Beyond the family fun and amusement that Playland provides is a beautiful hidden gem of nature. Several local, state, and federal officials gathered at the lake on Tuesday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that celebrated the completion of a full restoration project.
Manursing Lake, a man-made body of water consisting of former tidal creeks and wetlands, was created in the early 1920’s to be a featured attraction to adjacent Rye Playland.
Over many decades, the lake has needed drastic repairs due to the overgrowth of invasive plants, the deterioration of its tidal connection to the Long Island Sound, bank erosion and decline in water quality.
“The restoration project is one of more than 36 restoration projects completed by the county in the drainage areas of the Long Island Sound, part of our ongoing efforts to control storm water pollution and improve water quality,” stated County Executive Rob Astorino.
“A restoration project like this is much more than economics and cosmetics," he continued. "It’s purpose is to improve the valuable ecosystem, bio-diversity and treasure that we have on the Long Island Sound.”
The restoration project was divided into two phases. The first, completed in October 2009, replaced an outdated, manually operated tidal gate with a more effective, electronically controlled one.
Construction on this second phase of the project, which began
in April 2010, restored and created coastal habitats including a tidal creek, salt marshes (tidal wetlands) and the lake’s southern shoreline. A “rain” garden was also installed next to Read Sanctuary’s nature center to collect stormwater runoff.
The large-scale project was possible through funding from non-profit grants, local and area governments. Federal government funding was secured to help the efforts by New York State Congresswoman Nita Lowey.
In a previous released press statement Lowey, who was not present, said: “I congratulate Westchester County and residents for the completion of the Manursing Lake restoration project. I hope area residents and visitors take advantage of this fish and wildlife habitat, and I am pleased we are working together to protect this ecosystem for current and future generations.”
Westchester County Legislator Judith Myers attended the ceremony.
“This lake provides a huge wildlife habitat and sanctuary and breeding ground for all of the animals to live, which is a very very important part of Westchester County park land—The Read conservation area and wildlife sanctuary," Myers said. "The wildlife here thrives because of the water here behind me and it’s pristine nature needs to be guarded.”
Other local dignitaries included City of Rye Mayor Doug French and Councilwoman Susanna Keith.
After a short program, a ribbon-cutting in front of the lake symbolized the completion of the renovation work so many generations can admire for years to come.