Mud Creek restoration project
A proposed view of the restored ecosystem conditions at Mud Creek.

Courtesy photo

Mud Creek restoration project

Story By: NICOLE FUENTES
12/29/2016


Part of the six New York State Regional Economic Development Council Awards secured by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone last week is the historic Mud Creek County Park restoration.

A total of $2.2 million out of $3 million secured will be awarded to the restoration of the creek in East Patchogue that was once occupied by several duck farms. The creek’s lands and waters were used by Gallo Duck Farm from 1922 to the mid-1980s, according to the county, which left the wetlands and uplands impacted by a buildup of contaminates. Prior to that, the area contained streams, swamps and woods, with the east branch of Mud Creek flowing through the duck farm property.

Suffolk County Legis. Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue) said the county acquired that property over 20 years ago and is now in the process of restoring the natural ecosystem. Currently, the creek runs behind Lowes up CR101.

“This project will restore the stream’s normal pattern by eradicating a host of invasive plant life and demolishing the old farm structures that still exist,” he said.

An interesting aspect of the project, he added, is that despite manmade alteration, a native brook trout species has survived and is the only known heritage population on Long Island. The project will restore its natural habitat by rerouting the streams and draining out old, unnatural duck ponds.

Once completed, the public will have access to the park as a preserve. Calarco said he hopes to partner with local schools for science and ecology projects. He also assured that the new park will be maintained as part of the county’s regular park system.

“This area is a wonderful spot for a park project on the edge of East Patchogue and North Bellport,” he said.

Though there is no official start date, Calarco said the county hopes to break ground as soon as possible. Close to $4 million has been allocated for this project, he explained; the additional state funding will help offset some of the county investment. 

The Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning, in conjunction with the Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation, initiated a feasibility study in 2011 to evaluate environmental restoration opportunities at Mud Creek County Park. Comprehensive studies of the degraded ecological and physical conditions followed by feasibility assessment and public outreach have culminated in a “shovel-ready” project with construction drawings, specifications and regulatory permits for comprehensive restoration of degraded aquatic and terrestrial habitats at Mud Creek County Park. The county has also allocated $1.7 million toward the project.

“These funds are critical to continue to promote economic development in our region and improve the overall quality of life for our residents. We are especially grateful to have the funds needed to launch one of our key projects that involves the restoration and preservation of the historic Mud Creek County Park in East Patchogue,” stated Bellone.  “I commend Gov. Cuomo for his leadership and the members of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council for their steadfast commitment to supporting projects that grow and strengthen our local economy, as well as projects that seek to improve the water quality in our region.”

Thus far, permits have been secured and the project will continue once contracts are executed and the RFP process is finalized.