State: Plan to fix aging dams would require removal of 2,500 trees

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ELMONT -

A plan that would drastically change the look of Hempstead Lake State Park and fix aging dams would require the removal of 2,500 trees.

The state has proposed a $35 million plan that would allow the lake basin to hold more water and prevent flooding of downstream neighborhoods.

Residents who spoke to News 12 say they want the trees to remain and the plan reworked. They called on the state to do more through an environmental impact study – citing the loss of habitat for nesting birds, such as great horned owls and bald eagles.

“When I learned about this project, I wondered why we are taking down 2,500 trees in a county that can't afford to lose one more tree,” says Steve Rolston, of Baldwin.

The state says trees and shrubs that are growing alongside the dam are compromising its structural integrity and have become a public safety risk. It released a statement saying that the majority of the remaining trees and shrubs “are either invasive or dead and are being removed to improve and strengthen storm resiliency."

Public comments on the issue can be sent until Monday, Oct. 22 to the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery at 25 Beaver St., Fifth Floor, New York, NY 10004.

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