GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES $10.4 MILLION EFFORT TO IMPROVE LONG ISLAND WATER QUALITY, RESTORE SHELLFISH POPULATIONS AND BOLSTER RESILIENCY OF COASTAL COMMUNITIES

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.

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Additional news available at www.governor.ny.gov
New York State | Executive Chamber |
[email protected] | 518.474.8418

Suffolk County Mosquito Control Takes to The Skies Again Wednesday July 19-Fri July 21st

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!

SUFFOLK COUNTY
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES
NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Grace Kelly-McGovern 
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
• Suffolkcountyny.gov/Depar…/PublicWorks/VectorMosquitoControl
• Vector Control and Wetlands Management Long-Term Plan

suffolkcountyny.gov 
Facebook.com/SuffolkCountyHealthServices 
Twitter.com/SuffolkCoHealth


 

Suffolk County Must End Its Destructive, Futile and Misguided Vector Control (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:
suffolkcountyny.gov
Facebook.com/SuffolkCountyHealth
Twitter.com/SuffolkCoHealth

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!

 

“Drink The Bay Clean” Launches At The Blue Point Brewery — 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!

 

Save Our Diamondback Terrapins, Save Our Marshes, End The Harvest!!

 

Courtesy of Jamaica Bay Terrapin Research www.jbtr.org

Growing up on Long Island, I loved turtles. Painted, snappers, box turtles, spotted turtles, mud turtles. But for me the most elusive and by far the most beautiful were The Diamondback Terrapins. Their habitat is salt water marsh. They will spend their entire lives in that marsh, with only the females leaving it to nest. I never saw any even 50 years ago in Browns River. The one I saw had been caught around the mouth of The Connetquot, further west, where there were still marshes, though fast degrading.

One finds pockets of them, today, for instance around Gilgo Beach, where there are some marsh islands. Here, though, they often meet fate of becoming roadkill on Ocean Parkway or are hit by boats. At Gilgo Beach, their nesting area has had a kids playground built on it, right by the snack bar. They’ve no where else nearby to nest.

We all still remember of course the massive die off of Diamond Back Terrapins at Tuttle’s Creek in The Peconic Bay — High nitrogen runoff made the ribbed mussels that are a main part of the terrapin’s diet extremely toxic to them, wiping them out by the hundreds.

Another threat to their population have been crab traps. For years, the environmental community has been trying to put into law a requirement that crab traps have terrapin excluders. Whole populations in various bays have been decimated by these traps since the terrapins swim in, perhaps lured in by a crab, but then they are in turned trapped and drown.

Then there is the fact that it is still legal to harvest these beautiful creatures for food, where they are often exported. Terrapin soup was once a great delicacy. We can’t afford to serve it any more.    The good news is at last a law has been passed to ban the harvest of The Diamondback Terrapin in New York State.   Unfortunately, the law is not to take effect until May 2018.    Save The Great South Bay takes the position that if it make sense to ban their harvest at last, it makes sense to do so immediately.    Through decades of habitat destruction and poor management, we have decimated their population.   Here’s what to do: Contact The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation via this link to Carl LoBue’s excellent summary of the issue on Fireislandandbeyond.   The comment period ends June 6th.

Yes, lets save our terrapins!   And not only because we share our bay with them.  They are essential to our bay!   If we save the terrapins, we will also save our marshes.  Without terrapins, what is going to eat the periwinkles? Left unchecked, a periwinkle population can decimate a marsh. At the end of the day, saving The Great South Bay means revitalizing ecosystems, understanding the crucial role that every creature has to play (including mosquitoes — will post on Vector Spraying and its horrors soon).

For the Diamondback Terrapins of Gilgo Beach, it would be great if we managed it as a nesting area, such as what Russell Burke, a Professor of Herpetology at Hofstra University does with his Jamaica Bay Terrapin Research Project: Volunteers find nests, catalog the females, cover then with chickenwire covers to prevent predation, being stepped on, then all wait until they hatch, where they again get a big assist for the volunteers. That would be positively the best use of that otherwise empty playground during nesting and hatching. As one of my directors is a Grateful Dead fan, we’d call it Terrapin Station.  Here is one of the reported 30 or so terrapins that nest here.

Courtesy of Jamaica Bay Terrapin Research www.jbtr.org

Another place I’d love to see Diamondback Terrapins protected is right in the marshes along by The Connetquot River.   George and RIchard Remmer, five generations on The South Shore, with Richard running The Snapper Inn, and George The Wharf and teaching marine biology when he isn’t fishing, swimming, or boating on the bay, remember when there was a profusion of life in the Pickman-Rimmer Tidal Wetlands Area , which is 131 acres.  Birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, now mostly gone. As the Remmers, and New York Rising, with the DEC, Suffolk County, The Town of Islip, and other local civic groups and citizens working to reconnect the marsh to the bays tides, which would need to be followed by the marshes revitalization, which would include a reintroduction of The Diamondback Terrapin and the flora and fauna that was once there.   At this juncture, vector mosquito spraying needs to be banned, especially marshy areas, and in those areas where you are trying to preserve and restore habitat, which frankly given how fast our marshes and the wildlife they support are all disappearing.    Kill mosquito larvae, you decimate the populations of all that eat them, including bats and dragonflies.  You take food from  fish, frogs, tadpoles, and baby terrapins.  And without them, the marsh may be infested with periwinkles and not thrive.


I
n closing, for those would like to learn more about The Diamondback Terrapin and our efforts to save it on Long Island, please view this episode of Water Matters, where I interview Russell Burke, Professor of Herpetology at Hofstra University, Founder of The Jamaica Bay Terrapin Research group, and a passionate advocate for these unique and vitally important creatures.

 

 

 

Drink The Bay Clean Beer - Blue Point Brewing Marketing Image

Where Will “Drink The Bay Clean” Be Served?

“Drink The Bay Clean,” an India Pale Lager, is being brewed by Blue Point Brewery in order to support Save The Great South Bay’s efforts.   All for a great cause, of course, but this beer was brewed with a love for Long Island.   Drink The Bay Clean India Pale Lager is brewed on Long Island and for Long Island.   This IPL begins with glacial water, left eons ago when Long Island was formed.  Blue Point Brewery then combines wheat malt, Admiral, Calypso and Horizon Hops to create “Drink The Bay Clean.”     The people who invented this beer, who make it and distribute it, grew up on The Great South Bay.   They know what to drink here in the summer — this beer is floral and biting like an IPA, but refreshing like a lager.  This is Long Island’s summer beer.

With every sip, you’ll be contributing to the health of our waters.

A portion of the proceeds from Drink The Bay Clean will go to supporting Save The Great South Bay’s Creek Defender Program, which will establish a Defender for every South Shore community and for its 31 creeks, The I Love Long Island Campaign, a ‘grassroots’ effort to move from pesticides and chemical fertilizer to eco-friendly yards, and for efforts to return shellfish to The Great South Bay.

Our Facebook Group Membership (11,240 strong!) has been offering suggestions for where along The South Shore “Drink The Bay Clean”  would be served.   We’ve probably had 100 venues suggested so far — Tres Palmes, The Cull House, The Snapper Inn, South Shore Dive, JT Finley’s, etc.

Where Will “Drink The Bay Clean” Be Served?

“Drink The Bay Clean” is an India Pale Lager brewed by Blue Point Brewery to support Save The Great South Bay in its efforts to revitalize the 31 creeks that feed into the bay, to end pesticide and chemical fertilizer use on lawns, and to return shellfish to The Great South Bay.

If you are a bar or restaurant owner, and want to support Save The Great South Bay, then order your “Drink The Bay Clean” today, by the case or by the keg! If you serve it, Save The Great South Bay will drink it!

Just fill out this request form and Blue Point Brewery will be in touch!

Is Long Island At a Turning Point? Investing in Waste Water Infrastructure And Changing Our Lawn Care Practices

Long Island is about to replace its cesspools and septic tanks. Nassau County has 140,000, Suffolk 360,000. Suffolk intends to launch a pilot program that will deploy 400 units over the next two years. Albany is chipping in with $2 billion to address the issue at scale. Yet more will be needed, but everyone, seeing the problem, is stepping up. At the same time that we do this, we need to stop polluting our waters with lawn fertilizer and pesticides.

Read more

Be In Babylon For Earth Day April 22nd, and Help Make History — The Creek Defender Program Launches

ATTENTION ALL BABYLONIANS!

Save The Great South Bay’s Creek Defender Program launches on Earth Day April 22nd along The Carll’s River!

Save The Great South Bay, in conjunction with local citizens, schools, civic groups, businesses, and with other local environmental groups, will be launching its Creek Defender Program.   Save The Great South Bay believes that in order to heal the bay, we need to heal the creeks first.   There are 31 of them that flow into The Great South Bay.   The launch of The Creek Defender Program in Babylon is meant as a model for all the communities on The South Shore:   Here is how you can be effective local stewards of your bays, ponds, streams and creeks.

The first creek we will address is Carll’s River, which begins well north of The Sunrise Highway.  We’ve mapped it online like all the other 30 creeks.     Clicking on the image will take you to a live map.

 

Babylon High School, The Elementary School, The PTA, The Village of Babylon, The Town of Babylon, Seatuck,The I Love Long Island Campaign, South Shore Paddle Boards, and a number of local civic groups and businesses will gather to help clean The Carll’s River.   We must defend our creeks.  We must stop polluting them with runoff, pesticides, and lawn fertilizers, and illegal dumping.   In order to heal The Great South Bay, we need to heal the 31 creeks that flow from The South Shore into The Great South Bay.

We propose to accomplish this by organizing ten person teams of volunteers to go door to door in Babylon Village and along Carll’s River with information on The Creek Defender Program, on ecosafe lawn care and using native plantings, to proper stewardship of this river.   Babylon’s efforts on Earth Day will become a model for how we address our other South Shore creeks.

9:00 -12:00 South Shore Paddle Boards will lead a clean up of the Sumpawams, starting at their store at 258 East Main Street.

12:00-1:00 Registration, Staging (DJ), Babylon Elementary School:

1:00 – 4:00 Creek Clean Up. Door-to-Door Campaign promoting , which

4:00-8:00 After Party at The Babylon Gazebo. Kick Off by Todd Shaw, Babylon’s Creek Defender (Carlls, Sumpawams, Fosters)

Beer provided by Blue Point Brewery, Brewers of a soon-to-be released beer “Drink The Bay Clean,” with proceeds going to support The Creek Defender Program and other initiatives for the bay.

Live Music

Restaurants

Local Environmental Groups

Kudos to Babylon for showing The South Shore the way, and for creating the model through which, creek by creek, we can bequeath a healthier bay to future generations!

If you’d like to participate, drop us a line!