State: Owl species likely to delay LI development
Riverhead's efforts to develop the 2,900-acre Calverton site have led to repeated clashes with environmental groups and state officials, who say more caution is needed to protect vulnerable species and the underground aquifers beneath the property. Last week the town sued the DEC over Commissioner Alexander "Pete" Grannis' decision to grant his own agency lead status for an environmental review of the water park being built there.
The DEC documented the owls' presence -- along with that of the threatened northern harrier -- at Enterprise Park earlier this week, after several reports from birders last month that groups of three and four owls were foraging near the runways. It is the largest group of short-eared owls to show up on Long Island in several years, said Trish Pelkowski, Pine Barrens site director for the Nature Conservancy on Long Island, who photographed the owls there last week.
Richard Amper, of the Pine Barrens Society, said the site can still be developed. Still, he said, if Riverhead "looked at the property instead of the projects, they might have discovered endangered species [such as the owl] and known better what would or would not be acceptable."
Hmmm, this sounds similar to what is going on at the Ridgewood Reservoir. And guess what? This same owl species was observed there, too. Hopefully, the state will also institute a turf ban soon, and derail the Parks Department's foolish plan to raze the forest in one of the basins.