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Demonstration Wetlands Garden Project

Water Mill Museum, Old Mill Road, Water Mill, New York


The Project

The mill sits on the west side of Mill Creek. The entire 60 feet of the shoreline is eroded and in some areas the non-native purple loosestrife grows along the water edge.

As part of our NYS Department of Conservation and Town Site Plan Permits, the museum needs to remove the loosestrife and plant native plants in an area about eight feet deep along the 60 foot shoreline.

When the project is finished it will serve as a demonstration wetland garden, offering an opportunity to learn about the wetland plants and animals that inhabit the environment in and around the mill.

The project is partially funded by a grant from the Town of Southampton.

Native Plant Garden

The Water Mill Museum has planted a native garden along the edge of Mill Creek to reverse the years - we're talking centuries - of erosion caused by hurricanes, nor'easters, and heavy downpours.

The erosion has been dramatic. The water in the creek rises as much as eight feet above normal in a big storm, causing the creek to overflow its banks, eat away at the shoreline and destroy native vegetation.

To address this problem, a plan to renew and protect the creek's edge was developed by a museum committee working with wetlands restorer and landscaper Mark Barauskas of Ecobarrier Inc. and Southampton Town environmental analyst Martin Shea.

The first phase of the plan, implemented in the spring of 2007, involved planting 13 native species in and along the creek. The roots of plants considered at risk from grazing muskrats, carp and geese were encased in wire cages for protection.

All the plants were purchased from native plant nurseries or donated by Water Mill residents who maintain native gardens. (Native plants were not dug up from the wild because they do not transplant well and it is illegal in New York state.)

The 13 plants selected will create a more natural habitat along the creek.

The submerged vegetation will supply food for many aquatic species and remove nitrogen from the creek, thereby reducing algae growth.

Plant List

website design by Betty Kistler
© 2007 Water Mill Museum, 41 Old Mill Road, Water Mill, Long Island, New York 11976

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