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Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Home Blind Brook Grant Will Fund Blind Brook Restoration @ Nature Center

Grant Will Fund Blind Brook Restoration @ Nature Center

(PHOTO: The map shows the area of Blind Brook restoration efforts at the Rye Nature Center.)
(PHOTO: The map shows the area of Blind Brook restoration efforts at the Rye Nature Center.)

A grant will fund Blind Brook restoration efforts at the Rye Nature Center. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund (LISFF) is offering the Nature Center a grant of $284,000 towards the restoration.

Friends of Rye Nature Center applied to LISFF this past May for funds for the design and permitting phase of the Blind Brook Riparian Buffer Restoration project. The $284,000 will be used to design a construction-ready restoration project plan and obtain the necessary federal, state, and local permits. 

Once designed and permitted, the friends group will seek the City’s permission to apply for new grants to fund the complete restoration of the proposed project area. The project focuses on the ecological restoration of the riparian zone – streambank and surrounding area – along the 1,660-foot section of Blind Brook that passes through Rye Nature Center.

(PHOTO: Existing Blind Brook bank erosion shows undercut tree root systems.)
(PHOTO: Existing Blind Brook bank erosion shows undercut tree root systems.)

Prior funding efforts in 2021 allowed the Nature Center to complete a stream characterization report with the environmental engineering firm Barton and Loguidice. The report found the area around the Blind Brook was releasing over 228 tons of sediment into the Blind Brook per year due to streambank instability, undercutting, and erosion; that the brook was disconnected from its adjacent riparian buffer, which prevents it from filtering sediment and acting as flood flow retention for this reach of the brook; and the area was lacking the necessary native biodiversity to maintain a healthy riparian ecosystem.

There were  two general recommendations from the report.  The first is to repair the actively eroding banks that contribute significant sediment loads to Blind Brook and, ultimately, Long Island Sound. This element is expected to reduce erosion/sedimentation rate from 228 tons per year to approximately 8 tons per year.

The second is to reconnect the active channel to its adjacent floodplain and enhance depressional wetlands by restoring floodplain hydrology and diversifying the current floodplain’s habitat flora, therefore supporting wetland wildlife. These efforts will result in the restoration of eight acres of habitat with enhanced filtering of sediment and brook flow retention.

The current grant is expected to be approved for acceptance by the Rye City Council on Wednesday evening.

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