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For Release: Tuesday, April 20, 2021

DEC Announces Acquisition of Five-Acre Parcel in Pine Barrens Core

Sensitive Parcel in Heart of Carmans River Watershed Area will Help Safeguard Drinking Water

New York State has acquired 5.34 acres of sensitive land in the heart of the Carmans River Watershed, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. The parcel, located in Middle Island, town of Brookhaven, connects DEC's 99-acre East Bartlett Pine Barrens State Forest with Suffolk County's Cathedral Pines County Park. The new acquisition will consolidate public ownership and natural resource management of the parcel and help protect Long Island's sole source aquifer. The announcement was made during DEC's annual week-long celebration of Earth Day.

"Earth Day is a perfect opportunity to recognize that successful efforts to protect our environment involve partnerships between state and local governments and organizations committed to safeguarding natural resources," said Commissioner Seggos. "The preservation of this parcel adds to protected areas of the Pine Barrens Core that will help to safeguard the Carmans River, and I applaud our team of real estate experts who made this acquisition a reality."

The parcel, known as the Kogel property, has been owned by Kogel Brothers, LLC., since 1981. Although located in the Core Preservation Area of the Central Pine Barrens, the parcel had the potential to be developed because its ownership dated back to before the Pine Barrens Protection Act was signed into law in 1993.

The property was a priority acquisition under both the New York State Open Space Conservation Plan and the Carmans River Conservation and Management Plan. The property was purchased for $209,500 using money from the State's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). The acquisition connects to East Bartlett Pine Barrens State Forest, a 99.7-acre undeveloped property consisting of pine barrens habitat and is located north of the Long Island Expressway and south of Middle Country Road/Route 25. East Bartlett Pine Barrens State Forest is open to hunting, trapping, biking, and wildlife viewing. A variety of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians use the unique habitats of the pine barrens. Animals on these now-connected properties include white-tailed deer, red fox, opossum, Eastern cottontail, red-tailed hawk, osprey, pine warbler, turkey, bald eagle, Eastern box turtle, and Eastern hognose snake. The property will be added to the East Bartlett State Forest.

"This acquisition is a stand-out in Pine Barrens preservation," said Dick Amper, Executive Director of the Pine Barrens Society. "A great accomplishment."

The Carmans River is 10 miles long and is located in Long Island's Central Pine Barrens Region. Sections of the river are designated by New York State as a Wild, Scenic, and Recreational River and as New York State Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat. The Carmans and Peconic rivers are Long Island's only rivers in the Pine Barrens Region. The headwaters of the Carmans River are in Middle Island and it descends to Shirley. The area covered by the Carmans River Conservation and Management Plan is defined by the 100-year groundwater contributing area, meaning that water within this boundary takes 100 years or less to reach the river. The Kogel property (East Bartlett State Forest) is located within the five-year contributing area.

In May 2020, DEC acquired 8.43 acres for addition to Rocky Point Pine Barrens State Forest, and is working to acquire a 2.5-acre riverfront parcel for addition to Carmans River Pine Barrens State Forest. In addition, DEC awarded State Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grants to the Peconic Land Trust to fund several acquisitions in the Central Pine Barrens over the next few years.

New York State's EPF was created in 1993. The EPF has grown from its original appropriation of $31 million in fiscal year 1994-1995. The Fiscal Year 2022 Enacted Budget continues EPF funding at $300 million, the highest level of funding in the program's history. Appropriations include $40 million for solid waste programs, $90 million for parks and recreation, $151 million for open space programs and $19 million for the climate change mitigation and adaptation program. This investment will provide funding for critical environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, enhanced recreational access, water quality improvement, and an aggressive environmental justice agenda.

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