Peconic Land Trust
Acquires 100 Acre
Broad Cove in Riverhead
For decades a top local conservation priority, a key step toward the permanent protection of this environmentally sensitive parcel in the Peconic Bay Estuary has been made.
The Peconic Land Trust (the Trust) has announced that it acquired Broad Cove, a 100-acre waterfront parcel on Flanders Bay in Aquebogue, a hamlet in the Town of Riverhead. The land, a former duck farm, long sought after for conservation, will eventually be available for passive recreation, while also providing climate change resiliency, wildlife habitat, and water quality protection in this part of the Peconic Bay Estuary.
The purchase was on December 31, 2021. The acquisition was made possible by the Trust securing six (6) lines of credit from supporters of conservation to raise the $11.5 million for the purchase and $500,000 for carrying costs. The Trust purchased the property from Walo, LLC at a bargain sale price.
A proposal to build out the site as a mixed-use resort had been submitted to the Town of Riverhead. The owner received an acceptable offer from a developer interested in implementing the plan but agreed to hold off on signing the contract to see if a conservation outcome for the land could be achieved. Broad Cove is adjacent to Indian Island County Park in the hamlet of Aquebogue.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has expressed an interest in partnering with the Peconic Land Trust to protect the property.
DEC Acting Regional Director Cathy Haas said, “We commend our colleagues at the Peconic Land Trust for their work to protect this one-of-a-kind parcel. For decades the Broad Cove property has topped government acquisition lists, including New York State’s Open Space Conservation Plan. This acquisition is a great step toward permanent protection of a landmark property and DEC looks forward to continuing to work with Peconic Land Trust in their ongoing work.”
“We are thankful to the people of Walo, LLC for working with us to see a conservation outcome for this incredible property,” said John v.H. Halsey, President, Peconic Land Trust. “We also thank our supporters for stepping up at this time to loan the Trust the funding to complete the acquisition quickly. By acting when we did, we were able to secure the conservation future that has alluded this property for so long.”
“We see this as our role – to make conservation happen,” John added.
“Our family is thrilled with this outcome,” said Andreas Weisz, managing partner of Walo, LLC – whose grandfather, Stanley Weisz, acquired the property over 30 years ago. “My grandfather always wanted to see the land preserved, what we called the duck farm. We see this as his legacy, his pride and joy.
“Over the past six months, as we were working out the details, I’ve spent so much time walking the land and have come to appreciate how special it is – peaceful, and the crystal-clear waters of the canals. Ideally, this is what this land should be – a nature preserve and a place for people to come and enjoy the woods, the water. I look forward to visiting in the future with my family,” added Andreas.
The 100-acre property includes 25 acres of tidal wetlands and 8,000 feet of shoreline on Terry Creek and Broad Cove in Flanders Bay. In addition, the property features upland woods and open fields. Before closing, all the existing buildings and structures on the property were removed. This conservation effort was overseen by Trust Project Manager Julie Wesnofske, who worked with Pete Moore of The Corcoran Group and Laurence Oxman of East End Real Estate.
Broad Cove is located on Flanders Bay, an embayment within the Peconic Estuary that is an Estuary of National Significance. The property is situated within the State-designated Peconic Pineland Maritime Reserve and has been included in every New York State Open Space Conservation Plan since the original in 1992 through the most recent in 2016.
Suffolk County has been pursuing conservation for decades. The area is zoned for Tourism/Resort Campus. High impact use and development of the property would have had negative impacts on water quality, fisheries, wetland health and habitat.
Through conservation, the property will contribute to climate change resiliency by providing:
- Continued carbon sequestration based on the property’s significant woodlands.
- Viable and sustainable ecosystems that will support a wide array of plant and animal species.
- Additional acreage to the existing, interconnected network of protected lands and waters to enable flora and fauna to adapt.
- Undisturbed groundwater recharge of benefit to the Peconic Bay Estuary and our sole source aquifer.
Founded in 1983, Peconic Land Trust conserves Long Island’s working farms, natural lands, and heritage. Since its inception, the nonprofit Trust has worked conscientiously with landowners, communities, municipalities, partner organizations, and donors, to conserve over 13,000 acres of land on Long Island. The Trust’s professional staff carries out the necessary research and planning to identify and implement alternatives to outright development. While working to conserve the productive farms, watersheds, woodlands, and beachfront of Long Island, the Trust is also protecting the unique rural heritage and natural resources of the region.
For more information about the Peconic Land Trust, visit peconiclandtrust.org.
Photos courtesy of Peconic Land Trust.
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