06/28/14 10:00am
06/28/2014 10:00 AM
(Credit: The Nature Conservancy)

This map uses pie charts to break down the various sources and levels of nitrogen pollution found in the Peconic Estuary from Calverton to Montauk and Orient. Click on map to enlarge. (Credit: The Nature Conservancy)

The Nature Conservancy released a report last week on the various ways nitrogen finds its way from the air and land and into surface waters throughout the Peconic Estuary.

The report’s data shows that causes of nitrogen pollution vary significantly across the East End.

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06/27/14 12:00pm
06/27/2014 12:00 PM
A view of the bay and SHelter Island from Pepi's Restaurant in Southold, near Port of Egypt. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

A view of the bay and SHelter Island from Pepi’s Restaurant in Southold, near Port of Egypt. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Despite the op/ed pieces, press conferences, television appearances and lobbying by county and state officials and environmentalists from across the region, 2014 may not be the year for clean water on Long Island.

The state Senate failed to act last week on sweeping legislation aimed at safeguarding Nassau and Suffolk county’s many bays and tributaries, Long Island Sound and groundwater aquifers.

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06/23/14 12:00pm
06/23/2014 12:00 PM
This sod farm on the east side of Edwards Avenue, just north of the railroad, may host a 38-acre solar energy farm. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

This sod farm on the east side of Edwards Avenue, just north of the railroad, may host a 38-acre solar energy farm. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

A solar company out of San Francisco has proposed building over 30,000 solar panels on a Calverton sod farm, the second large solar farm in the area pitched in recent weeks.

S Power Solar is planning on buying 45 acres from DeLalio Sod Farms on the east side of Edwards Avenue, just north of Tuthill Petroleum and the Long Island Rail Road. The site is just north of a LIPA/PSEG Long Island substation.

The proposal is to build 30,460 solar energy panels on 38 acres of the land, with the capacity of generating up to 6.3 megawatts of energy.

S Polar has a purchase agreement with LIPA/PSEGLI to sell the power to the utility provider. The 20-year agreement is facing time constraints, the applicant said at Thursday’s Riverhead Town Planning Board meeting, where they urged the board to approve the project quickly.

The Planning Board has scheduled a public hearing on the plan, scheduled for July 17 at 3 p.m.

S Power Solar also will need three property line setback variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals, which has a June 26 hearing planned.

The Planning Board also recently granted preliminary site plan approval to another solar farm in the same area.

STR Systems of Kingston, N.Y. is leasing 14 acres south of the Riverhead Charter School on Route 25 in Calverton, just east of Edwards Avenue, in order to build 13,068 solar panels that would produce about three megawatts of power, which also would be sold to LIPA/PSEG.

That applicant also has said they have a 20-year agreement with LIPA/PSEG and as such, face time constraints in getting the project approved.

Both projects are located in land zoned for industrial uses, although the DeLalio property is currently being used as a sod farm.

Figuring out where to permit solar farms came up in town hall recently, as the Riverhead Town Board discussed a proposal on Thursday to ban solar farms that sell energy back to LIPA/PSEG on all agriculturally-zoned property, and to only allow it in industrially-zoned land.

The prohibition would not apply to farms that have solar panels to generate power for the farm operation, rather than to sell to a LIPA/PSEG. It also wouldn’t apply to the town itself, which is proposing to build solar panels on a number of town-owned properties.

In addition, the proposed prohibition discussed by the Town Board would only apply to ground-based solar panels, as opposed to ones mounted on a building.

“If you allow this use on farmland, they will come in here in droves and turn it into an industrial property,” Supervisor Sean Walter said.

Councilman George Gabrielsen, who is a farmer, said he feels that permitting the sale of solar energy could drive up the price of farmland, and if that happens, “goodbye future farmland, because no one will be able to afford it.”

The Town Board will need to hold a public hearing on its proposal to ban solar farms on agriculturally-zoned land, but has yet to set that date.

06/21/14 4:00pm
06/21/2014 4:00 PM
County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) presenting Lori Luscher and Greta Schiller with proclamations thanking them for their work removing the invasive plant phragmites from Marion Lake. (Credit: Carrie Miller Photo)

County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) presenting Greta Schiller (left) and Lori Luscher with proclamations thanking them for their work removing the invasive plant phragmites from Marion Lake. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Community awareness and promoting activism were the themes of the evening at the North Fork Environmental Council’s annual environmental awards ceremony Thursday, where the nonprofit thanked several groups for their contributions to the local environment.

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06/20/14 5:00pm
06/20/2014 5:00 PM
Nature Conservancy researchers found causes of nitrogen pollution vary significantly across the North Fork.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

The Nature Conservancy environmental group on Thursday released a report that details the sources of nitrogen pollution researchers say are reaching surface waters throughout the Peconic Estuary.

The data presented in the report shows causes of nitrogen pollution vary significantly throughout the East End. (more…)

06/19/14 3:47pm
06/19/2014 3:47 PM
Legislation has passed both houses of the New York State legislature that would prioritize non-lethal methods of killing free-ranging mute swans. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Legislation has passed both houses of the New York State legislature that would prioritize non-lethal methods of killing free-ranging mute swans. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

It looks like the swans won’t be killed. Or at least if they are killed, it will now come as a last resort.

Legislation has passed both houses of the state Legislature that would prioritize non-lethal methods of controlling the free-ranging mute swan population.

The measure comes less than six months after the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation announced that it wanted every mute swan in the state killed or captured by the year 2025. (more…)

06/11/14 2:23pm
06/11/2014 2:23 PM
The water bill is designed to clean groundwater and prevent pollution and harmful algal blooms in the bays and Long Island Sound. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

The water bill is designed to clean groundwater and prevent pollution and harmful algal blooms in the bays and Long Island Sound. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

After an up-Island assemblyman recently pitched a clean water bill creating a timeline for improving wastewater treatment systems, matching legislation has been proposed in the state Senate, potentially clearing the way for sweeping water quality reform in Albany before the end of next week.

If signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the bill stands to affect property owners throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.  (more…)