The Peconic Estuary Program will host a salt marsh workshop Saturday for volunteers who will help prepare plants for use in one of Long Island’s first living shoreline projects.
Participants can expect to split and repot Spartina plants to ready them for planting at Department of Environmental Conservation habitat restoration sites at Widow’s Hole Preserve in Greenport, said Peconic Estuary Program state coordinator Elizabeth Hornstein.
The plants will not only provide habitat for wildlife, but help make shorelines stronger against storms, according to the DEC. Spartina alterniflora, also known as smooth cordgrass, is a species that’s dominant in salt marshes, Ms. Hornstein said.
The workshop will run from 10 a.m. to noon at the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Marine Environment Learning Center at 3690 Cedar Beach Road in Southold.
The site, now owned by the Peconic Land Trust, was formerly a petroleum product storage facility, which caused the degradation of its shoreline. The land trust, estuary program and CCE are working to restore the habitat and slow the erosion that’s occurred there in recent years.
The project includes restoration of the lost salt marsh, removal of invasive plants and restoration of the upland edge of the shore, Ms. Hornstein said. It’s all meant to increase the site’s habitat value of site and enhance resilience in the face of natural disturbances like storms.
Salt marshes are considered some of the most productive habitats on the plants, Ms. Hornstein said. They’re ideal places for juvenile fish and shellfish to grow and reproduce. About three-fourths of the fish and shellfish consumed rely on the marsh environment at some point in their life, according to DEC. It’s also an important area for waterfowl, shorebirds and the diamondback terrapin, an exclusively estuarine reptile, Ms. Hornstein said.
Volunteers are asked to register for the workshop by emailing [email protected].