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Dual Use of Storm-Water Basins

Stormwater storage and recharge basins were initially designed by Nassau County in the 1930's as an inexpensive means of reducing flooding problems in roadways and developed areas.  They also serve an important function of channeling precipitation back into the groundwater aquifer system. Over the years, many of these basins have ponded over and become mini-ecosystems providing greenspace in increasingly congested suburban areas. These areas are critically needed open space refuges for the songbirds that migrate annually along the Atlantic Flyway between Canada and South America.

The Garden City Bird Sanctuary is the pilot for an innovative program to foster dual use of many of Nassau County’s 700 stormwater storage basins. As with the NYSDOT basin atHofstra University, many of these sumps can serve as bird sanctuaries, nature preserves, passive parks, and recreational fields for local communities while still functioning to prevent flooding of roads.

A portion of Stormwater Basin #232 has been used as a soccer field by the Village of Garden City since 1971. In 1995, the effort began to convert the remaining nine acre area into a community based, volunteer sponsored bird sanctuary for environmental education and community services. Since this beginning, the East Meadow has had a small basin converted into a passive park, Kellenberg Schools created recreational fields, Garden City High School has completed the conversion of a 6 acre basin into a practice field, and the Village of Floral Park has recently dedicated a 9 acre community nature preserve- the Floral Park Centennial Gardens and Bird Sanctuary.

 The goal of the Garden City Bird Sanctuary is to establish a fully functioning nature refuge for song birds through the use of native plants and trees which provide food and cover. We are grateful for the support of the Village of Garden City, Western Property Owners Association, the Nassau County Department of Public Works, NY State Senator Kemp Hannon, NY State Assembly representatives Maureen O’Connell and Tom McKevitt, Nassau County Legislator Vincent Muscarella, Honorable Dr. Barbara Miller, Long Island Volunteer Center, Clark Botanical Gardens, Atlantic Nursery, Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, Bissett Nursery, Cipriano Nursery,  Bartlett Trees, Fury Nursery, Harder Tree Service,  Volunteers For Wildlife, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Long Island Nursery and Landscape Association, Timberland,  Zonta Organization and Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary as well as The Garden City News, Garden City Life, Andrew L. Hult - Certified Public Accountant, and KeySpan.

The Garden City Bird Sanctuary at Nassau County Stormwater Storage Basin #232 is located on Tanners Pond Road in the northwestern part of Garden City with an additional entrance from Nassau Haven Playground on Colonial Avenue. As a protected nature preserve, it is only open during limited hours. For information write P.O. Box 7507, Garden City, NY 11530-7507.