Water quality improvement continues to be an issue reliant on good public policy and diligent leadership for both Southampton Town and Suffolk County.
Attentive to the need for clean and safe water, Southampton officials adopted a Water Quality Improvement Plan and subsequently provided the voters of Southampton Town an opportunity to vote on a ballot initiative that proposed funding for clean water projects. Demonstrating an understanding for the necessity of healthy waters, 80 percent of Southampton voters approved the initiative, which allows for 20 percent of Community Preservation Fund revenue to be used for water quality projects.
It’s good to know that when the issue is water quality, we have a united community. What we need, too, is a united electorate to send current Southampton Town Trustee Ann Welker to the Suffolk County Legislature.
Ann is dedicated to building on successes and continuing the effort to improve our waters. Spending a good part of her life on the water, Ann has experienced firsthand why so many of our water bodies have been found on the New York State Department of Conservation’s Impaired Water list. Ann’s career path and track record demonstrate that she has the knowledge and communication skills to work with colleagues to improve those waters.
As a Town Trustee, Ann has been an able steward of our waterways, protecting beach access and preserving the maritime traditions for Southampton. Joining in collegial partnership, Ann and her fellow Trustees advise the Southampton Town Board on coastal-related issues.
Because of her experience, Ann was appointed Trustee liaison to the Community Preservation Fund Water Quality Fund, where she assists in determining grants and awards such as those for Sagg Pond, Mecox Bay and the Mill Pond Aquatic Habitat Restoration Plan.
Beyond those duties, Ann has demonstrated her commitment to clean water by participating in the community oyster gardener program at Tiana Bayside in Hampton Bays and East Hampton’s Shellfish Hatchery oyster gardening programming (adult oysters can filter 50 gallons of water a day), and volunteers with the Peconic Estuary Partnership and Seatuck Environmental Association’s river herring survey.
It’s easy to understand Ann’s passion for clean water and the natural habitat; her father, Ral Welker, established the Marine Science Program at Southampton College. Imbued with a belief in the importance of a healthy natural habitat, Ann ran for and became the first woman elected to the position of Southampton Town Trustee.
Looking ahead to the November election, we have the opportunity to match an advocate to a critical need — let’s send Ann to the Suffolk County Legislature.
Anthony is a former chair of the Southampton Town Democratic Committee — Ed.
One fine body…