Vineyard Field Grassland Restoration Project
In 2005 FLPG began a grasslands restoration project at Vineyard Field, a 39-acre property in the Greenbelt preserved by Southampton Town. The field sits behind the SoFo Museum, which is located at 377 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, in Bridgehampton.
Vineyard Field is under siege by invasive species. Autumn olive, Japanese knotweed, garlic mustard, mugwort, mile-a-minute vine, and purple loosestrife have blocked the existing public trail; and they threaten the rare old field ecosystem, which is comprised of ponds, wetlands, wildflowers, and native grasslands. Restoration of the grasslands benefits rare and endangered native plants, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, as well as butterflies, bees, dragonflies, damselflies, and many species of meadow-loving birds.
Recognizing that the restoration was beyond the scope of volunteer effort, FLPG applied for and received a USDA Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) grant, and subsequently received additional funding from the Brine Family Charitable Trust, the Evan Frankel Foundation, Home Depot, the NYS DEC through a Legislative Initiative Grant from New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele, the Town of Southampton, and many private individuals.
With these funds, autumn olives spread across 10 acres were removed by a professional land clearing company in late 2006. Twenty more acres with thick autumn olive stands were cleared in 2007 and early 2008. Concurrently, volunteers continue to remove, by hand, Japanese knotweed, garlic mustard, and other invasives. Resprouting autumn olive will be suppressed by an annual mowing program.