One Creek, One Tree at a Time

We all want to make a difference. It feels good when you do! We saved trees recently. Those trees are helping us save the Great South Bay.

Sans Souci Creek, Sayville, NY (ARCGIS)

As Sayville Creek Defender, I helped lead Save the Great South’s first wide-scale invasive removal. It was a pilot. Thanks to the talented Craig Sweezey, our photographer, we have some awesome photographs! A much larger event planned by myself and Bob Draffin, Bayport’s Creek Defender, was put off due to Covid. We will convene this larger group when it’s safe to do so. There’s still a lot of work to be done.

How are we saving the Bay in the middle of Sans Souci County Park in Sayville? The Bay is only as clean as the creeks that feed it. San Souci feeds Brown’s River. The root systems along our creeks, including San Souci, form an ecosystem that filters contaminants before they further pollute the Bay.

It all starts with SGSB’s Creek Defender model. Being a Creek Defender means you’re responsible for organizing teams to care for our creeks. Sayville has three creeks, Greenes, Mill Pond and San Souci. We’ve done a good job removing garbage. We’ve now moved into growing native plants. They help clean the Bay and protect homes by adding a buffer of plants that slow down rushing water with rising tides. Now, we’re protecting trees by removing vines that pull these beautiful trees down.

Long Island’s creeks are being overrun by English Ivy and Bittersweet. They add weight to trees which make them tumble in high rain and winds. Worse, they trap moisture that rots the trunk of a tree. If you look around, you see these dreaded invasive vines everywhere. They are killing our trees. We need to send them packing.

The most important thank you goes to anyone who picked up a shovel. And that’s everyone. It’s an unofficial rule at Save the Great South Bay. Getting dirty together is the name of the game.

Thank you again, Craig, for the great photographs. Thank you Frank Piccininni. Without your understanding, we would not be doing this next-level environmental restoration.

Marshall Brown’s vision is why we’re saving the Bay in the first place. Mary O’Malley suggested getting outside and doing a pilot. Awesome work, Mary! Doug Shaw stepped up right there with Mary. Big thanks to Emma Gillam for helping Mary O’Malley organize Jackie Gordon’s volunteers. Joe Sackman III, you were awesome! You, too, Jim Chant and Rebecca Stack Campbell!

Save the Great South Bay! One creek, one tree at a time!