Author: Marshall Brown

Save The Great South Bay: Our Plans For 2018

Greetings everyone!    Spring is in sight, and soon we will all be back on the bay again!

While things have been quiet, they’ve been busy!

March 28th at Tres Palms, Save The Great South Bay is holding an Open House at Tres Palms, a restaurant-bar in Babylon right on the bay, between the hours of 4 and 8.   This will be what we know will be the first of several this year as we look to having the members get to know each other, and plan together how we can each help The Great South Bay.   Blue Point Brewery, stalwart supporters of Save The Great South Bay, particularly through “Drink The Bay Clean,” an India Pale Lager brewed for the cause, will be on hand with a cask, a raffle, and giveaways.   The board of Save The Great South Bay will be there, and we will be looking to enlist people to help us, especially for the upcoming  Creek Defender Day in Babylon, which is April 21st, Saturday, between 12-4, with John Kennedy with Willets Creek playing this year again at a post cleanup venue TBD.

We will have the elementary school. the high school, the PTA, The Lion’s Club, The Rotary Club, the paddleboarders via South Shore Paddleboards, the girl scouts, and much of Babylon Village itself will participate.    We have had native plants donated for the effort by The Long Island Native Plant Initiative, I am told, and intend to plant them along the Carlls where appropriate.   We will also have drone flights capturing it all, and a film crew from Hofstra’s Center for Civic Engagement interviewing people as they work on their senior class project:   A series of short PSAs on Save The Great South Bay, a local non-profit.   We feel honored that they chose us.   We have segments lined up at an oyster farm and at Blue Point Brewery, but they really want to hear from you.   Come to Tres Palms in March and to Babylon, and tell your story.

Babylon is to serve as a model for Creek Defender programs in every South Shore town — Lindenhurst, Bay Shore, Blue Point, Patchogue, Bayport, Sayville, Islip.   Amityville has The Great South Bay Society and Todd Brice.   They do their clean up of the marsh islands in late September.   We will be with them, as many as they need, though they had about 60 people and a flotilla of 11 boats last year.   They are a real inspiration.   If you wish to volunteer locally for your community, please fill out this volunteer questionnaire.  We will work to organize members in each community.

Here’s what one group of ten out of our eight groups we had in Babylon last year pulled out of Carll’s River:

By the end, we were “tired.”

If you love wildlife, we will be at The Long Island Natural History Conference at Brookhaven National Labs March 23-24.   Always fascinating learning about what creatures dwell amongst us.

Be sure also to register for our 5K Run For The Bay, which is in Sayville April 28th, courtesy of Blue Island Oysters, 8-10 AM.

Last but not least, here is a link to all events for this year SO FAR.   It’s around 30.    To be fair, 15 are repeats — Water Matters streamed live from the new Blue Point Brewery’s beer garden every Friday June-September 4-5, to dovetail with the brewery’s tradition of Friday Tasting Room with live music.   We will have our own set / information kiosk at The Beer Garden, as built out by the producers of Water Matters, Grassroots Environmental Education  and in addition to our scheduled guests, we will want to hear from you in the audience, so drop by.   Drink The Bay Clean will be of course served!

Our goal for 2018 is, in short, to be in every shore community, raising awareness about water quality, whether lawn fertilizers or pesticides, assisting in local cleanups and citizen science, and protecting and restoring habitat along our coastline so that, with modern wastewater infrastructure, our bay may begin to recover.

We are very excited.   We are almost 13,000 strong on Facebook.   Let’s all meet now off line and get to work.   This will be a great spring / summer / fall!

Regards To All,


Choose an Eco-Friendly Yard

Have a Bay Friendly Yard

Hiring a landscaper for 2018? Make sure they are being 'green' about it. Ask them to use a mulching mower so that the grass clippings can feed your lawn. That is the best food your lawn can have. Why have the clippings dumped in a landfill so that you have to throw expensive chemical fertilizers on it?

If you have pets or children, love nature and respect your neighbors, avoid pesticides. If you kill the bugs, you kill the soil. There will be fewer birds, amphibians. Pesticides also have a way of ending up in our drinking water and our bays, rivers and ponds. We are seeing a global collapse of insects, including the pollinators. Let's stop with the Roundup. There are natural ways of dealing with insects. Dragon flies, bats, and birds like Purple Martins are all voracious mosquito eaters. Take this route over Mosquito Squad. Your grandchildren will thank you.

Read more

Amazon Smile For Save The Great South Bay

Shop Amazon Smile, Help The Bay

Save The Great South Bay is a strong supporter of South Shore businesses.   If, however, there are items that you were ready to purchase on Amazon anyway, why not buy them through Amazon Smile, so that a portion of the proceeds goes to the organization?

It’s at no cost to you, and helps your community.   Click right on the pic below to shop and benefit The Great South Bay, Cyber Monday, and every day.

The Ingredients For Any STGSB Event

They would be Drink The Bay Clean, live music, oysters. After that, all we need is the occasion!

Save The Great South Bay has enjoyed just incredible support, and by the time the dust settled on the year, we’d had ten events thrown on our behalf to support the cause!     This spontaneous, grassroots response, is why we have at present 12,000 people in our Facebook Group, mostly from The South Shore, past and present.

Incredibly grateful to:

  1.  Danny O’Donnell, Tres Palms
  2.  Brooke Jankow and Steve Zoerner, Founders of Swell Taco, as well as the surfers who made Time and Tide, and who screened it there.
  3. Luke LaPenna, Flynns Fire Island
  4. Bayshore Yacht Club, The Great South Bay Paddleboard Race, where here we need to especially single out Karen Marvin Vaccaro and South Shore Paddleboards.  She has truly helped to create a movement, and supported us strongly from the beginning!
  5. Clay Darrohn, Fishbat, a digital agency now headquartered in Patchogue.
  6. Chris Quartuccio, Blue Island Oysters (TWICE!!) — The 5K For The Bay AND The Oysterfest.   More on those below.
  7. Tom Crowley, Oakdale Yacht, (again TWICE!!) most especially, for closing out our year with a 400 person concert, and a three day fishing tournament — more on that below.
  8. Mark Burford, Founder and Brewmaster Emeritus, Blue Point Brewery, and creator of Drink The Bay Clean, whose contributions this year to these ten events  — and others! — were incalculable.

The common thread throughout these ten events is this — we brought the Drink The Bay Clean. The live music, the local oysters, the venue and occasion were provided by others, often on short notice.    It was a fun summer, and an important one for the org in terms of building awareness and developing workable approaches.

5K Race For The Bay

Bayfest ’17

Drink the Bay Clean Boatyard Party

Swell Taco Presents Time and Tide, A Surf Film /STGSB Fundraiser

Toast the GSB. Music, beer, oysters, and charity.

Sayville Summerfest 2017

Soiree For The Bay

Great South Bay Paddle Board Race

Oakdale Yacht Club Presents Save The Bay Day

Fall Fishing Invitational

We don’t expect to be less busy in 2018, and we are looking forward!

Carll's River Clean Up

A Creek Defender Is Born in Babylon

On Earth Day, April 22nd, Save The Great South Bay launched The Creek Defender Program in Babylon on Carll’s River.   Working with The Village:

The Village of Babylon

Babylon High School and the Elementary School, the PTA and the parents,

Staging the Clean Up


as well as with South Shore Paddle Boards and their tribe,

80 volunteers worked in eight groups of ten to remove trash from in and around Carl’s River, from North Babylon to where the river enters the bay.

The amount of trash we were able to remove in just our four hours was just astounding:

This is trash that now will not pollute the bay.

The problem with Carll’s River can be multiplied by 42 — the number of rivers and creeks that flow into The Great South Bay.  We can’t heal the bay unless we heal those waters that feed the bay, and right now, our creeks are suffering from a number of ills:

  1. Road Runoff.    There are an estimated 2000 outfall pipes in Suffolk County, in various states of disrepair.   How many are dumping into our creeks?   Fertilizers, pesticides, road runoff?   The first thing we need to do as Creek Defenders, as local stewards of the waters that flow through our communities, from Lindenhurst to Bellport, is to survey and document.   Where are these pipes emptying in?    Can we get water samples?    The point here is, with our 12,000 members, with such strong representation in every community, we can put our local community environmental issues front and center.
  2. Lawn Runoff.   How are people who live within a creek’s watershed managing their lawns?   Given the enormous nitrogen pollution problems all our bays face from the 500,000 cesspools and septic tanks leaching into Long Island’s sandy soil, the last thing we really need is yet more nitrogen coming in from chemical lawn fertilizers.   If we are spending billions to get the nitrogen out, we shouldn’t be at the same time adding to the problem.   The Creek Defender Program advocates “Bay Friendly Yard Care.”    No chemical fertilizers.   Mulch your clippings to feed your lawn.  Native plantings, no pesticides.
  3. Aquifer Depletion.   We are literally running our ponds and creeks dry.   We need to stop watering our lawns as though they were rain forests.   We live on a sole source aquifer, and we are draining it.  That’s our children’s drinking water we are wasting in search of some outmoded idea of a perfect lawn.   We invented the suburban lawn.   We need to reinvent it, but this time by working with nature, not dumping millions of pounds of pesticides every year, not by bringing in plant species that have no business being here, not by draining away too much of what the glaciers left us.  Let Long Island be Long Island.   It is naturally beautiful.    We messed with it.  We can fix it.

In order to support our local Creek Defenders, Save The Great South Bay has created interactive maps of every creek on The South Shore.   Here is Carll’s River:

Carlls River Watershed

LOVELAND is dedicated to putting America online parcel by parcel. We work with governments, developers, neighborhood groups, and passionate individuals to gather and present information about property in clear, actionable ways. In Detroit our community missions include arming people with information to battle a plague of tax foreclosures and running an ongoing survey of property conditions to help fight blight.

Using this interactive map, you can zoom right down to a particular property lot, and attach photos, data, as a registered user.   There is even a smart phone app that goes with it, so that as people survey a creek for, say, sunken boats, car tires, shopping carts, collapsing bulkheads, failing pipes, illegal dumping, or signs of alewife, fresh water clams, ribbed mussels, etc, all this could be put onto the map for the creek in real time.

As an organization, it is our goal to have a Creek Defender for every community.   Todd Shaw, of Babylon Village, and one of our Directors, is The Creek Defender for Babylon.   Todd Brice of Amityville, marina owner, and Founder of The Great South Bay Society, is The Creek Defender there.   He has been running cleanups on the marsh islands now for eleven years.    As we launch programs in Lindenhurst, Oakdale, Sayville, Bayport, and Patchogue, and hopefully elsewhere, we are grateful for his leadership.  Using the local marinas along the bay as bases of operation, we plan to have local Creek Defenders enlist their community in clean ups, such as with this one with Todd Brice from Sept 23rd:

We also hauled out a 27″ TV. There are no words.

All our creeks and shores need help.   We are speaking and meeting with marina owners, boating and fishing associations, shellfishing companies and farmers, local restaurant owners, and all other major stakeholders on the bay, and seeking to create a bay-wide plan for local stewardship, with the marinas being key bases of operation.  Sometimes to do something right, you need a small armada.   I counted 14 boats for Todd’s clean up.


We will announce the new programs as they come on line.   Likewise, if you’d like to participate in a local Creek Defender effort, please contact us, and we will match you with other likeminded neighbors so you can grow your local effort.

Finally, going back to the article title, is an early bid to get on, say, the playlist for a May party at Tres Palms. So many people threw us parties this year! More on that soon!



Can A Beer Save A Bay?

As 2017 winds down, as the sun, ever lower on the horizon, yields the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets of The Great South Bay of Fall and Winter, while in our marinas our boats are stowed for the winter, we’ve time to reflect on what was a very eventful year.

GSB Sunset — Bellport. Courtesy, Mike Busch, Great South Bay Images

2017 started off with a great bit of news:   After years of work, Save The Great South Bay would at last have its own beer.   Mark Burford, Founder and Brewmaster Emeritus of Blue Point Brewery and Sayville Class of ’80 really stepped up.   He created Drink The Bay Clean, and got everyone behind it — marketing, retail, distribution — so that with every case of beer sold Save The Great South Bay receives $5, and for every keg $15.

The beer is ‘on pause’ until this April, until the opening of Blue Point’s new brewery in Patchogue.   If you can still find it locally, stock up!   Come the spring, the beer will be available at Nassau Coliseum and in New York City and beyond.   The proceeds will go to supporting our three main programs — The Creek Defender Program (here with special attention paid to The Patchogue River), The I Love Long Island Campaign for bay friendly yard care, and our Shellfish Restoration Program, which seeks to introduce filter feeders like oysters and ribbed mussels strategically by way of cleaning the bay and the creeks that feed into it.

Thanks to Blue Point, we really started 2017 with the wind at our back, and thanks to them, 2018 promises to be a great year as well, as we will have funds to address directly the issues our bay faces.    How often is a beer brewed for a cause?  Can a beer save a bay?


A Bucket Of Oyster Shells

$10.4 Million From Albany For Shellfish Hatcheries

Invests $7.25 Million in Public Hatcheries Across Long Island and $3.15 Million to Obtain Adult Shellfish 

Shellfish Restoration Council to Direct Efforts and Coordinate Training 

Investments Will Create Jobs Across Long Island

DEC to Establish One-Stop Shop to Expedite Permitting for Shellfish Cultivation    

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a $10.4 million effort to improve Long Island’s water quality and bolster the economies and resiliency of coastal communities by restoring native shellfish populations to coastal waters. To restore shellfish, New York State is establishing five new sanctuary sites in Suffolk and Nassau counties to transplant seeded clams and oysters and expanding public shellfish hatcheries in the two counties through a dedicated grant program. More information is available here.

VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h264 format) here.

BROLL of the Governor releasing shellfish is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h264 format) here.

AUDIO of the event is available here.

PHOTOS of the event will be available on the Governor’s Flickr page.

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below.

Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you to the Halesite Fire Department and all their hospitality today. Thank you to all who are here. Before I begin, a special note, that we had sent the New York National Guard, 106th Rescue Wing out of West Hampton to go down and help Texas on Hurricane Harvey. 546 rescues they did, is that amazing? Let’s give them a round of applause. And the Halesite Fire Department collected over $80,000 in donations for Texas, so let’s give them a round of applause. You know it is amazing to me still, when things are at their worst, people are at their best. We saw it with Hurricane Sandy. The nation is now seeing it with what’s going on in Texas. Everybody rallies to do whatever they can to help Americans and New Yorkers in need and I’m proud of the way this state responded. We say a prayer that we don’t have the same situation now in Florida and Puerto Rico because there’s another storm and anyone who doesn’t see a new pattern of extreme weather, I think is in a state of denial,you know. We have hurricanes, we have floods, we have all sorts of situations in the state that we’ve never had before.

I want to thank my colleagues in the legislature. We’re about to announce an exciting program and nothing happens without the legislature and the legislature will tell you that. So, let’s give them a round of applause. I also want to thank Stony Brook University and Cornell, which have been great partners to us. They are smart, they are on it, and let’s give them a round of applause and thank them. And my two colleagues – two great County Executives, whose leadership has really made a difference, Steve Bellone and Ed Mangano. To a great DEC Commissioner, he gives me the credit, but we do have the best environmental program in the country and its because we have the best Environmental Commissioner in the country, Basil Seggos. Let’s give him a round of applause.

The environment is becoming more and more of an issue. Why? Because the problems in the environment are a function of evolution and they’ve been getting worse incrementally. We didn’t do anything for a long time, we didn’t pay attention, and now the bill is coming due. It’s like when you get as old as I am and you go to the doctor and they start to talk to you about cholesterol and the problem you have with cholesterol. It’s not what you did this week or last week, it was an entire lifetime of bad habits that get you to this point. The same is true with the environment. It’s 50 years of bad habits. It’s 50 years of not even understanding what we were doing. We have these great manufacturing plants and they were doing all sorts of great manufacturing, using all sorts of chemicals and dumping it in the ground. And we never said to ourselves, “Well what happens when it goes into the sewer system? What happens when it goes into the ground? The thought was it’s gone, disappeared, never happened. That’s not the case. Nothing is ever gone. Nothing ever really flushed, you know? In some ways, the earth is like a sponge and you pour fluids into it and yeah they pour out the other side, but that sponge holds a lot of the chemicals and a lot of the contaminants. And they built up year after year after year after year, and you have all sorts of chemicals that now combine with each other in ways that we never even imagined. And it becomes a problem in water pollution. You see it in the coastline and we’re going to be primarily talking about the coastline today. But you see it in the ground water with really frightening results. This is not just New York; this is all across the country. We’re just starting to test groundwater for chemicals that nobody even thought to test for. We have situations in upstate New York where the groundwater is polluted from a manufacturing plant that no longer exists and hasn’t existed in decades. But, what they left behind is still in that groundwater. Some of these chemicals you can filter out with a very expensive process. Some chemicals you can’t get out of the groundwater, period. Once they’re there, we don’t even have the technology to fill them out. In many ways, we now have a new recognition of a problem that we caused over many, many years and we are trying to now remediate the damage from decades past. We have to be aggressive about it. There’s no time to waste. You’re talking about a matter of health on Long Island, you’re talking about a fundamental economic driver which is the use of the water and we’re aggressive about it because you have to be. Long Island especially, what makes Long Island, Long Island? Part of the attraction is that it is an island. It has beautiful coastline, bays, harbors, you see it in Huntington, you can live, work and play on Long Island. Right?

My sister loves to say, “When you live on Long Island you never have to take a vacation, because you’re on Long Island!” It’s true. That has been the essence of one of the attractions for Long Island. But over the years, Long Island, like every other part of the state and every other part of the nation, the pollution has been getting worse and worse and growing and adding up. We know the sources of the pollution, especially on Long Island. We’re using fertilizers, they wind up in the water, we have an inadequate sewer system. Septic systems made sense at one time, not when you have a concentration of septic systems that we have now.

In Long Island, 60 years ago, it was fine. Why? Because you didn’t have the density that you now have. But the density of septic that we have has saturated the ground soil. Sewage treatment, wastewater treatment, we took for granted. Not anymore. 500,000 septic systems in Suffolk County alone have to be addressed. These are very expensive and complicated issues, to put in a sewer infrastructure where it doesn’t exist. It’s especially bad on Long Island because of the geology of Long Island. It’s a bar of sand, basically. The sand is porous and everything pours right through the sand and then sits in one basic aquifer. All these years, all those chemicals end up in the aquifer, the aquifer makes it to the coastline, but the aquifer is also the source of the drinking water.

Now, you’d have to be blind to deny the evidence of the change. You see it everywhere. The so-called brown tide, which appeared out of nowhere in the ’80s, nobody even understood what it was, but it’s only getting worse and worse. Upstate New York, we have in lakes, toxic algae blooms with a toxic bacteria in the algae. It’s not just in Long Island. We’ve had the same situation here. We tend to think of it on the coastline, but again, it is in the drinking water and this is going to be the crisis of the next decade – mark my words. We’ll get more sophisticated in the testing of groundwater, you can’t even find out from the federal EPA now what chemicals should be tested for and you can’t find out from the EPA what concentrations of those chemicals are dangerous. We will have more and more research and then we’ll get into the question of how do you filter the groundwater, and that’s going to be very complicated.

But no doubt, protecting our natural assets and these investments are the core mission for Long Island. We’ve been very aggressive. I’m proud to say we’ve been more aggressive than any state administration in history. I’m humble enough to say we’re not going to do it alone, we’re going to do it with partnerships and that’s exactly what this is all about.

On the state side, we’ve had a full agenda for the past several years. 2015, $5 million for the Nitrogen Action Plan. We launched the first Ocean Action Plan, 10 years, $400 million for water infrastructure. The highest amount for the Environmental Protection Fund in history, and we’re proud if it. $40 million to start to build new sewage treatment plants in Smithtown Kings Park. $3 million for Suffolk County and Stony Brook to develop advanced septic treatment technologies so the septic systems we do have work better, which is very important. It’s unrealistic to say, in our lifetime we’re going to replace all the septic. I’d love to be able to say we’re going to do that, I think it’s cost prohibitive, and it is practically from a functional point of view, prohibitive. Can we make those septic systems work better? That’s a very real question. $900,000 for the estuary reserve. We’re in partnership with Steve Bellone. That’s why he’s smiling, because he is getting a lot of money. That’s when Steve smiles. If you want to see Steve Bellone smile, give him a big check. $300 million dollars in partnership with Suffolk County to connect homes to the sewer systems. Same thing with Ed Mangano. We’re going to give him financial assistance to address the Bay Park Treatment Facility, which has been a problem for years. It is polluting the surrounding waters and we are looking for ways to use the Cedar Creek ocean outfall.

In this year’s budget, we did something special and I applaud the legislature, especially Steve Englebright, who is here. The largest amount of money ever invested in clean water, $2.5 billion for a Clean Water Infrastructure Act. It is a landmark investment and again, it is targeted for clean drinking water because I think that is the next crisis. We are also doing everything we can visive the federal government. They are moving ahead with their dumping plan right at the mouth of the Sound, which makes absolutely no sense why you would dump dredged material in the Sound. We said if they approved it we would sue them. They approved it and we’re suing them. So, aggressive is good, and aggressive and creative at the same time is also better. And we are going to get creative in this partnership, and we are going to enlist the help of mother nature with a little boost from the State.

We’ve done a lot of research, especially through Stony Brook, on the use of clams and oysters as natural filters. Mother Nature knew what she was talking about. That’s exactly right, let’s give them a round of applause. Mother Nature had a plan and Mother Nature had a system. Our problem is, we messed with Mother Nature’s system, but clams and oysters were natural filters. We now have a problem that the water is so polluted that it has decimated that population, but they were natural filtration equipment, if you will. We’ve done a lot of research to determine how to restore the clam and oyster population and how to restore it in a way that they survive and they flourish. We know it works and we know what doesn’t work. We know that if you place them in appropriate concentrations, they can help filter pollutants and nutrients that cause toxic algae blooms. We know that they process the algae, they retain the nutrients, the actually remove nitrogen from the water – clams, about 25 gallons per day, oysters, about 50 gallons of water per day. We’ve learned that placing more mature shellfish has a higher percentage of success because they are more resilient. In the past, juvenile shellfish have been placed and they didn’t survive. The more mature shellfish have a higher survival rate. You need density, it is required for reproduction. Apparently, clams don’t move around a lot during the reproductive process. I’ll leave it at that. So, you need a high level of density for the reproductive process to work. Mature shellfish can survive in marginal waters. In the past, they have been placed in heavy areas of pollution and they don’t survive in heavy areas of pollution. You can place them in a marginal area next to an area of heavy pollution and they will survive there, clean that water and that then dissipates the problem in the heavily polluted areas.

Rhode Island tried a very big experiment in 2005. They made many of the mistakes that we just spoke about and we are taking those lessons into consideration. But, we want to use this resource and we want to use this aggressively. We think it has great potential as a natural resource. We have to bring it to scale. So we are going to launch the most aggressive program in the United States of America to restore clams and oysters. We’re going to do it here on Long Island because we think it can make a difference to the environment and we think it can make a difference to the economy. We’re going to announce $5.2 million shellfish restoration project all across Long Island. This is a product of working with the towns, the villages, the counties, academic universities, Cornell, Stony Brook, putting everybody together at the same table and coming up with a cooperative plan. And I want to thank, right now, not just the county executives, but the supervisors who are here, our partners in local government, because everyone pitched in to make this work. Let’s give them a round of applause.

And it’s going to work this way. We’re going to establish five new shellfish sanctuary sites at areas that have been strategically identified by Stony Brook and Cornell and areas that we know, historically, have problems with the quality of the water: Huntington Harbor, Hempstead Bay, South Oyster Bay, Bellport Bay, Shinnecock Bay. We’re selecting those locations that we believe we can improve the water quality and the shellfish can survive and multiply. We’re going to be planting mature shellfish at a rate that will allow reproduction and water filtration. We’ve custom designed the number of shellfish for each particular area. So you can see, South Oyster Bay – 26 million. The variance is based on the variables and the conditions of that water in that area. The placement will produce enough shellfish to filter the water at these sites every three days, which would be remarkable.

Now, we need to produce a significant number of oysters and clams – 179 million. We’re going to invest $7.2 million in public hatcheries across Long Island to do that. Cornell Cooperative in Suffolk County will receive $5 million to expand their shellfish hatchery and plant the shellfish at the sanctuary sites. We want to thank Cornell and Suffolk for taking on that obligation.

We’ll also spend $2 million to invest in existing public hatcheries to increase their capacities. The town of Brookhaven has stepped up and we want to thank them very much. South Hampton, East Hampton, Hempstead, Islip, and the Shinnecock Nation will all increase their public hatchery capacity. They will receive grants of approximately $400,000 each and they’ll be growing and providing the population that we’re actually going to be placing. So let’s give them a round of applause and thank them.

The investment will support the entire lifecycle of the shellfish from the beginning where they spend their first few months in the hatcheries. They’re then placed in floating nurseries, again to make them more mature. We’ll have 69 floating nurseries aroundLong Island. They’ll be monitored by Cornell. The shellfish will become mature in those nurseries. They’ll then be placed thereafter in the open water sites that we discussed.

We’re spending $3 million to jumpstart the program and obtaining 28 million adult shellfish from local distributers and hatcheries, harvesters that are doing it now. So rather than waiting to grow the first crop, we’re actually going to purchase the first crop so we can start the program even sooner. And again, they’ll be placed in the five sites. We’re going to put together a Shellfish Restoration Council, monitor the results, find out what we’re learning, if we have to tweak the program as we go along, we will. As I said, this is the most ambitious program ever done in the country. We expect to learn things as we go along. So, we’ll be studying, we’ll be monitoring, and we’ll make adjustments as we go along. SUNY Stony Brook and Cornell Extension will be leading that effort for us. They’ll monitor the sanctuaries and make sure we’re having the maximum impact.

These sanctuaries will be clearly marked with special buoys. There’s obviously commercial harvesting. This is not a place where you should commercially harvest. There will be special buoys. They will be enforced. There will be strict penalties. The DEC will be enforcing these sanctuary sites as well as local law enforcement will enforce these sanctuary sites, and we thank them for that. But these will be sites of high concentrations of clams and oysters that are there for a particular purpose. Any poaching on these sites is a serious offense and we’re going to take it seriously.

Now, we know the permitting process for hatcheries has been slightly cumbersome, some would say. Some would say that there’s a fair amount of bureaucracy involved. The Commissioner of DEC would not say that. But some would say that. But the Commissioner of DEC would say, to the extent there was any bureaucracy, it’s going to be streamlined and any application will be turned around within 30 days. It is lightning speed for those familiar with the process because we want to get these hatcheries functioning. We want to get it up and running.

So that’s the plan. Five Shellfish Sanctuaries, we’ll be monitoring it. If it works as well as we hope, we’ll be expanding it to other locations around the Island. Seven million dollars to expand the public hatcheries that now exist. Three million dollars to jumpstart the program with adult shellfish. A Shellfish Restoration Council that will be studying the results, advising the program as we go along, and DEC will be moving all the applications and doing the enforcement to make sure it all works.

New York knows what some of the other states know, but as you heard from the Commissioner, what the Federal Government has failed to prioritize, which is protecting the environment – and we do it very seriously in New York and we’re proud of it. Left unaddressed, the situation only gets worse. Time is not on our side. Every day, more fertilizer goes on the lawn, more nitrogen is going into the water, more chemicals are winding up in the aquifer. Every day. And that’s why we have to be as aggressive and creative as we are. In many ways, we are just trying to restore the planet the way we had it, right? Restore the system to the balance that mother nature provided and that we have since distorted. We’re trying to undo the damage that we did and get it back to a place of balance. Because Mother Nature did know better. The shellfish, the clams and oysters were an essential, especially in this area of the country. It’s what made Long Island “Long Island.” It was one of the great attractions. Oyster Bay – the name, that was given by the Dutch. Saladino says that he named it, but he really didn’t. It was actually done by the Dutch. The great South Bay was the hard clam factory. I mean, we were producing it for the entire country at one time. And now 99 percent of it is gone. Just think about that. Just think about what that means. That’s why the South Bay was clean. That’s why it worked. We had all that natural filtration. That’s all wiped out, it’s all gone. The industry is gone, the people who did that are gone, and then the water is now getting dirtier and dirtier as part of it.

Learn from our mistakes. We all make them. We are fallible. We are human beings. As a society we make collective mistakes. We have abused the environment. Sometimes we did it unknowingly, sometimes we did it knowingly. But we have to remediate the damage that we did. And we’re doing that all across the state. We have acid rain in some of the most beautiful lakes in the Adirondacks that are in the middle of forests, that are pristine. But you have acid rain from the clouds. All the manufacturing that was done in upstate New York left a stain literally from the industrial era that’s now in the aquifer. Here on Long Island, Grumman was a great economic engine. And we now have the residue of Grumman in the, what’s called the Grumman plume. So that’s what we’re trying to make up for.

Because at the end of the day it’s very simple. Someone put us here, some of us believe God put us here, for a limited period of time on this earth. And it goes very, very fast. And we have one simple obligation – to leave this place better than we found it. To leave our children a home that is better than we found it. The Native Americans have a beautiful proverb, that says we did not inherit the earth from our parents, we are borrowing it from our children. We are stewards of the environment. And we have to make sure at the end of our day, when our day is done, and our children inherit this place, inherit Long Island, they inherit a Long Island that is cleaner and better and safer than the Long Island that we had. This is a big step in the right direction.

I thank you all for coming. I’m excited about it. I think this is going to be a national precedent. I think we’ll learn along the way. But it is the right direction. And I want to thank all our partners in local government, in the academic institutions, and especially the two County Executives without whose help this wouldn’t happen. And you’re now going to hear from County Executive Steve Bellone and County Executive Ed Mangano and you’ll understand why they’re smiling.

Thank you and God bless you.


Additional news available at
New York State | Executive Chamber |
[email protected] | 518.474.8418

Mosquito Control: Out of Control

Yes, Vector Control is back, having had their funding renewed by The Suffolk County Legislature.  So these next three days, as will be the case every two weeks throughout the summer, the copters will be flying again.   We can only hope for the sake of our marshes, that this year it is for the last time.

Please send your complaints about Vector Control copters strafing your neighborhoods and our marshes here:   Vector Control Complaints.    It’s really a county form to complain about mosquitoes, but we are taking what we can get!

Rimmer-Pickering Marsh, One of Dozens The County Plans To Dose

Mosquito spraying destroys marsh habitat and in so doing makes the mosquito problem worse.   The best defense against mosquitoes is nature — dragonflies, fish fry to eat the larvae, bats, purple martins.   Worse, this spraying is not at all connected to public health concerns:   West Nile is carried only by fresh water mosquitoes, the ones that typically hatch right in your backyard.    The spraying is in fact being done to control a nuisance — people are being bitten by salt water mosquitoes hatching in marshes close to summer homes and beaches.

Why won’t Suffolk County embrace the science on this and abandon the futile and destructive practice of mosquito spraying in favor of marsh restoration, so that we can bring back the mosquito’s natural predators?   That would also go a long way towards improving coastal resiliency, which is critical to Long Islanders.   Healthier marshes can take more energy out of storm waves, and protect those nearby.

Why is Suffolk County still using methoprene, an insecticide that is illegal now in Connecticut under most circumstances because it is an ‘arthropod growth inhibitor,’  i.e. insects, spiders, and crustaceans (think lobsters).  It kills a lot more than just mosquitoes.

Here is the press release from Suffolk County as to where the scheduled spraying is to be done.    Use the complaint option to send a message:   Please apply science to our environmental issues rather than pouring toxins on the problem.   Bring back healthy marshes!

July 10, 2017 631-854-0095

The Suffolk County Department of Public Works’ Division of Vector Control plans to treat parts of the following marshes by helicopter to control mosquito larvae. Should weather conditions prevent completion of the work, it will be continued on the next suitable day.

Time and date of the application: July 11-13, 2017, 6:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. 
Method of application: Low altitude, large droplet liquid application
Name of Pesticide: VectoBac 12AS Liquid Concentrate (Bti – Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) and Altosid Liquid Larvicide Concentrate (Methoprene)
Approximate location(s):

Marshes that will be treated are marked “Yes.”

Town of Babylon Treat? Town of Brookhaven (cont.) Treat?
Sore Thumb Yes Fireplace Neck Yes
Oak Beach Yes Wertheim NWR Yes
Oak Beach North Manor of St. George
West Gilgo Yes Smith Point North Yes
Gilgo Yes Johns Neck Creek Yes
Cedar Beach Yes Mastic Beach Yes
Cedar Beach Golf Course Yes Pattersquash Island
Oak Island Yes Town of Southampton
Ox/Helicopter Island Stokes Poges Yes
Gilgo Island Jagger Lane Yes
Town of Islip Apacuck Point Yes
Robert Moses CG Station Yes Moneybogue Bay Yes
Clam Pond Yes Westhampton Dunes Yes
Captree Yes Dune Rd (Overton) Yes
Gardiner Park Yes Meadow Lane Yes
Admiralty/Isbrandtsen North Haven
Scully Yes Iron Point
Seatuck NWR Yes North Sea Yes
Islip Preserve Yes Town of East Hampton
Quintuck Creek Yes Napeague Yes
Heckscher State Park Yes Beach Hampton Yes
Timber Point Accabonac Harbor Yes
Idle Hour Pending Town of Riverhead
Pepperidge Hall Pending Indian Island Yes
Ludlows Creek Yes Overlook – Aquebogue Yes
West Oak Recreation Yes Crescent Duck Farm Yes
West Sayville GC Pending Aquebogue Farm Yes
Namkee Creek Yes Millar Farm Yes
Town of Brookhaven   Union Ave
Sayville YC Yes Pier Avenue
Stillman Creek Yes Town of Southold
Pine Neck Ave. (Swan River) Yes New Suffolk Yes
Roe Ave. (Mud Creek) Yes Great Hog Neck Yes
Abets Creek Yes Kerwin Blvd. Yes
Hedges Creek Yes Pipes Neck Creek Yes
Lyman Marsh Yes Pipes Cove Yes
Bellport Bay Yes Town of Smithtown
Beaverdam Creek Yes Sunken Meadow

The products used by Vector Control are registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and are applied in accordance with the required state and federal permits.

No precautions are recommended to prepare for this spraying, as the helicopter will be flying at a very low level over marsh areas and taking other precautions to control drift into inhabited areas. Human exposure from this operation is unlikely and the products involved have no significant human toxicity.

For current and future notices and/or further information:
• Suffolk County Division of Vector Control 631-852-4270
• Vector Control and Wetlands Management Long-Term Plan


End Suffolk’s Misguided Mosquito Spraying Program

It’s time to trash our marshes again:

Suffolk County has had a decades long program of spraying for mosquitoes around our marshes.    We still have a lot of mosquitoes, and a lot of dying marshes.   When you take out a key element of the food chain — mosquito larvae — there are consequences for fish, insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles, whole habitats.    When those insecticides also kill dragon flies, a natural predator of mosquitoes along with butterflies and bees, you have to ask why we continue to attack our marshes.   When there is also evidence that methoprene also affects arthropods — crabs and lobsters — then why are we still spraying?

Here is what Kevin McAllister of DefendH2O had to say about Vector Spraying, an issue he has been passionately pursuing for over a decade:

It turns out, this ‘vector spraying’ is really ‘nuisance spraying’:   The mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are fresh water and weak fliers.  Typically, they won’t range further than 80 feet from where they spawned, that is, in your gutters, bird baths, puddles on your property.    Has Suffolk County made any public effort to inform us as to the true orgins of West Nile so that we can better protect ourselves?   If West Nile is the problem they claim it is, why is the county spending all its time and effort and funds killing mosquitoes in salt water marshes, mosquitoes that DONT CARRY WEST NILE?

Our marshes of course are sprayed because those constituents living near the marshes complain that they are being bitten up, with the politicians even calling on their behalf.   In other words, our public officials continue to bow to public pressure where everyone pretends its about public safety.   Meanwhile, methoprene is raining from the sky.   Connecticut banned it out of concern for its effect on crabs and lobsters.   On Long Island, it’s still legal.   Good at killing mosquitoes, and apparently other things as well.

Are we serious about building a sustainable Long Island, about healing our waters?   Then why would we allow this practice to continue?    In trying to win this war on mosquitoes, we are destroying our marshes.   We need to be smarter than this.

What needs to happen is that people who live in the area where the county does spray need to contact the county and demand that none of this spray gets on their property.

Here’s a live map of the first place on the list to spray — Sore Thumb.   CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO SEE THE INTERACTIVE MAP:

And here’s Idle Hour:

Please Contact Us with any request to create web based map for your marsh, if listed above.

Contact Suffolk County today:

And Follow:

Tell them that our marshes, the fish, frogs, and bugs, the crabs, are worth people having to swat at a mosquito, that maybe bat boxes and dragonflies and fish fry would work better than what we have tried for decades.   A healthy marsh is the best defense against mosquitoes, and our policy has been to spray insecticides.    All we have to show for this endless war on bugs are degraded marshes.   Let’s work with nature now.   We’ve killed their predators.  Lets bring them back!


Doing Good By Drinking Well

Blue Point Brewery has done a remarkable thing:   They created a beer to help Save The Great South Bay in its mission.   With “Drink The Bay Clean,” they and the bars, restaurants and retail stores that will carry this India Pale Lager have created a beer that helps fund The Creek Defender Program, which focuses on local stewardship of the 42 creeks that flow into The Great South Bay, the I Love Long Island Campaign, which promotes eco-friendly, bay friendly lawn care that doesn’t involve pesticides and chemical lawn fertilizers and teaches native plantings, as well as the organization’s commitment to revitalizing the bay as a major shellfish producer, and its advocating for 21st Century waste water infrastructure for The South Shore and Long Island, and for a sustainable Long Island.

In sum, The Blue Point Brewing Company, together with hops distributor Hopsteiner, Carleton Clothing, a creator of iconic Long Island apparel, Clare Rose (may a fair settlement in their current labor dispute be arrived at soon), the region’s largest beer distributor, and DWS Printing, who did such a marvelous job on the labels for the cans have made a beer for a cause — To save The Great South Bay.

Dozens of Long Island and New York City bars, restaurants and retail establishments have already signed up to carry the beer, which was created by Mark Burford, Brewmaster Emeritus and Founder of The Blue Point Brewing Company.    He made this with all the passion of having grown up on The South Shore, on the bay.   He graduated Sayville, Class of ’80.   I graduated ’77.   We remember — and we want it back.

If there’s a place you think would want to carry the beer, please Contact Us with the name of the place and who the brewery should speak to.

The Launch Party, which coincided with World Environment Day, was a 12-8 marathon that over the course of the day brought in about 1000 people:

The Citizen’s Campaign For The Environment was there.     Operation Blue Earth, which is driving a Sayville / West Sayville campaign to get people away from lawn fertilizers and pesticides, was there.     You have probably seen their lawn signs in the area:

Now, you can see the Operation Blue Earth Van as well!

Save The Great South Bay, as a founding member represented The I Love Long Island Campaign, which calls for a island wide campaign against pesticides and chemical lawn fertilizers, and which promotes native plantings.  Operation Blue Earth is one of 30 organizations already supporting the cause:

Pledge to go without pesticides and high nitrogen fertilizers and have an eco-friendly, bay friendly lawn, order your yard sign (click on sign):

and be entered in a raffle to win $1000 worth of eco -friendly, bay friendly plantings for your yard, courtesy of beer revenues from Drink The Bay Clean.   Just Contact Us to let us know you entered.

Together, we can through organizations like The Perfect Earth Project and Grassroots Environmental Education reinvent the Long Island lawn and protect all our bays, rivers and ponds.   Right now, the bay is being ravaged by brown tide, pulses of nitrogen rich runoff pouring into the bay.   Its fertilizer season!   By what logic are we putting additional nitrogen on our lawns when we are about to spend billions to get it out of our water?  Especially when a good mulching mower can feed your lawn better than fertilizer and you get that for free?

Blue Point Brewery, which draws its water from the glacial aquifer that lies below Long Island, wants that aquifer protected.   The oyster farmers who fight to grow their harvests each year, like Blue Island Oysters and Great Atlantic Shellfish Farms, want bay friendly yards.   We on The South Shore need to help them, and in the process revitalize the bay and the local economy.

This World Environment Day celebration also featured CRESLI — The Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island, which concerns itself with whales, seals, dolphin, sea turtles and sea birds.   I’m a proud board member!

Here is Artie Kopelman, President, with Asia Lee, Long Island nature photographer extraordinaire, at the CRESLI booth.

Book your summer whale watches now at CRESLI!

The Moriches Bay Project was also in attendance at World Environment Day.   They are seeking to restore the bay through the introduction of oysters.  All in all, it was the first of what Blue Point Brewing and Save The Great South Bay expect will be a an annual celebration for our environment.

4-8 was the actual beer launch, with Non-Stop to Cairo

and The Brother Pluckers.

With that, “Drink The Bay Clean” was all sold out and all the kegs were kicked by 5 PM.  An auspicious start!    It was all people were ordering.

All the adult sized “Great White” shirts also sold out.   You can order online, though by clicking on the photo.   $20 plus shipping.    High quality U.S. cotton, eco-friendly inks, printed right here on Long Island in Port Washington by Spectrum Designs, a non-profit that employs autistic adults to print their apparel.   Have your organization consider having its apparel printed with them.

All in all, a great launch, and more “Drink The Bay Clean” events to come as together with Blue Point Brewing, we seek to save a bay that right now is very much under siege.  The day actually started with a 10-12pm beach clean up, organized by the brewery and the Town of Patchogue.  Great job!    But even as we celebrated the beer launch and gathered together a number of environmental groups, the bay looked worse than ever.   We’ve our work cut out for us.

If you are interested in volunteering or interning, we have a big job to do, and can’t do it without you.

Contact Us and tell us where you are from, how you might help, whether as a local Creek Defender volunteer, a store that wants to carry our I Love Long Island campaign signs, or our Save The Great South Bay apparel.  Right now, South Shore Paddle Boards in Babylon has both our apparel and the signs.

They rock!

Also, let us know where we should have our next Drink The Bay Clean event.   It will be a busy summer!