Suffolk County and Southold Town officials are working together to improve water quality on a small scale.
On Monday, they celebrated the completion of a rain garden instillation on Bay Avenue in Mattituck designed to improve the ecology of James Creek.
The Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District teamed up with the town and Mattituck Park District to mitigate stormwater runoff entering the creek, which the state Department of Environmental Conservation had identified as an impaired water body.
The result is a 14,000-square-foot rain garden planted with beach plums on park district land. The garden catches and filters contaminants from nearby Bay Avenue that would otherwise run directly into the creek after rainfall, said Michael Collins, a civil engineer for Southold Town.
“I love doing these types of projects because we have a tremendous amount of in-house expertise,” Mr. Collins said. He added that all the work was completed by the town public works and highway departments. “We had this concept plan kicking around for a while; the only thing we were lacking was the money.”
Once the idea was developed, Suffolk’s Soil and Water Conservation District hopped on board. They helped secure a state Environmental Protection Fund grant for $6,000 for the project in 2013, said Sharon Frost, a spokeswoman for the conservation district.
County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) said he was excited about the rain garden and added that the project is a good example of the town paying attention to problems, utilizing different sources for funding and then partnering with others to make something happen.
“As far as water quality goes, this is basic surface water impairment,” Mr. Krupski said. “A lot of the roads are designed to drain into the creeks, so it just takes time and money to do these corrections.”
He said the rain garden’s design “sits in nicely with the character of the community.”