County funds dredging of Baxter’s Pond

Rose Weldon
From left, Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, Village of Baxter Estates Mayor Nora Haagenson, Baxter’s Pond Foundation President Nancy Comer and North Hempstead Town Clerk Wayne Wink in front of Baxter Pond, which is scheduled to be dredged. (Photo courtesy of Delia DeRiggi-Whitton's Office)

To maintain its health and protect nearby Manhasset Bay, Nassau County will dredge Port Washington’s Baxter’s Pond to clear harmful debris from its basin, Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D–Glen Cove) announced Tuesday.

With support from Baxter Estates Mayor Nora Haagenson and Baxter’s Pond Foundation President Nancy Comer, DeRiggi-Whitton advocated for the county’s Department of Public Works to issue a work order and undertake the project after inspections revealed the growing level of obstruction.

“Baxter’s Pond and Preserve is filled with natural treasures that we have a duty to protect for future generations,” DeRiggi-Whitton said in a statement. “The fact that the water runs from the pond under Shore Road and into Manhasset Bay makes dredging the basin an especially critical component of our efforts to preserve both of these precious waterways. I am pleased to be able to facilitate this dredging project.”

Underground streams and storm drains empty into the pond, but litter and other debris also run into the stream, where it is trapped by the catchment basin alongside the bridge at the upper end of the pond. Additional accumulation of sand from winter road treatments, silt, leaves and other debris has caused the basin to back up to the point where it is in need of dredging again.

“Much of the rainwater runoff in Port Washington flows into this catchment basin, which is supposed to keep sand, silt and debris like bleach bottles, wayward flip flops and volleyballs from ending up in Manhasset Bay,” Comer said in a statement. “The basin’s cleanliness is key not only to the overall health of the pond, but ultimately to the environmental integrity of Manhasset Bay and beyond.”

The legislator’s office said the dredging is scheduled for the spring and is expected to take one to two weeks, depending on the weather, as  the stream “needs to be dammed so it can only be done when little or no rain is forecast to avoid the banks of the stream from flooding over.”

Originally part of the circa-1741 Oliver Baxter homestead, the five-acre Baxter’s Pond and Barbara Johnson Park & Preserve that skirt the pond and tributary that feeds the pond are enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year. Comer said in a statement that the Baxter’s Pond Foundation was “delighted to hear that the silted-up sedimentation basin at Baxter’s Pond is going to be dredged, as it is so sorely needed.”

“We are very grateful to Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton for spearheading this project,” Comer said.

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