With final build-out of Long Island expected before 2025, there remains a call to action to preserve whatever open space and farmland Long Island wants to save. The Society and other environmental groups have identified some 25,000 acres of open space and 10,000 acres of farmland in need of protection.

Land not preserved soon will be lost forever to development. In addition to the adverse environmental and quality-of-life implications, failure to preserve this important land would undercut Long Island's number one industry, tourism, worth $4.3 billion.  It would destroy the viability of New York State's top agriculture-producing county and have devastating impacts on taxes needed for government services if this land were developed.

The Society is working with government at all levels to continue Long Island's historic commitment to land preservation and will support private efforts at preservation.

Open Space in the Pine Barrens that has been successfully preserved.


Nearly three years after environmentalists began creating a blueprint to protect the Carmans River in the Pine Barrens of Brookhaven, the Town Board there has approved a plan for the watershed.  On October 15, 2013 the "Carmans River Conservation & Management Plan" was adopted by the Brookhaven Town Board.  The strategy involved adding 3,845 acres to the protected Pine Barrens - 1,660 to the Core Preservation Area where development is prohibited and 2,185 acres to the Compatible Growth Area where development can occur under prescribed circumstances.  The annexation of new land was approved by the New York State Legislature and signed into law, August, 2013 by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The plan, advanced by Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine, is a substitute for a plan proposed by former Supervisor Mark Lesko.  The plan calls for acquisition of land near the banks of the ten mile-long river, which run from Middle Island to the Great South Bay at Shirley.  A key component of the plan is the creation of a "Performance Committee," to assure that protection target are met and water quality improvement is obtained.

The Pine Barrens Society refused to accept defeat of the earlier plan and continues to work closely with the new administration to reduce contamination by nitrogen-loaded groundwater, produces mostly by cesspools, septic systems and by pesticides and fertilizers used for agriculture, lawn and plant maintenance.  Limiting development in the watershed will reduce this contamination to maintain the health of the river's waters.

The Carmans River flows through the Pine Barrens in Brookhaven Town, through Southaven County Park and the Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge to Bellport Bay. (photo credit: Marty Van Lith)