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Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR)

Focus Area: Smith Pond Drainage Improvements

Smith Pond, shown in Figure 12, is a 22-acre freshwater pond located in the center of the LWTB project area just north of the Sunrise Highway in the Village of Rockville Centre. The pond is associated with Morgan Days Park and is managed by the Village of Rockville Centre. The Pond is the confluence point of the two primary drainage branches (Pines Brook and Mill River) conveying water from the north end of the Mill River watershed — one on the north eastern side coming from HLSP, and the other on the north western side originating north in the Garden City area. 
The Pond receives both the flow (water quantity) and the nutrient loads (water quality) for the entire watershed. Smith Pond is also a unique location as the connecting water body between the upper freshwater system and the lower tidal and salt water system. The Pond’s location provides an advantageous opportunity to incorporate RBD and LWTB concepts of ecological restoration, access and urban quality and social resiliency in the Mill River corridor. 
The proposed improvements under consideration at Smith Pond are dredging, habitat restoration, storm attenuation, and improving public access. A dredging management plan will be prepared evaluating the opportunity to increase water depths to greater than eight feet. This could supplement storm runoff attenuation capacity by increasing pond volume, while improving environmental conditions. Currently, shallow water depths in the Pond, combined with high nutrient loads from upstream runoff, contribute to invasive plant over growth and dominance in the Pond. Dredging will remove invasives, and deeper water should improve conditions such that invasives could be controlled or eliminated. It appears that dredging of as little as 33,000 cubic yards of pond bottom at average dredge depths of 12-24-inches, could result in significant environmental improvement. Part of the dredging plan will include opportunities for improving pond bottom habitat for fish so that with the inclusion of a fish ladder at the Pond weir, the fish will have appropriate habitat in the Pond. One of many benefits of this project will be the ability to monitor this work as an example of a successful scalable strategy that could be replicated elsewhere in other highly developed watersheds.