Category: Creek Defender

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,


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!



Be In Babylon For Earth Day: The Creek Defender Launch


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


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!