The Udalls Cove Preservation Committee will hold its 45th annual meeting and wetlands cleanup on Saturday, May 3, at 10 a.m. on Sandhill Road on the border of Douglaston and Little Neck, just west of the Little Neck Railroad Station, on the north side of the railroad tracks.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) will announce a $20,000 grant for the organization included in the new state budget.
At the meeting, UCPC will report on its latest restoration initiatives, including four separate projects carried out by Eagle Scout candidates from area Boy Scout troops:
• The creation of 800 feet of new trail through a portion of the Ravine section of Udalls Cove Park. Two further phases by two more Eagle Scout candidates, including trail construction and installation of a footbridge over Gabler’s Creek, will complete the project during the next two months.
• The construction of a foot bridge over a stream in the Virginia Point section of the park.
• The installation of a split rail fence around a parking area at Virginia Point coupled with planting a large red oak tree and covering hundreds of feet of trail with fresh wood chips.
UCPC continues to maintain a growing network of foot trails in the four segments of Udalls Cove Park — the Ravine, Aurora Pond, Virginia Point and Osprey Landing —and also in the Old Oak Pond section of Alley Pond Park, located between Douglaston Parkway and the Douglaston golf driving range
Since 2004, UCPC has carried out a series of restoration projects at a total cost of over $200,000. These include removal of 1.5 million pounds of concrete rubble from the Ravine; construction of 500 feet of heavy duty guardrail along Sandhill Road near Aurora Pond; construction of erosion controls in the Ravine; removal of invasives and extensive reforestation in the Ravine and at Virginia Point; and construction and reopening of trails in all areas of the park.
The group has also carried out wildlife restoration projects, including installation of two successful osprey nesting platforms.
UCPC, an all-volunteer group, is now planning its next major restoration project that will rely in part on the new grant. Among the projects under consideration is removal of heavy debris in the water around Virginia Point. This debris, including sunken boats and motors, dates back to the time over 50 years ago when two commercial marinas operated there.
Udalls Cove Park and Preserve stretches north from Northern Boulevard, through the wooded Ravine to the freshwater wetlands around Aurora Pond and the expansive salt marsh of Virginia Point at the edge of the eastern arm of Little Neck Bay. This area is home to a wide variety of birds, amphibians and mammals including raccoons, muskrats and foxes.
Participants are invited to join in a free picnic lunch at Memorial Field in Douglaston starting at shortly past noon following the cleanup.