Our Founding Moment

Save The Great South Bay Inc. is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit organization dedicated to the revitalization of The Great South Bay.  We are from The South Shore, past and present, baymen, fishermen, boaters, paddleboarders, surfers, sailors, local environmentalists, civic associations, schools, marine scientists, all working together.

STGSB Founders Howard Ryan and Marshall Brown
STGSB Founders Howard Ryan and Marshall Brown

We  were formed August 4th, 2012 as the Sayville Class of ’77 celebrated their 35th at The Grey Horse Tavern in Bayport.    Spoken about that night was what had happened to our Great South Bay.  Howard Ryan a long time Sayville denizen living on his boat that summer in Oakdale and fellow classmate and also a life long Sayville denizen Marshall Brown found that all they could talk about was how the bay they had grown up on was dying.  Howard remarked that on a daily basis he witnessed pollution floating all over the bay  when he looked out the vessels windows each morning. All he saw was murky water, the clams gone, the fish mostly gone and the Great South Bay heading towards an ecological disaster.

Marshall concurred, agreed something had to be done.  Marshall along with his then 11 year old son visited the Sayville Town Beach where he had gone often as a kid that next day.   That transitional moment cemented Marshalls dedication to the cause.

The next morning Howard registered the domain SaveTheGreatSouthBay,org. Thereafter,  the Facebook Group, now at 12,000 members was established.   We reached out to local scientists and locals alike, and with that began a conversation, a place from which action can be taken.

Twelve weeks later, to the day, Sandy hit.   With that, we really began to understand how truly vulnerable both we and our local environment were.    It wasn’t just that the bay was now practically barren of clams when it once supplied half the nation, it was also the loss of the eel grass, the shellfish beds, the marshes.   To save the bay, and at the same time protect ourselves against future storms, we need a healthy bay, a healthy mainland.

That is why we have our three programs:

    1. The Creek Defender Program, which advocates for local stewardship in each of the communities that line The South Shore, from Lindenhurst to Patchogue
    2. The Shellfish Restoration Program, which seeks to reintroduce bivalves strategically in the bay and it’s estuary by way of environmental remediation
    3. The I Love Long Island Campaign, which advocates for bay friendly, pesticide free, chemical fertilizer free yards

We advocate a systematic, scientifically driven approach to the bay’s management. Science, not politics.  A healthy bay means a healthy economy for The South Shore and it means preserving a public good for future generations. We work today so that future generations will fish, clam, swim and boat on these waters as we had..

We believe that if Long Islanders knew the nature and extent of our water pollution issues, we would be on our way to solving them.    We have to contend with 500,000 septic tanks triggering algal blooms and threatening our ground water.    High nitrogen fertilizers, whether from lawns or farms, add to the issue.   Pesticides, improperly disposed of pharmaceuticals, storm runoff, spills, and toxic plumes add to the problem.   But determined public effort, informed by best practices in environmental restoration, will make a difference.

It will take a lot of concerted effort and dedication, but Save The Great South Bay, in conjunction with dozens of other Long Island non-profits and with those of The South Shore, past and present, is helping to lead the charge not only to save the Great South Bay, but to help assure the future of Long Island itself, its sustainability.

We hope that this web site will help people to develop public conversations about issues that matter to all of us.

Together, we can remake Long Island for the 21st Century and bring back our bay.

Follow this link to contact us or offer your comments below.