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Coastal plain pond water quality and mercury contend of biota of the Long Island Central Pine Barrens and Mashomack Preserve: Effects of atmospheric deposition and human development

July 23, 2015

Pine barrens are considered an imperiled ecosystem in the northeastern U.S. The Suffolk County Pine Barrens, once the second largest in the Northeast, were substantially reduced and fragmented by development during the 20th century. The coastal plain ponds being considered in this study occur in central Suffolk County within the Long Island Central Pine Barrens region. This highly unique natural environment, embedded with forests and woodlands, resulted from its glacial origins and a land use history that predates European colonization. Included in this study was The Nature Conservancy’s Mashomack Preserve, located on Shelter Island between Peconic Bay and Gardiner’s Bay. There are no freshwater ponds in the Mashomack Preserve, but this area was included with the Central Pine Barrens investigation, because Shelter Island has a similar geologic and land-use history that has resulted in a similarly unique low-nutrient forest and woodland ecosystem with extremely coarse-textured soils.