Weather Alert  

"Flash Flood Watch" ...Flash Flood Watch in effect from 8 PM EDT this evening through Friday afternoon... The National Weather Service in Upton has issued a * Flash Flood Watch for portions of southern Connecticut... northeast New Jersey and southeast New York...including the following areas...in southern Connecticut...northern Fairfield...northern Middlesex...northern New Haven...northern New London...southern Fairfield...southern Middlesex... southern New Haven and southern New London. In northeast New Jersey...eastern Bergen...eastern Essex...eastern Passaic... eastern Union...Hudson...western Bergen...western Essex... western Passaic and western Union. In southeast New York... Bronx...Kings (Brooklyn)...New York (Manhattan)...northeastern Suffolk...northern Nassau...northern Queens...northern Westchester...northwestern Suffolk...Orange...Putnam... Richmond (staten island)...Rockland...southeastern Suffolk... southern Nassau...southern Queens...southern Westchester and southwestern Suffolk. * From 8 PM EDT this evening through Friday afternoon * showers and thunderstorms will be moving into the region from the west early this evening and will overspread the region by late tonight. Showers and thunderstorms will continue into Friday morning and begin to taper off from west to east during Friday afternoon. There is the potential for periods of heavy rainfall this evening into Friday afternoon. * The axis of heaviest rain remains uncertain. However...at this time the heaviest rain is forecast to extend from northeastern New Jersey into the lower Hudson Valley...New York City...and southern Connecticut. Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches are possible...with localized higher amounts possible. The main threat is flash flooding of low lying...poor drainage...and urbanized areas. Smaller flashier streams may also flood. Precautionary/preparedness actions... A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued. -- Thursday Jul.28 16,08:00 PM

Despite Gains, More to be Done to Preserve Suffolk's Farmland

Executive Steve Bellone outlined efforts to preserve the county's agricultural land.

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In 2012, Suffolk County took steps to preserve more farmland than in the previous three years, according to County Executive Steve Bellone.  Speaking to a group of county farmers on Monday at Suffolk County Community College’s eastern campus, Bellone called agriculture one of the area’s most important economic engines, and said more needs to be done to preserve farmland.

“Although Suffolk County leads our state in terms of total value of agricultural products, our agricultural sector is coming under increasing economic pressures,” County Executive Bellone said.  
 
Suffolk County boasts the oldest farmland protection plan in the country, and is the highest ranking county in New York in terms of total market value of of agricultural goods produced.  
 
Prioritizing development rights acquisitions, overhauling the county’s farmland protection plan and actively pursuing violators will allow local farmers to  “continue this way of life for future generations,” according to Bellone.
 
515 acres of farmland were preserved in 2012, while only 450 acres were preserved between 2009 and 2011.  The increase is due to a reprioritization of farmland development rights acquisition in an effort to preserve agricultural soil and the sole-source aquifer, the county’s “most valuable natural resources.”
 
Suffolk is also pursuing violators of the farmland program, such as the Ringhoff Farm, whose development rights were purchased by the county in 2011 for $1,700,000.  The county took legislative action against in early December after it was discovered that the farm was engaging in vehicle storage and other violations, including excavating and dredging. “As someone who believes in this program, I will not allow such a blatant abuse,” Bellone said to the group.  He toured the farm following the meeting.
 
The county will be partnering with the Peconic Land Trust and the Agricultural Protection Plan to encourage sustainable farming development while preserving access to farmland as part of the continued effort to promote agriculture in 2013.  
 
 
 
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