Sustainable Long Island
June 2013
Sustainable Long Island Newsletter
The one-stop-shop...
For all Sustainable Long Island news! 
In This Issue
Long Beach Cleanup
Beaches Back in Business
High School Fellowship
Smart Growth Report
Eliminate or Reduce Fertilizer Use
Native Long Island Plants for Sale
Clean Energy Business Incubator Program
Local Businesses Help Communities Thrive
Sustainability Simplified
Long Beach Listens

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Board of Directors
Ruth Negrn-Gaines: President

Kevin McDonald: Vice President

The Nature Conservancy   

Charlotte Biblow, Esq: Secretary

Farrell Fritz, P.C.

Lauren Furst: Treasurer   


Russ Albanese

Albanese Organization Inc.

Lennard Axinn

Island Estates   


Robert Bernard

Capital One Bank 

Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III
SUNY College at Old Westbury    


Dr. Miriam K. Deitsch

Farmingdale State College,
State University of New York


Pat Edwards

Citi Community Development     
Amy Hagedorn
Hagedorn Foundation


Jeff Kraut

North Shore - LIJ Health System


Mitchell H. Pally

Long Island Builders Institute


Dr. Robert Scott

Adelphi University 


Ron Shiffman

Pratt Institute



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Volunteers Help Cleanup Long Beach  
Recovery efforts continue throughout the City

Earlier this month, Sustainable Long Island teamed up with the Long Beach Comeback Crew for "Save The Bay" day, where volunteers helped get the City of Long Beach back on its feet - one small step at a time - in the months following Hurricane Sandy.

Volunteers spent the day cleaning up debris along the bay area in an effort to rebuild the "City by the Sea." Previous projects from the Long Beach Comeback Crew have included a weekend-long event during Earth Day that focused on community beautification projects, such as landscape and design efforts, and street cleanup.

Sustainable Long Island has been working closely with the City of Long Beach on a number of recovery efforts, including the redevelopment of their iconic boardwalk. Moving forward, Sustainable Long Island will be working with the City to bolster its small business recovery and prevent closure of local businesses; preserve jobs; and encourage tourism. Stay tuned for more updates on ongoing projects and visit for more information.


Long Island's Beaches Back in Business 
Sandy-damaged beaches return for summer
Photo credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas | Gina Keener, left, of Rockville Centre and Colleen Quirk of Wantagh spruce up their cabana at Nickerson Beach Park in Lido Beach. Flooded during superstorm Sandy, the outside of the cabanas have recently been given a fresh coat of turquoise paint by park workers.
Photo credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas
Flooded during superstorm Sandy, the outside of the cabanas at Nickerson Beach Park in Lido Beach have recently been given a fresh coat of turquoise paint by park workers.

(via Newsday) - Long Island's beach parks, scarred by superstorm Sandy, are back in business for the start of the unofficial summer season, with much of the damage restored, but with services at the national seashore curtailed by federal budget cuts.


Seven months ago, the public beaches experienced unprecedented damage -- stripped of sand, dunes flattened, boardwalks twisted or washed away, buildings and utilities flooded.


Long Island's 1,100 miles of shoreline are essential to its character and economy, drawing tourists and local day-trippers, and generating jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.


So all levels of government threw their employees and dozens of contractors into an accelerated effort to get all of the parks open by Memorial Day, and they succeeded. The last one -- Nassau County's Nickerson Beach Park -- reopened on Friday. Cleanup and restoration work continues there and at dozens of other federal, state, county and town parks.


"Destruction caused by superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement when Robert Moses reopened. "However, the perseverance and hard work of New Yorkers has allowed us to get all of our parks back open in time for the Memorial Day weekend -- the unofficial kickoff to summer."


"The beaches are ready, the boardwalk [at Jones Beach State Park] is back, and the parks are open," Cuomo said. "New York is ready for a great start-up to the summer."

Chris Soller, superintendent at Fire Island National Seashore, said, "We've done initial repairs to get everything open, but we'll be doing some major work over the course of the summer because it's been taking a while to get contractors in place."


The initial repairs included installing new stairs at Watch Hill to reconnect the boardwalk to the beach.


Soller said he had to trim $240,000 from his budget because of the congressional budget deadlock that forced across-the-board cuts in federal spending. So lifeguards were on duty at Watch Hill and Sailors Haven this weekend, but won't be back until the end of June. Usually they would be working weekends after Memorial Day until late June, and then daily after that, which is still the plan.


Visitor centers at Watch Hill and Sailors Haven won't be open Mondays and Tuesdays through the summer.


Visitors to Fire Island National Seashore will see new signs alerting them that they can no longer be nude on any of the beaches, mainly because of complaints.


The National Park Service facility is handling backcountry camping reservations differently. They can now be made online at after previously being taken on a first-come, first-served basis at the park. All backcountry check-in and access is now at Watch Hill only -- no longer Smith Point -- because of the breach in the barrier island from Sandy.


At the state level, Robert Moses State Park on Fire Island reopened Thursday -- the last of the Long Island state parks damaged by Sandy to welcome back visitors. The storm-undermined traffic circle has been rebuilt and more than 500,000 cubic yards of sand were used to replenish the eroded beaches at Fields 4 and 5.


The Central Mall at Jones Beach, where Sandy twisted the boardwalk into roller-coaster contortions, also reopened for the holiday weekend.


A new 0.7-mile access path that provides a safer direct link between the Wantagh Parkway bike-pedestrian path and Jones Beach is open for the holiday weekend. It runs through the Jones Beach Theater parking area to the pedestrian underpass leading to the East Bathhouse.


State park patrons will see tougher smoking restrictions. Now all sandy beach areas, boardwalks, pools, developed playing fields, playgrounds, pavilions and shelters are to be smoke-free.


County Executive Steven Bellone said Friday that Suffolk County parks, beaches are open. "Park staff and contractors have been working hard to clean and repair all park facilities," he said.


At Smith Point County Park, the concrete walkway and stairs to the beach damaged by Sandy were restored.


On Friday, Nassau County's only shoreline park -- Nickerson Park in Lido Beach -- opened for the first time since Sandy eroded its beach and dunes and flooded the facility. County Executive Edward Mangano said the pool, hot water heaters, sidewalks and cabanas have been repaired or upgraded, and a new concession building has been constructed.




Pool, walkways, utilities and cabanas repaired.



About 1.5 miles of boardwalk have been repaired with more resilient materials such as Brazilian hardwood but some temporary railings remain. The sewage treatment plant is back online. Electrical panels raised 10 to 12 feet to reduce chance of future flooding damage. Repairs to Field 10 fishing piers and boat basin are continuing.



Traffic circle repaired and park reopened last Thursday. More than 500,000 cubic yards of dredged sand have been pumped onto the eroded beaches at Fields 4 and 5 with replenishment to continue until the end of June. The boardwalk has been repaired, except for the areas the state decided were too vulnerable.



Repair of Camellia Greenhouse should be completed by July.



Repairs to Plank Road are ongoing.



Fully open except for access to eastern part of the park where dike was breached.



Open with repair work continuing.



Replacement of four damaged wooden trail bridges and tree removal will continue into the summer.



Repairs to roof of Main House and tree cleanup are continuing.



Repairs to Field 7 won't be completed until late June.



Fire Island Lighthouse is open, but the boardwalk leading from Robert Moses State Park has not been replaced yet, so the only access is along ocean beach. At Watch Hill, destroyed boardwalk stairs leading to the beach have been repaired.

Marinas are open but electric service at Watch Hill is under repair and debris is being removed from the east side at Sailors Haven.



The concrete walkway and stairs to the beach repaired. But possible limited access for day trips and no outer beach camping.



The breach west of campground has been repaired but the access road is not passable for vehicles.



The concrete patio and parking lot damaged by the storm were repaired by this weekend.



Park reopened April 27 after access road rebuilt but minor repairs will continue through summer.



Repair of the roof and other damage will continue through summer.



Cleanup of damaged trees will continue past Memorial Day.

Fifth Annual High School Fellowship  
Sustainable Long Island currently accepting applications
Members of the 4th Year HS Fellowship presenting at a
youth-visioning in Downtown Bethpage earlier this year
Sustainable Long Island is excited to announce the start of our Fifth Annual High School Fellowship program to begin this July!


The High School Fellowship program offers students an opportunity to learn about community and regional planning, civic engagement, and sustainable development. The Fellowship is open to junior and senior high school students who are interested in planning, sustainability, and public participation, and are also committed to making an impact within their communities. In previous years, Fellows have learned about brownfields, food equity, and environmental justice as well as how to engage their peers in local revitalization projects.


This is an exciting opportunity for young adults to get involved in projects taking place across Long Island and learn about pressing issues the region faces while thinking through innovative steps to address challenges to create positive economic, environmental, and social change.


For more information or to apply, please email Janice Moynihan, Community Planner and Educational Program Coordinator at today!

Report: Smart Growth Development a Boon to Municipal Budgets, Local Taxpayers  
By Jason Jordan, APA Director of Policy + Government Affairs

A new report recently released found significant fiscal benefits for local governments and taxpayers from smart growth development.


The report published by Smart Growth America, Building Better Budgets: A National Examination of the Fiscal Benefits of Smart Growth Development, evaluated 17 studies from across the country comparing different development scenarios and projects. The results offer potentially significant insights for municipalities looking to improve fiscal performance and save taxpayer dollars.


Among the key findings based on the comparative analysis of local and state studies:

  • Smart growth projects (defined as "more efficient use of land; a mixture of homes, businesses and services located closer together; and better connections between streets and neighborhoods) typically cost one-third less in initial infrastructure costs than conventional suburban development.
  • Smart growth projects save an average of 10 percent on ongoing delivery of key municipal services.
  • Smart growth projects generate 10 times more tax revenue per acre.

While the report acknowledges the need for further study, these results suggest that more compact, mixed-use, walkable and efficiently located development could provide important economic benefits for communities and residents. These comparative studies suggest that a smart growth approach to development can reduce costs while boosting local tax revenue.


The report urges local officials to rigorously evaluate development options and suggests that this kind of planning and development can be a critical strategy for not only the fiscal health of local governments but also long-term economic performance and prosperity for taxpayers. The "conventional suburban" model examined in the report in many cases proved to be more expensive to develop and maintain, and the report suggests could ultimately lead to higher costs for taxpayers.

Mitchell Silver, AICP, APA's past president and Raleigh, North Carolina's chief planning and development officer, was a contributor to the study.


"Planners across the country are beginning to understand the economic value of planning and zoning," Silver notes. "Downtown development and compact growth centers and corridors generate more tax value and offer a better return on investment than suburban low density areas. In other words, when you say 'no' to compact development in the right places, you are saying 'yes' to higher property taxes."


APA polling from last year found that a majority of Americans want to see planning that leads to stronger job creation and economic returns. The report argues that planning for smart growth development is an important tool for improving local economies by improving the bottom line of local government and the financial return for taxpayers.


Eliminate or Reduce Fertilizer and Pesticide Use in Your Yard This Summer 
Tips from the Peconic Estuary Program


  • Preserve all existing native landscapes and natural ground covers.
  • Choose native plants for your landscaping.
  • Choose disease-resistant and drought-tolerant plants.
  • Minimize lawn areas, replacing turf with native or non-invasive, low-input plantings. Use integrated pest management (IPM) techniques, including beneficial insects.
  • Start a compost pile to naturally nourish plants and reduce waste.


  • Be tolerant. A natural lawn includes a variety of pests, predators, weeds, and plant species.
  • Value a less green lawn.
  • Make sure lawns are on a suitable soil.
  • Use appropriate grass varieties (e.g., sun tolerant vs. shade tolerant).
  • Take steps to improve soil structure (annual or periodic soil aeration, additions of organic matter, pH, etc.). Top dressing your lawn with a compost-soil mix will reduce your lawn's water needs and make it more resistant to drought and disease.
  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn as mulch.
  • Cut lawn no shorter than 3" to encourage deep roots. Longer grass also creates shade, making it harder for weeds to get established.
  • Don't overwater lawns (excess irrigation causes soil nutrients to be lost).

If you choose to fertilize...

  • Test your soil annually before any application of fertilizer.
  • Read and understand all product labeling.
  • Apply a maximum of 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1000 square feet per year. Refer to the "Shed Guide to Fertilizer Application" for more detail.
  • Choose fertilizers where the water-soluble nitrogen is no more than 20% of the total nitrogen in the mixture.
  • Choose organic fertilizers, whereby all nitrogen in the mixture is non-synthetic.
  • Keep equipment properly calibrated to avoid over-application.
  • Don't apply fertilizers and pesticides within 100 feet of surface waters and wetlands.
  • Apply product only during growing season (typically mid-March through mid-October).
  • Don't apply fertilizers when the ground is frozen.
  • Don't apply fertilizers when it is raining, or when rain is imminent.
  • Store any excess product safely, and do not apply just to "use it up."
  • Keep application records to avoid unnecessary applications.


Native Long Island Plants for Sale 
Long Island Native Plant Initiative

LINPI (Long Island Native Plant Initiative) is having a plant sale at the Suffolk County Community College Eastern Campus Greenhouse, Riverhead, NY on June 7th & 8th and June 14th & 15th from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. or by appointment.


All plants are propagated from seed harvested locally (called ecotypes) by LINPI, making them the most adapted to Long Island's natural environment - the benefit being these native plants are the most environmentally and ecologically appropriate, requiring little to no amendments or care and add beauty and wildlife habitat to your landscape.  


Further information can also be found on their website at


Clean Energy Business Incubator Program 
At Stony Brook University

The Clean Energy Business Incubator Program (CEBIP) at Stony Brook University provides assistance and resources for developers of renewable and clean energy technologies. By mentoring entrepreneurs, CEBIP helps them establish successful enterprises to bring their technologies to market.  


CEBIP's goal is to incubate "green" technologies by helping to develop and commercialize them, and to create and sustain growth companies.  CEBIP's aim is the creation of high-paying cleantech jobs and industry within New York State that addresses current and future clean energy needs.  CEBIP looks to  achieve this goal by providing a vast array of services, including technological support for clean energy product development, guidance for business plan formation and funding efforts for "green" energy technologies and, if required, locating physical office space and support near other similar cleantech companies.


Enormous investments in basic research at Long Island's research institutes will continue to yield early stage technologies that need feasibility testing, decisions on how and when to enter the commercial development pathway, and securing financing. CEBIP has assembled an unsurpassed team of partners to maximize prospects of start-ups and young ventures augmented by our participation in the Clean Energy Innovation Collaborative with a single point of continuing contact for clients to call on these resources as needed.

CEBIP operates directly under the direction of the Long Island High Technology Incubator (LIHTI). LIHTI is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping new technologically-innovative companies to grow by providing them with a variety of support resources and services.  


Visit their web site at to learn more.

Local Businesses Can Help Communities Thrive and Survive Climate Change   
Written by Stacy Mitchell of Grist Magazine

Cities where small, locally owned businesses account for a relatively large share of the economy have stronger social networks, more engaged citizens, and better success solving problems, according to several recently published studies.


And in the face of climate change, those are just the sort of traits that communities most need if they are to survive massive storms, adapt to changing conditions, find new ways of living more lightly on the planet, and, most important, nurture a vigorous citizenship that can drive major changes in policy.


That there's a connection between the ownership structure of our economy and the vitality of our democracy may sound a bit odd to modern ears. But this was an article of faith among 18th- and 19th-century Americans, who strictly limited the lifespan of corporations and enacted antitrust laws whose express aim was to protect democracy by maintaining an economy of small businesses.


It wasn't until the 20th century that this tenet of American political thought was fully superseded by the consumer-focused, bigger-is-better ideology that now dominates our economic policy-making. Ironically, the shift happened just as social scientists were furnishing the first bona fide empirical evidence linking economic scale to civic engagement.


In 1946, Walter Goldschmidt, a USDA sociologist, produced a groundbreaking study comparing two farming towns in California that were almost identical in every respect but one: Dinuba's economy was composed mainly of family farms, while Arvin's was dominated by large agribusinesses. Goldschmidt found that Dinuba had a richer civic life, with twice the number of community organizations, twice the number of newspapers, and citizens who were much more engaged than those in Arvin. Not surprisingly, Dinuba also had far superior public infrastructure: In both quality and quantity, the town's schools, parks, sidewalks, paved streets, and garbage services far surpassed those of Arvin.


At about the same time, two other sociologists, C. Wright Mills and Melville J. Ulmer, were undertaking a similar study of several pairs of manufacturing cities in the Midwest. Their research, conducted on behalf of a congressional committee, found that communities comprised primarily of small, locally owned businesses took much better care of themselves. They beat cities dominated by large, absentee-owned firms on more than 30 measures of well-being, including such things as literacy, acreage of public parks, extent of poverty, and the share of residents who belonged to civic organizations.


One might expect such findings to have had a powerful influence on government policy. In fact, Congress ignored Mills and Ulmer, while Goldschmidt's study was actively suppressed by his bosses at the USDA, who, under the sway of big agribusiness, treated his research as though it were radioactive. They eventually fired Goldschmidt and abolished his entire department. In the following decades, a wide range of federal policies would work to facilitate and promote the concentration of capital and the rise of big industry.


Today, as we find ourselves struggling with a climate crisis that demands a far more active and creative democracy than we currently have, a new body of research is once again illustrating the civic advantages of decentralizing ownership and transitioning more of our economy to community-scaled enterprises.


"Residents of communities with highly concentrated economies tend to vote less and are less likely to keep up with local affairs, participate in associations, engage in reform efforts or participate in protest activities at the same levels as their counterparts in economically dispersed environments," sociologists Troy Blanchard and Todd L. Matthews concluded in a 2006 study published in the journal Social Forces. In studies of both agricultural (2001) and manufacturing (2006) communities, the late Cornell sociologist Thomas Lyson also found that those places with a diversity of small-scale enterprises had higher levels of civic participation and better social outcomes than those controlled by a few outside corporations.


It's not just that cities with more social capital are better able to foster local enterprises and resist corporate consolidation. The causality actually seems to go the other way: Where economic power is diffused, political power is more widely and democratically exercised. And, likewise, as economic power becomes more concentrated, civic engagement begins to slump. Sociologists Stephan Goetz and Anil Rupasingha, for example, have documented a decline in civic participation, including voter turnout and the number of active nonprofit organizations, after Walmart moves into a community. And, with each Walmart store that opens in a city, social capital further erodes, their 2006 study finds.


Still other research has drawn a link between a small-scale economy and improved community well-being, including lower rates of crime and better public health. A study published in 2011, for example, found: "Counties with a vibrant small-business sector have lower rates of mortality and a lower prevalence of obesity and diabetes." The authors surmise that a high degree of local ownership improves a community's "collective efficacy" - the capacity of its residents to act together for mutual benefit. Previous research has linked collective efficacy to population health, finding that engaged communities tend to create the kinds of infrastructure (think of farmers markets and bike lanes) that foster healthier choices.


What is it about a locally rooted economy that fosters social ties and civic engagement? There's much to be said for the value of doing business with people who know us and whose success is intimately tied to the well-being of the community. Small businesses are not merely smaller versions of large businesses; they are running on a different operating system altogether. Goldman Sachs makes money regardless of whether foreclosures are going up or down. But a local bank only does well when its borrowers do well. Business decisions are thus guided by very different motivations. And, in times of crisis, economic resources that are controlled locally are much more readily marshaled and reconfigured to meet shifting local needs.


Independent businesses also create environments that foster interaction. Research suggests you are roughly seven times as likely to end up in a conversation with another customer at a farmers market or neighborhood bookstore than you are at a big-box store (not to mention the isolating experience of shopping on Amazon). To run one's errands in places that encourage lingering and conversation, where economic exchange is embedded in human relationships, is to experience the place where you live in a meaningful way. No wonder this leads to more engaged and resilient communities.


Of all the environmental benefits that might flow from shifting to a more locally focused economy - from reducing global shipping to creating systems of production that are better matched to the limits and resources of particular ecosystems - perhaps the most significant would be a renewed capacity to act together for the common good and tackle the looming challenges before us.


Sustainability Simplified

Check out these unique mobile apps to help improve sustainability and lower environmental impact


Get There By Bike - This free app provides users bike-friendly directions while taking into account traffic, hills, and off-street paths.


inBloom - This free app locates organic, environmental, and sustainable businesses near you. Includes maps, ratings, and more.

This Is Green - For $0.99 use this app to improve your health, save money, and live a more sustainable lifestyle.


All apps available in your smart phone app store!

Together we can build a more
sustainable Long Island


These challenging economic times have magnified the problems we Long Islanders face each and every day. With our leaders warning us of tougher times to come, thinking regionally and acting locally is urgent. It is in all of our best interests to stay engaged and do what we can together to build a more sustainable Long Island.


Please consider making a tax-deductible gift to Sustainable Long Island that will help support our ongoing and future work within your Long Island communities; while helping advance economic development, environmental health, and social equity!

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The Board and Staff of Sustainable Long Island