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Protect the Edgewood Preserve 4/28/07

[New Info added at the end] 

Friends of the Edgewood Preserve

Friends of the Edgewood-Oak Brush Plains Preserve, Inc. is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to protecting, the natural beauty and improving the conditions of the Edgewood-Oak Brush Plains Nature Preserve.


The future of a Long Island wildlife habitat (Edgewood Nature Preserve) is at risk!
Quality of life for the families of Dix Hills, Deer Park and Brentwood threatened!
Come see for yourself on Saturday, April 28, 12noon to 2pm.
            Meet at Edgewood Preserve parking area on Commack Road, Deer Park

Dear Friend,

The NYS Dept. of Transportation wants to build a truck-to-rail intermodal (TRIM) facility on the site of the former Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center. Much of the planning and discussion about the project (since 2004) has been done under the radar, without the proper public airing and involvement. Those whose quality of life will be most directly affected by this ill-conceived project (residents of Dix Hills, Deer Park and Brentwood) do not know much about it, which is not acceptable to us.

This site was chosen because of its proximity to the Long Island Expressway and the Long Island Railroad. The DOT has made the argument that it is far enough away from residential communities, but that is, in fact, not true. In their own brochure and on their website, they state that it is ¼ mile away from homes…a mere five city blocks! This is not nearly far enough way to protect families from air, noise and light pollution.

The Edgewood-Oak Brush Plains Nature Preserve is adjacent to the site, but the DOT has conveniently left this large, green space unidentified on the map of the proposed facility. We find this a curious omission, especially because the DOT says that this facility is “compatible with adjacent development”. 

We do not see how a large, noisy, polluting truck facility is compatible with a nature preserve (a rare, remnant ecosystem, the second largest remaining parcel of oak brush habitat in New York State and a special groundwater protection area) and residential communities just blocks away.

Although we recognize the need for traffic mitigation on Long Island, we are opposed to any kind of trucking facility being built near a nature preserve and only ¼ mile from residential communities. It is irresponsible and shows a deep disregard for our communities, our wildlife habitats and hence, our future. A similar facility was planned for Maspeth, Queens and the residents there fought hard and won. We are prepared to fight and hope we can count on the help and support of other environmental and civic groups. There is strength in numbers. If you care about Long Island, then you must join us for this tour!

CONTACT: Patricia Burkhart 631-242-7402/patricia@friendsofedgewood.com
or Denis Byrne 631-836-2616.

P.O. Box 162, Deer Park, NY 11729 ⇔ 631-242-7402 ⇔ info@friendsofedgewood.com



The ecological effects of artificial night lighting are profound and increasing. Most species depend on light and dark for some portion of their daily or seasonal life cycle. Increased night lighting associated with human civilization disrupts important behaviors and physiological processes with significant ecological consequences. Ecological light pollution includes chronic or periodically increased illumination, unexpected changes of illumination, and direct glare. Animals can experience increased orientation or disorientation from additional illumination and are attracted to or repulsed by glare, which affects foraging, reproduction, communication, and other critical behaviors. Artificial light disrupts interspecific interactions evolved in natural patterns of light and dark, with serious implications for community ecology.

      • The rare buckeye moth (an endangered species) has been documented at Edgewood.

      (Billions of moths and other nocturnal insects are killed each night at lights—this facility will have

      many, many bright lights on throughout the night!)

The issue of light pollution is not even considered or included when doing environmental impact studies because it is not mandated. Until it is, we will not truly know what affect future development on Long Island will have on the environment, our health and our communities.


The Edgewood-Oak Brush Plains Nature Preserve is the second largest remaining parcel of oak brush habitat in New York State and a rare, remnant ecosystem that supports a wide array of animals, birds and plants, some on the state’s own endangered, threatened and special concern lists. Biodiversity is the number one crisis facing Long Island and the world. The planet loses one plant or animal species every twenty minutes due to fragmentation and the planting of non-native/exotic species.

      • Owls and owl nests have been spotted in an area of tall, old pines, which would be

      cut down if the facility is built.

      • Special-concern species have also been documented at Edgewood

      (just a few are the Whip-poor-will, Box turtle, Cooper’s hawk)


How will the preserve (and surrounding areas) be protected in the case of a fire or explosion at this facility? Trucks will be serviced here (the maintenance shed is currently proposed to be just over the fence to the preserve) and more importantly will get re-fueled here. A facility with an enormous volume of trucks having diesel fuel pumped into them is clearly not compatible to a nature preserve, where fire is already a constant threat, when the forest floor is dry. And how do you then protect nearby homes and businesses?


Suffolk County already has the worst air quality and highest rate of pollution-related diseases and deaths than any region in NYS. We do not see how this facility will help alleviate traffic or cut fuel consumption. Also, we only foresee an increased wear and tear on our roadways as well as increased noise and air pollution in this area and we are concerned about the lack of enforcement regarding truck idling. Who will monitor the monitors?

      • Most container intermodal facilities get bad marks for efficiency because they often use one-way     haulers. Rarely do those who haul the containers attempt to get freight both ways, so there is actually 

twice as many trucks as really needed

      • Trucks from all over Long Island and beyond will end up here. Air pollution, due to idling/diesel fumes   will not just stop at buffer zones. Not only will this have a devastating effect on the preserve but the    nearby communities of Dix Hills, Deer Park, Brentwood (and beyond) will be affected.


Edgewood is a Special Groundwater Protection Area (SGPA). We are concerned about the contamination from leaks of gas, oils, and solvents to the ground (water) and the protection of critical drinking watershed lands that may be at risk.


• Stop this facility from being built at this site and work with the nys

dot, lawmakers and other stakeholders to find a site that is more

suitable to such a project.

• Make sure that a project of this kind be built only in truly industrial

areas, far from nature preserves and residential communities, so that our

quality of life will be protected.

• Make sure maps and rendering are labeled correctly and clearly point

out where parks, preserves and residential communities are located.

• Keep communities informed! from the start of any such project, the

communities directly affected should be asked for input and involvement 

in a meaningful way. before land is purchased for such purposes, the

state should be sure it is truly compatible with adjacent development.

• Consider building several smaller facilities across long island, so that

not one area or county is carrying the burden of such a facility. and

again, make sure they are built in industrial areas only.

• Light pollution and its devastating effects on wildlife habitats (and

hence, our future) must be considered a mandatory requirement when

doing any kind of environmental impact study. to leave this issue out of

any discussion or investigation is doing all of us a disservice.

• The edgewood nature preserve is not just a strip of trees. it must not be

considered a buffer! it is a large and rare wildlife habitat that supports

many species of animals, birds and plants in an area with few parks and

little open space. it should not be compromised in such a way.

We are asking for your help in putting pressure on the powers that be to stop this project from going forward, not because it is or is not in your backyard or within your jurisdiction, but because you care about Long Island – all of it – and because it is the right thing to do. Someone else will not take care of it. We are and must be that someone else. Words and good intentions won’t save our planet…only our sincere and determined actions will. Our parks and preserves are responsible for the quality in our lives. We need trees. We must protect the Edgewood Preserve – all of us – together. By protecting Edgewood, we protect our communities and our future. We ask for your help.

Who leaves the pine-tree, leaves his friend,

Unnerves his strength, invites his end.

                        ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Woodnotes”

Development a Concern for Birds by Mary Beth and Paul Tomko

during the fall migration, the Edgewood Preserve and surrounding areas are an important rest stop for various bird species. The preserve provides crucial food sources necessary for resident birds as well as those that continue their journey south. It is also likely that the preserve offers nourishment and shelter to birds who depend on specific plants that can be found at the Edgewood Preserve and adjacent areas, (the Pilgrim State land for example) and in scarce supply elsewhere. The potential development of this area raises concern in terms of its impact on birds and other wildlife.

By late November, the flurry of migration ends and birding at the preserve is much quieter. As the leaves fall, the feasting by birds on plant fruits and seeds winds downs. However, with patience and diligence, bird activity as well as a few surprises can be found at Edgewood.

In late July/early August, we usually see breeding goldfinch in the fields near the entrance to the preserve. But during late autumn, the goldfinch flock toward the woodland edges and nearby fields to dine on seeds. Along with the goldfinch, the cedar waxwing, house finch, Carolina wren, song sparrow, field sparrows and white-throated sparrows can also be found foraging for food. This is the exact area where the proposed T.R.I.M. (Truck to Rail Inter-Modal) facility and truck rest stop may be built.

According to the National Audubon Society, the field sparrow (a soft brown-colored sparrow with a Rufus cap, eye ring and pink bill) has shown an approximately 68% decline in population from 1966 to 2003. The bobwhite has shown a similar decline. Although the white-throated sparrow is considered to be fairly abundant right now, this bird’s overall population is reportedly on the decline, likely due to increased fragmentation of land

    ”Potential development

                  of land adjacent to the preserve

     raises concern.”

One of our surprise discoveries at Edgewood this past fall was the sighting of a yellow-breasted chat. The yellow-breasted chat is listed as a bird of “Special Concern” under the Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern Fish & Wildlife Species of New York State as noted by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. This means that a risk of endangerment to this bird has been documented in New York State. We should note that the whip-poor-will, Cooper’s hawk and Eastern box turtle have been sighted in the Preserve and are on this “Special Concern” species list!

Throughout the area of the pines and at the forest edges, you will discover small clusters of easily recognizable black-capped chickadees that remain in the area year round. They can be heard making quite a bit of cheerful noise (chick-a-dee-dee-dee) and can be seen flitting from pinecone to pinecone pulling out seeds. It is not unusual to find them hanging upside down! An occasional golden-crowned kinglet may sometimes be spotted nearby as well as a downy woodpecker. The tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, red-breasted nuthatch and dark-eyed junco can also be found in this area. Finally, blue jays have, on occasion, been spotted residing at the preserve throughout the winter. Blue jays are reportedly showing a slight yet significant decline in the Eastern section of the United States (National Audubon Society). 

Some of the bird species mentioned in this article are stable, and yet others are on the increase. Very often, when an area becomes fragmented, edge habitation increases, resulting in the loss of species that require interior habitats, and an increase of those species that thrive in edge habitats, such as birds of prey. In addition, fragmentation allows for the introduction of species that would not ordinarily be found in the area, causing an imbalance to the supply of food and shelter. Fragmentation upsets habitats in both ways. Well-planned habitat management is one way to reduce the decline of some of the previously discussed species and alleviate concern on the impact to birds and other native species.      January 2007


Please write a letter, send an e-mail or make even just one telephone call to demand that the proposed T.R.I.M. (Truck-Rail InterModal) project:

 1) Be given the proper public airing and involvement and

 2) Be scaled down considerably (e.g. build several smaller facilities – one each in Nassau County and Western & Eastern Suffolk County) and

 3) Be built only in industrial areas, far from homes and nature preserves!

✎Mark Bocamazo, LITRIM Project Team, NYSDOT, NYS Office Bldg, 250 Veterans Memorial Hwy, Hauppauge, NY 11788 OR e-mail: longislandintermodal@jacplanning.com

✎Governor Eliot Spitzer, State Capitol, Albany, NY 12224 OR 518- 474-8390 OR e-mail:  www.ny.gov/governor (if you want to send an e-mail letter, you will need to go to the

website and hit  “contact the governor” at left side of page. A simple form will appear for

you to fill out.

✎State Senator Owen Johnson, 23-24 Argyle Square, Babylon, NY 11702 OR telephone

631-669-9200 OR e-mail: ojohnson@state.senate.ny.us

✎State Senator Caesar Trunzo, NYS Office Building, 250 Veterans Memorial Highway, 

Hauppauge, NY , 11788 OR telephone 631-360-3236 OR e-mail: trunzo@state.senate.ny.us.

✎Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, 100 Veterans Memorial Highway, PO Box 6100, Hauppauge,, NY 11788 OR telephone: 631-853-4000 OR e-mail: county.executive@suffolkcountyny.gov.

✎Suffolk County Legislator Steven Stern, 1842 E. Jericho Turnpike, Suite P, Huntington, NY 11743 OR  telephone: 631-854-5100 OR e-mail: steven.stern@suffolkcountyny.gov

For more information: www.nysdot.gov OR www.longislandintermodal.com

For a sample letter/e-mail that you can send, or if you have questions or need more information: patricia@friendsofedgewood.com.


Mr. Mark Bocamazo, P.E.

Regional Design Engineer, NYSDOT, Region 10

NYS Office Building, 250 Veterans Memorial Highway

Hauppauge, NY 11788

Att: Thomas Daley, P.E.

Dear Mr. Bocamazo:

I would like to share my many concerns regarding the proposed T.R.I.M facility on the site of the former Pilgrim State Psychiatric Hospital and kindly request that these comments and questions be included in the public comment section of any environmental impact study.

I am disappointed that this project has not been given the proper public airing. The NYS DOT, along with our many elected state and county officials, have not done nearly enough to keep residents informed and involved.

These kinds of facilities should not be built in or near residential communities for obvious reasons: concentrated levels of air, light and noise pollution. In your brochure, it says that one of the “features” of this planned facility is that the nearest residence is ¼ mile away. That is only five city blocks. Suffolk County already has the worst air quality and highest rate of pollution-related diseases than any region in New York State. I do not see how this facility will help lower those numbers.

Your brochure also states that the NYSDOT is striving to design a facility that “ensures compatibility with adjacent development”. The planned facility will border the Edgewood-Oak Brush Plains Preserve, an 850-acre nature preserve that is home to a vast array of birds, animals and plants. Edgewood is a special groundwater protection area (SGPA), as well as an important remnant ecosystem. Studies show that light pollution and fragmentation due to development of land has devastating effects on wildlife habitats. Edgewood is home to many “Special Concern” species such as the box turtle and Cooper’s Hawk. The site of the proposed facility houses tall old pines, where owls have been spotted. I do not see how this facility is in any way compatible with a nature preserve.

Most container intermodal facilities get bad marks for efficiency because they usually utilize one-way haulers. Rarely do those who haul the containers attempt to get freight both ways, so there is actually twice as many trucks as really needed. How does that help alleviate traffic or cut fuel consumption? Also, haulers who do not keep their trucks loaded both ways only increase the wear and tear on our roadways as well as increase air and noise pollution. I am not convinced that development of this project is solving the real problems facing Long Island and Long Islanders.

Building a huge, polluting truck facility adjacent to a nature preserve and within walking distance of several residential communities is not a plan at all. Rather, it is an ill-conceived idea. I trust that the NYS DOT will work with the Long Island community to find a solution that does not harm the environment and destroy the quality of life that we work hard for every day.

I look forward to your response.


2 Responses

  1. I am a concerned Commack parent of 3 young children- This is the first I am hearing of this- Tonight at Rolling Hills PTA meeting, a very concerned parent brought this matter to our attention- Plesea tell me what we can do- this building will impact the health of my children and family, our investment and so much more-
    Thank you Danielle Vincent
    [removed personal phone number and adjusted e-mail-KW]
    SDV53 at optonline dot net

  2. I am also concerned about this area, as we were there innocently walking in March of 2009…that night, my wife got very sick, rash all over her body, and now she is in the hospital seeing infectious disease doctors…she can’t be treated unless we can find out exactly what type of contaminants are there, and most importantly dumped there. There are notes to the effect that there are many air borne contaminants in the area, and we’d like to know what they are. From one simple walk, well, it has turned into a nightmare for now, five months.

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