The nonprofit Peconic Baykeeper organization, charged with safeguarding East End waterways, has lost its lead watchdog, an agency spokeswoman confirmed. Kevin McAllister, who served as president of the group for more than 15 years, is no longer affiliated with the organization.
“We’re looking forward to continuing our projects and programs,” said Alexandra Millar, a spokeswoman for the group. She said she was unable to comment further on Mr. McAllister’s sudden departure.
Mr. McAllister could not be immediately reached for comment.
Ms. Millar said the organization’s most recent water quality litigation, involving the state Parks Department and the state Department of Environmental Conservation, will still be moving forward.
Mr. McAllister was expected to speak at a March 8 water quality forum in East Marion, but was unable to attend. Another organization member took his place on short notice.
Last Thursday he lobbied at a Suffolk County Legislature’s Health Committee meeting for a bill to limit the county’s use of methoprene, a chemical used to manage mosquito populations, according to a Newsday report.
Terry Backer, lead advocate for Long Island Soundkeeper, which teamed up with the Peconic organization for its most recent litigation said: “He was very dedicated to our great natural resources in the region. We’ve worked together on a number of issues. He was a great edition to the water keeper movement.”
Mr. McAllister was one of the first advocates to become a member of the now 200-plus water keeper movement around the world, Mr. Backer said.
Richard Amper, the executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society praised Mr. McAllister’s work to protect Long Island waters.
“Kevin has been a champion of protecting Long Island’s maritime resources for a long time and it will be important for the organization to find a solid replacement,” Mr. Amper said.
Mr. McAllister was honored last year by The North Fork Environmental Council as its Environmentalist of the Year.
“Kevin wears his passion on his sleeve, but it’s his work ethic, his dedication to doing what is right and his ability to challenge us to be better stewards of our lands and waters, of our future, which makes him stand head and shoulders above the rest,” said Bill Toedter, NFEC president, in a press release last year.