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On January 21, 2006 the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee (UCPC) commenced the most ambitious � and expensive � restoration project in its 36-year history.   A contractor hired by the group excavated and removed over a million pounds of concrete rubble from a steep hillside above Gabler�s Creek in the Udalls Cove Ravine.  The restoration site is northeast of the Douglaston Firehouse, near the intersection of 44th Avenue and 244th Street.

The large chunks of broken concrete were dumped  more than 35 years ago.  Developers had planned to fill in the entire Ravine between Douglaston and Little Neck before UCPC persuaded State and City officials to protect it as part of the Udalls Cove Park & Preserve.  The concrete  inhibits growth of native trees, both by blocking them from the fertile soil below, and by leaching alkaline substances into the ground. 

This is the second phase of a project begun by UCPC two years ago.  During the first phase more than 430,000 pounds of concrete were removed from a nearby level area, much of it by volunteers working by hand.  That area has already been replanted with dozens of young, native trees.

Because of the steep slope and the larger pieces of concrete rubble on the hillside, this phase of the work could not be done by hand.  UCPC hired a contractor who brought in two large excavators with arms nearly 40 feet long to carry out the work, which was  completed in under a week. 

The project cost the organization $20,000. UCPC paid for the work using member contributions and a $4,000 grant from New York City Partnerships for Parks. 

UCPC applied for and received a Tidal Wetlands Permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for this project.  Although it is nearly a mile from the open water of Little Neck Bay, the entire Ravine is subject to DEC�s tidal wetlands jurisdiction thanks to a 1974 decision declaring it an �extended adjacent area.�  No construction or other disturbance is allowed in the Ravine unless specifically authorized under a DEC permit. 

About a week before the work began, UCPC notified residents living near the project site,  so that they would not be alarmed or surprised to see heavy equipment working in the Park.

After the concrete was removed, the contractor return the hillside to its natural contours.  UCPC then took steps to stabilize the slope so as to minimize erosion of the exposed soil into Gabler�s Creek below.  The New York City Parks Department provided fresh top soil and wood chips to cover the exposed areas near the top of the slope.  The Parks Department will also provide native species of trees, shrubs and groundcover for replanting the hillside in early summer, 2006.   


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Last modified: 02/08/15  

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