Sheldrake River at Bonnie Briar CCThe Sheldrake River gets its start in the northern neighborhoods of New Rochelle, flowing south through Carpenters Pond, Dickerman’s “Pond”, and then Sheldrake Lake and Goodlife Pond.  Just south of Goodlife Pond, on its way to Long Island Sound, the river flows through the golf course at Bonnie Briar Country Club.  Chemically treated and closely cropped fairway grass had flanked the small river as it flows through the golf course.  The river is flashy, meaning its water level rises and falls rapidly during and after storms.  Because the lawn, which extended to the edge of the stream bank, was unable to properly filter out nutrients and other chemicals from fertilizers and pesticides, stormwater pollutants were more easily able to reach the river channel and be carried downstream.  Because the roots of the mowed grasses were doing little to bind and stabilize the soil alongside the river, strong river currents during storms caused bank erosion.

Bonnie Briar Country Club

Working with consultant Creative Habitat Corp. and contractor Luna Landscaping, county staff completed this restoration project in June 2006, receiving close support from Bonnie Briar Country Club. The project involved re-grading the river banks to make them flatter and more stable, securing the toes of the banks and bridge abutments with stones and man-made “logs” manufactured from coconut fiber, stabilizing the banks with mesh blankets also made from coconut fiber, installing stone structures within the stream channel to divert and slow water flow in a controlled manner to further curb erosion, and seeding and planting the banks and a ten-foot-wide buffer along the stream banks with grasses, sedges, wildflowers and shrubs.  This work significantly curbs erosion and improves water quality by filtering polluted stormwater before it enters the river.  It also improves habitat for small fish and other aquatic organisms living in the stream channel.

After restoration, the stream is flanked by grasses, sedges and wildflowers. These plants buffer the stream from the fairways, helping to filter out excess nutrients and other potential contaminants running off the golf course in stormwater.

To View The Site: The site is at Bonnie Briar Country Club next to Weaver Street in the Town of Mamaroneck. It is across the street from the Sheldrake Environmental Center. The country club is private property and permission must be obtained from the club prior to entering the site.