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Sep 12, 2017 2:14 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Governor Cuomo Designates The Shinnecock Bay As A Shellfish Sanctuary

Sep 12, 2017 2:55 PM

Shinnecock Bay, along with four other water bodies in Suffolk and Nassau counties, was named a “sanctuary site” by Governor Andrew Cuomo last week, where shellfish will be raised to bolster both water quality and the economy.

The designation announced by the governor on Wednesday, September 6, means that $10.4 million will be spent on Long Island from the $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act that he signed earlier this year, which aims to bolster filter-feeding shellfish populations that can contribute to improvements in water quality.

“Protecting our natural assets is critically important for Long Island, and by restoring our shellfish populations and investing in the preservation of New York’s coastal communities, we will strengthen the regional economy, create new jobs and ensure our waters are clean,” Gov. Cuomo said at a press conference in Halesite last week.

He added, “We have one simple obligation: to leave this place better than we found it, and as we face the ongoing challenge of climate change, New York will continue to invest now to preserve the quality, resiliency and natural beauty of Long Island for generations to come.”

Of the $10.4 million to be spent on Long Island, about $5.25 million will go to Cornell Cooperative Extension in Suffolk County and Nassau County. Cornell Cooperative Extension will use the money to set up hatcheries and distribute shellfish at the newly defined sanctuary sites, and monitor their progress.

Up to 179 million locally grown and harvested shellfish will be seeded over the next two years at all of the sites, including Shinnecock Bay, the governor’s office said. Each site will include a mixture of shellfish, including adult and juvenile clams, as well as oysters. Tests will be done at each site to make sure the shellfish are reproducing, growing and thriving in the sanctuaries.

About $3.15 million of the $10.4 million will be used to purchase 28 million adult shellfish from local harvesters and distributors to be used for the reproductive process at spots throughout Suffolk and Nassau counties.

The other $2 million will go toward a grant program to build and expand upon the hatcheries. Recipients could get up to $400,000, according to the press release, and discussion with the towns of Southampton, East Hampton, Brookhaven, Hempstead and Islip, as well as the Shinnecock Indian Nation, have begun to identify eligible projects.

The governor also said a Shellfish Restoration Council will be established and co-chaired by Stony Brook University, Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Billion Oyster Project to monitor progress at the sanctuary and transplant sites, and coordinate training and educational efforts in the New York Marine and Coastal District.

“Governor Cuomo is an unparalleled advocate for Long Island, and this investment is the latest proof of his commitment,” Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said in a prepared statement. “This initiative will help create jobs, support economic growth and ensure clean water for our communities.”

The efforts to seed shellfish in the sanctuary waters is based on the effects of healthy shellfish populations on local waters. When numbers are healthy, they can filter about 40 percent of the area waters daily, according to the governor’s office. Over the years, the numbers of shellfish in areas like Shinnecock Bay have declined to where the shellfish can filter only about 1 percent of the bay per day.

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To bad the 2 million dollars spent by the Town on raising Dune Rd. Couldn't have been spent on Shinnecock Bay water quality.
By SaltyDog (4), Sag Harbor on Sep 14, 17 6:41 AM
Stop the pollution... JMO
By knitter (1907), Southampton on Sep 14, 17 8:11 PM