Widow's Hole Preserve
On December 7, 2012, ExxonMobil Oil Company donated this 2.1-acre property situated in the Village of Greenport, Town of Southold, to the Peconic Land Trust subject to a conservation easement granted to the Town of Southold. The property consists of approximately 1.9 acres of upland and 0.2 acres of undeveloped beachfront bordering Greenport Harbor.
The property was a former petroleum fuels distribution terminal that operated from about 1924 until 2003. ExxonMobil completed an environmental remediation project at the site in late 2003. This was one of their first partnerships with a land trust as part of their plan to donate and partner on the ecological restoration of properties they own but no longer use.
The Trust is working to restore this property to a healthy, natural state as a coastal maritime habitat in collaboration with our partners: the Town of Southold, Village of Greenport, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and ExxonMobil. Also assisting the Trust is a group of dedicated community members and neighbors. The project has been divided into two phases:
- Phase One: This phase, completed during the summer of 2016, involved making the property safer by cutting all exposed pipes and seawalls on the northeast side of the property to at least 4 feet below grade. This work was completed by Costello Marine.
- Phase Two: This Phase includes native habitat restoration, consisting of removing invasive non-native plants and planting a "palette" of native plant species that are characteristic of a specific plant community. The Trust is working with Cornell Cooperative on this restoration plan to reduce habitat fragmentation, provide foraging and breeding areas for wildlife, and protect water quality by reducing erosion and sedimentation and filtering out contaminants before they reach the waterways. Much of this work has been completed as of September 2016, with additional invasive species removal planned for completion by the end of the year. Unfortunately, the erosion at the site continues at a disconcerting speed. However the help of Cornell Cooperative Extension's shoreline restoration plan, the Trust expects to slow down and reduce the loss of land in the future. Funding for this work is ongoing. The Trust has applied for a new grant through Suffolk County via the Peconic Estuary Program, and we await word.
If you would like more information on this exciting restoration project, please contact Denise Markut at email@example.com.