Category: Fixing Habitats

“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!

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!

Menhaden Management

The dramatic increase in sightings of whales to our near-shore ocean waters (we’ve all seen the photos and videos of these massive creatures feasting on menhaden) is spectacular. In our opinion, this resurgence is enough of a benefit to justify the continuation of the policy direction taken by the Commission. The long-term impact of the increased population of menhaden is difficult to quantify, but it is having a positive effect on tourism and the quality of life for Long Islanders.






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Sandy and The Breach (and Now Inlet) Four Years On

Sandy and The Breach Four Years On

 

Good day everyone.   I am Marshall Brown, President and Co-Founder of Save The Great South Bay.   Today, Oct 29th, marks the 4th anniversary of Sandy, and of the inlet it created.   The accompanying slide show has been provided by Mike Busch of Great South Bay Images (www.greatsouthbayimages.com).   Sandy changed his life.     He became a photographer to help save the inlet and the bay, and a Director of Save The Great South Bay.

Our organization was formed exactly twelve weeks before Sandy, at a Sayville High School reunion. We were shocked at what had happened to the bay of our youth, and vowed to do something about it.

Then Sandy hit and revealed to us all how vulnerable we’d become, how antiquated our wastewater and electrical infrastructure was, how our marine and aquatic environments were in the process of collapsing.

But Sandy’s legacy was also one of hope.   Even as the winds were dying down, I got a call on my cell. It was from a scientist at The Nature Conservancy.

He said “You won’t believe what happened.   Fire Island breached just where it needed to.   Bellport Bay is now flushing.   We would have needed millions of dollars to do this ourselves if we could have, and Sandy did it for us.”   I wouldn’t have power for another two weeks, but during that time I made it out there. We were seeing bay bottom we hadn’t seen in decades, and a profusion of fish and birds.     Bellport Bay was coming alive.

As you all well know, The Army Corps was set to close the breach.   Every politician at the federal, state, county, and local levels were calling for it to be closed. By some miracle, the breach happened on National Parks Service land, which meant that the Corps could not close it immediately.   There was to be a 60 day observation period.   Science prevailed.   Prof. Charlie Flagg of Stony Brook was tasked with monitoring the breach, and he proved that it was stable, even if it was dynamic, and that it didn’t contribute measurably to flooding or tidal levels. That was happening up and down the Eastern Seaboard, and wasn’t limited to our humble bay.

We, the people of The South Shore, also prevailed.   From a group of 40 pre-Sandy, Save The Great South Bay quickly grew to over 600 by March 2013 for a public hearing in Bellport. We, in conjunction with Long Island’s environmentalist community, fought back hard against the politicians and the Corps. There are facts and there are fears.   Over time, the facts won out.

Today, The Army Corps, in their $1.2 billion new Fire Island to Montauk Plan or FIMP, continues to claim the breach causes flooding, even when their own analysis shows that The Fire Island, Moriches, and Shinnecock Inlets are responsible for 84% of the back bay flooding on The South Shore, with a fair amount of the remaining coming from rain on the mainland.   The Corps is in the business of breach closing and pumping sand onto beaches, a process they call ‘beach renourishment.’ This new inlet throws into question that mission. While sand dumped by the Corps gets regularly washed away by storms, requiring millions of dollars more for ‘renourishment’ as far as the eye can see, this new inlet is adding millions of cubic feet of sand along the bay side of Fire Island, widening this barrier beach, as breaches do. Its vast sandy shoals also cut down wave action when there is a storm.

In the public commentary on the draft plan, just released by The Department of Interior, The USFW criticized the Army Corps for using outdated data in their modeling and forecasts, and for offering flawed and unscientifically supported impact analyses.   At the same time the USGS stated that “The methodology of calculating shoreline change is not scientifically valid,” and “flawed” and that “the sea level rise rates used in the document are scientifically incorrect and are unrealistically low.”

With $1.2 billion to spend, The Army Corps could do a lot of good for The Great South Bay and for Long Island, but if they act on bad science, as they have, if they don’t get current and start sharing their modeling and data with the public, they will do great harm, continuing to shovel sand against the sea rather than working with nature, and seeking to revitalize it.

During these four years, we have learned it is possible to create consensus, to build local grassroots efforts for the environment.   But we have also learned that the fight most surely continues, in part because we are up against entrenched bureaucracies and mentalities. There is so much left to do to protect this inlet, to change our policies regarding breaches, and, most broadly, to save The Great South Bay. We have over 10,000 members now, in every South Shore community.

Please find us on Facebook, or on the web, and be sure to stream Water Matters, at liwater.org.   There you can hear from our marine scientists, advocates and public officials about what must be done to rescue all our local waters.   What can you do? Help restore a local creek or pond.   Step away from the lawn fertilizers and the pesticides.   Support funding for wastewater infrastructure.   The inlet is doing its part. Let’s do ours.

A Referendum On Long Island’s Future — The Water Quality Protection Fee

Suffolk County will have a referendum on The Water Quality Protection Fee on the ballot this November. For an average of $73 dollars per family of 4 per year, we can have the funds necessary to address in a large scale way the nitrogen pollution issues threatening our bays, rivers, and ponds, our drinking water, and indeed our way of life as "Islanders."






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