Efforts to protect and improve water quality and wildlife habitat include the removal of exotic and invasive plants from county-owned Nature Study Woods in New Rochelle. The plants were removed in and alongside a freshwater wetland on the banks of the Hutchinson River.
Species removed were Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatun), porcelain berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata), and burning bush (Euonymus alatus), all non-native, invasive plants that had been overtaking the park's ecosystem. Work was largely completed in fall 2004. By removing these problematic species from the woods and river floodplain, wildlife habitat is improved and biological diversity is protected. These invasive plants were replaced by native groundcovers, shrubs and trees.
This is the second project undertaken at Nature Study Woods. The first project reduced the environmentally damaging impacts from a stormwater pipe draining directly into the wetland. As part of that project, part of a large stormwater pipe was removed, an erosion resistant, stone-lined pad was installed at the end of the pipe, and part of the wetland damaged by stormwater gushing from the pipe was restored.
The stormwater management and invasive species removal projects were recommended for restoration by the Westchester County Department of Planning as part of its participation in the Long Island Sound Study, a partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and states of New York and Connecticut. The goal of this study is to improve water quality and habitat in Long Island Sound, including by limiting the amount of polluted stormwater flowing into streams, wetlands or directly into the Sound.
To View The Site: The site is at Nature Study Woods in the City of New Rochelle. The best access point is the entrance to the park on Webster Avenue. Follow the carriage trail from the entrance to the site.