East Hampton, NY Village Green and Methodist Lane Bioswales

Eco-region: 84

Date: 2017; 2021

Size: Village Green – 1.75 Acres; Methodist lane +/- 1 acre

Project Description: A public private partnership with East Hampton Town and Village, Surfrider Foundation, Easthampton Town Community Preservation Fund, Piazza Horticultural and private donors, these projects are focused on dealing with the water quality issues facing the Hook Pond Watershed and disappearing wildlife habitat due to overdevelopment. The Methodist lane site is currently highly maintained turf with sections that have constant standing water and severe flooding in rain events. There are four distinct elements to the design: a passive bioswale to deal with the standing water, a pollinator garden on the southern slope, a Long Island native grass meadow and two copses of native trees. The intent is to slow the movement of and clean storm water runoff before it makes its way to Hook Pond and eventually the Atlantic ocean. The turf will be removed to accept the plantings of native plant material selected to thrive in each ecosystem represented on the site. Criteria for plant selections was based on ability to survive on the site and service to wildlife. Although met with some initial skepticism, the public has given overwhelming support to these projects after learning and seeing firsthand the benefits of reducing highly maintained lawns and adding native planting as demonstrated by the Village Green Bioswale. Installed in 2017, it is successful on many fronts (wildlife services, water quality testing results, public awareness ) that the Methodist lane project is part of a second phase of plantings within East Hampton Village. Local schools and institutions plan programming at the sites to further increase public awareness of bird and insect decline and water quality issues. After generous private donations and a grant from the EH Town Community Preservation Fund, the Methodist Lane project will break ground April 2021.

Lessons learned: Plant it and they will come! Insects, birds, and people. Public private partnerships are slow processes but well worth the end result. Community support and public awareness are invaluable. Hibiscus moscheutos can overwhelm a planting when it’s well sited.

Landscape Design by Tony Piazza piazzahort.com