SAVE 1,050 acres of grasslands, wetlands & forest- Veterans Memorial Trail, Calverton, NY!

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Over the years, many of us have voiced our concerns regarding the sensitive habitat areas within the old Grumman site referred to as EPCAL in Calverton, NY. We can all agree on welcoming meaningful job development within an appropriate scope that still allows for quality of life on Long Island and the East End. However, we are joining together to make it known that we are against the inclusion of approximately 1,050 acres within the current, potential sale at EPCAL. We further disagree with any plans to develop or relocate any of these vulnerable acres that the 2016 Environmental Impact Review determined as critical, sensitive habitat as per previous SEQR, DEC and DSGEIS efforts. It has long been on record that 596.4 acres of grassland and 787.3 acres of existing woodland should be considered as “non-developable” and thus the property had only been marketed as the designated developable 600 acres.

The EPCAL property is incredibly unique in that it includes regulated wetlands, land within the Peconic River Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers System (WSRRC) corridor and Pine Barrens. As such, areas within EPCAL offer protection to a variety of species such as tiger salamanders and the endangered short-eared owl, the upland sandpiper, breeding and foraging grounds for threatened species such as the northern harrier plus this land is also imperative for Suffolk County’s water and air quality. Suffolk was recently determined as having the worst water quality, worst air quality and highest taxes in New York. We are writing to say that we will not risk losing any more land that was designated as “non-developable” and therefore important to our wellbeing on Long Island.

We adamantly disagree with the decision to include these vulnerable 1,050 acres in the current sale at EPCAL. As a collective, we believe that the ten kettle hole lakes and several vernal ponds, the last largest tract of native, undisturbed grasslands in the state along with diverse woodlands that include core Pine Barrens should be protected in perpetuity. By excluding this land from the sale, decision makers could ensure that this land remains an important natural resource and respite for rare wildlife viewing. The recently completed and highly utilized Vietnam Veterans Memorial Recreation Trail that runs along the border of EPCAL also deserves the respect of thoughtful development. We are therefore URGING Riverhead Town Board members to insist that the contract NOT go forward without restoring the “non-developable” acres to town control for preservation.