A turnout of up to 200 people at MacNeil Park on Saturday helped clean the shoreline, restore its vegetation and ply the waters in kayaks and canoes.
The event was sponsored by Coastal Preservation Network, a nonprofit group created by Kathryn and James Cervino of College Point. Participants filled a 30-cubic-yard Dumpster with refuse found along the beach, later took part in free kayaking in the East River and helped with planting seagrass.
James Cervino, a marine biologist, provides the funding to plant marsh grass there to create a habitat for wildlife and prevent erosion, with permission from the state, which does not have the money to do it. He recently received a $5,000 grant from Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) to continue his work at MacNeil.
The scientist has been restoring the seagrass there for 10 years and expects it’ll take another decade to complete the project. “It’s working and we’ve made huge progress,” he said. “Using low voltage electricity enhances the growth of the seagrass and I will be presenting an abstract on our research in Mexico this summer.”
Kathryn Cervino said she was happy with the turnout and that another event will be held in June, when her husband discusses his oyster restoration project that also involves using solar panels to foster growth of the bivalves.
The Bayside Power Squadron gave a safety demonstration to boaters and LIC Community Boathouse representatives brought canoes to supplement the kayaking.