Point Lookout Town Park on May 9th and May 16th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The planting of beach grass preserves the important sand dunes that protect our shoreline communities and beaches. The dunes are the last line of defense between the surging waters of the Atlantic and area homes and businesses located on the barrier island.
“Preserving our dunes is paramount for the protection of the communities on our barrier island,” Murray said. “Since Superstorm Sandy, we’ve worked hard to rebuild our dunes and it’s crucial to plant beach grass to preserve and prepare them for future storms.”
Since Sandy hit our area, dedicated volunteers have planted American beach grass plants (also known as ammophila breviligulata) at the dunes throughout the barrier island communities including Point Lookout, Lido Beach and East Atlantic Beach.
“The dunes provide a protective barrier for our beautiful beachside communities, and we seek volunteers to help us preserve them for the future,” King Sweeney said. “Planting beach grass helps us in our efforts to safeguard our coastline,” Blakeman added.
“Thank you to all of the volunteers who have helped us plant beach grass in the past,” Santino said. “But our job is not done yet, we still need volunteers to protect our barrier island communities.”
Beyond combating erosion, the shoreline vegetation can actually help dunes grow in size by trapping sand in its elongated flowering spikes. As sand builds up around the new grass, stems grow higher, and newly sand-covered stems become part of the root structure.
Hempstead Town has built up dunes in Lido Beach, Point Lookout and East Atlantic Beach over several decades, and constant upkeep and repairs have been executed by the town’s Conservation and Waterways Department. Unfortunately, Sandy’s floodwaters severely damaged the dune network. At the same time, town dune structures spared local residents from even more severe devastation than would have occurred in the absence of the protective barriers.
“I want to thank volunteer groups who want to help with the important work of planting beach grass on the shoreline of America’s largest township,” Murray said. “With their help, our communities will be safer and better protected from storms that could impact us in the future.”
Participants are asked to bring gloves and a shovel. Groups wishing to volunteer should contact the town’s Department of Conservation and Waterways at (516) 431-9200.