There is one thing that Jane Morgan Nichols had loved for as long as she could remember: spending time outdoors. So when an opportunity to make a lasting difference for nature presented itself, she seized it. After a government agency sprayed DDT on 100 acres she owned on Long Island’s north shore, she joined the fight and supported a lawsuit that led to a nationwide ban on the use of DDT.
This land eventually became The Nature Conservancy’s Uplands Farm Sanctuary after Mrs. Nichols generously donated it. Uplands Farm offers visitors the chance to encounter a wonderful variety of plants and animals. Nearly 2.5 miles of trail meander from bird and butterfly meadows, through forests, and into a ravine filled with gorgeous white pines.
In 2019, it became the site of a new project that could lead to great innovations to clean up Long Island’s water. The chief benefit of the project, which replaces several old cesspools, is to remove nitrogen from the wastewater generated at Uplands Farm Sanctuary. A constructed wetland will remove pollutants from wastewater using soil microbes. Excess nitrogen from wastewater is a problem throughout New York, igniting harmful algae blooms that threaten drinking water supplies, kill fish, and lead to those summer beach closures you may have noticed.
A constructed wetland is well-suited for businesses, but homeowners can take advantage of rebate programs offered by Suffolk County and five Long Island towns to install nitrogen-reducing septic systems in place of their existing cesspools or conventional septic systems. To apply, visit reclaimourwater.info.
Funding for the project was provided by the Long Island Sound Futures Fund and Suffolk County. Want more info? Email our marine scientist Chris Clapp.