03/24/15 5:44pm
03/24/2015 5:44 PM
Councilman George Gabrielsen inspecting the material at EPCAL. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Councilman George Gabrielsen inspecting the material at EPCAL. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

About a month after test results showed material dumped at Enterprise Park at Calverton contained traces of DDT, asbestos and other chemicals, the town learned this week that the state Department of Environmental Conservation is recommending complete removal of the material from the town-owned land. (more…)

03/18/15 12:05pm
03/18/2015 12:05 PM
Opponents of the Riverhead Terminal expansion on Sound Shore Road Monday afternoon (from left): Northville Beach Civic Association president Neil Krupnick, Ann Weiser, Greg Genovese of the Highlands Club community, John Cullen and Dave Gruner. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Opponents of the Riverhead Terminal expansion on Sound Shore Road Monday afternoon (from left): Northville Beach Civic Association president Neil Krupnick, Ann Weiser, Greg Genovese of the Highlands Club community, John Cullen and Dave Gruner. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Safety. Traffic. The environment.

Residents of the Northville area of Riverhead and beyond have been concerned about all three ever since United Riverhead Terminal Inc. first appeared before the Riverhead Town Board in September with plans to expand its sprawling petroleum storage facility alongside Long Island Sound.

Over the last few months, some have harkened back more than 50 years, to the time when people then living in neighboring Northville Beach fought but failed to stop construction of the massive string of tanks that punctuates the otherwise wooded and rural landscape.  (more…)

03/11/15 12:28pm
03/11/2015 12:28 PM
A mute swan mother with her cygnets in East Marion last year. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

A mute swan mother with her cygnets in East Marion last year. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

A newly revised state Department of Environmental Conservation plan to deal with mute swan populations in the state would focus on non-lethal management of their numbers on Long Island, only calling for lethal methods as a “last resort.”

That’s still too often for some, including state Senator Ken LaValle.  (more…)

11/07/14 12:01pm
11/07/2014 12:01 PM
Gary Joyce of Aquebogue (left) and Ed Densieski of Riverhead sort through a catch. They said they often throw away more empty scallop shells than healthy keepers. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Gary Joyce of Aquebogue (left) and Ed Densieski of Riverhead sort through a catch. They said they often throw away more empty scallop shells than healthy keepers. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Early Monday morning, under cover of darkness and beneath a star-lit sky, Ed Densieski and Gary Joyce boarded their custom-outfitted boat, dressed head to toe in vibrant all-weather gear.

Unfazed by the blustery chill, the pair headed out through Southold Bay, with Brick Cove Marina at their backs.

It was the start of their 16th scalloping season and, as Mr. Densieski said, “There’s only one opening day.”  (more…)

09/18/14 2:00pm
09/18/2014 2:00 PM
Deer in the backyard of a Southold home. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

Deer in the backyard of a Southold home. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

Several farmers who were previously unable to receive deer damage permits to hunt on their property offseason now have the green light to do so.

Arising as an unintended consequence from a lawsuit aimed at a controversial deer cull, a state Supreme Court judge put a halt to new DDPs this March but temporarily lifted the order against the state Department of Environmental Conservation last week.  (more…)

08/31/14 11:00am
08/31/2014 11:00 AM
Canada geese in the Peconic River just south of Riverhead's West Main Street. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

Canada geese in the Peconic River just south of Riverhead’s West Main Street. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

In an effort to spur forward movement on lots along the Peconic River, Riverhead Town is expected to apply for a special Department of Environmental Conservation classification for acreage on West Main Street. (more…)

08/22/14 1:00pm
08/22/2014 1:00 PM
White-tailed deer grazing in Southold Tuesday. Supervisor Scott Russell has called reducing the local deer population the town's number one priority.  (Credit: Katharine Schreoder)

White-tailed deer grazing in Southold Tuesday. Supervisor Scott Russell has called reducing the local deer population the town’s number one priority. (Credit: Katharine Schreoder)

Last year, a total of 30 deer that had wandered onto Half Hollow Nurseries in Laurel were shot and killed. The shootings were all legal, allowed by off-season nuisance permits issued by the state.

This year, not a single deer has been killed there during the off-season, said general manager Karl Novak.  (more…)

08/08/14 10:00am
08/08/2014 10:00 AM
An application by the Department of Environmental Conservation for a four-car parking lot at the end of Beach Way, a private road in Baiting Hollow, has prompted nearby homeowners to sue the state agency. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

An application by the Department of Environmental Conservation for a four-car parking lot at the end of Beach Way, a private road in Baiting Hollow, has prompted nearby homeowners to sue the state agency. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

In a town awash with thousands of parking spaces, an application for another four might not seem like that big of a deal.

But tucked away on the far side of a private road in Baiting Hollow, abutting land the New York State Department of State has labeled “irreplaceable,” four parking spaces the state Department of Environmental Conservation permitted itself last year are creating quite a stir.

A group of Baiting Hollow homeowners have taken the DEC to court over the proposed spaces, claiming the state regulatory authority went out of bounds in granting itself a tidal wetlands permit for the spots “in secret — free from any public awareness and scrutiny,” according to court filings.

“If I wanted to build on that DEC piece of property, they would make me go through a full environmental review of the impacts,” said Frank Isler, the Riverhead attorney representing the Baiting Hollow Beach Association. “It’s surprising to us that they didn’t do that themselves. And our argument is that they can’t benefit from mishandling a procedure incorrectly.”

Last summer, the DEC filed for — and approved — four parking spaces in a .2-acre lot at the west end of Beach Way, a private road at the end of Edwards Avenue overlooking the Long Island Sound. The application calls for the removal of approximately 100 cubic yards of sand to be replaced with pervious material to facilitate car use. In addition, it proposes removing an existing gate on the site and installing guard rails along the perimeter of the parking area.

The .2-acre site abuts a larger, 81-acre parcel also owned by the DEC — land the agency says it wants to open to the public. In 2005, those lands, called the Baiting Hollow Wetlands and Beach, were added to a list of “significant coastal fish and wildlife habitats” by New York State’s Department of State.

“Any activity that would disturb or eliminate marsh, natural beach, and duneland plant communities would result in a loss of valuable wildlife species,” the designation states. The 81-acre property — one of about 250 such areas statewide — is considered “an important nesting site” for the endangered piping plover and the threatened least tern, according to the DOS.

But members of the Baiting Hollow Beach Association argue that the DEC’s application ignored that designation. And because the application was deemed to have a minor impact on the environment, notification otherwise required was not given, and neighbors were unaware of the permit until weeks after it was filed. One homeowner, Roger Schilling, said he heard about the permit in passing as he tried to obtain repair permits for his own property.

But by then, it was too late to challenge the DEC’s permit, as a 30-day window had already passed by the time homeowners filed suit.

“As soon as we heard about it, we brought [the legal challenge,]” Mr. Isler said.

Mr. Schilling said the project would require some “major dune bulldozing” to clear land for the parking spaces.

“Part of that dune is what saves the back row of houses [on Beach Way] from flooding,” he said. “That’s why this is one of the things that infuriates us, by calling it a minor project. It’s a major project.”