10/03/14 4:00pm
10/03/2014 4:00 PM
Riverhead High School students count the different types of species caught in their seine. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Riverhead High School students count the different types of species caught in their seine. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Students immersed chest-high in waders as they worked with fishing nets explored East End shorelines Wednesday morning, learning what “A Day in the Life of the Peconic Estuary” is like.

About 400 middle and high school students ditched their classrooms, rolling up their sleeves to collect data samples from one of 11 different beaches in an endeavor sponsored by over 30 environmental agencies to help inspire younger generations to learn about water quality issues.

(more…)

08/23/14 3:00pm
08/23/2014 3:00 PM
Rust tide caused by Cochlodinium in Peconic Estuary in 2012. (Credit: Bill Portlock)

Rust tide caused by Cochlodinium in Peconic Estuary in 2012. (Credit: Bill Portlock)

If you’re a resident in one of the five eastern towns surrounding the Peconic Estuary, the nonprofit Peconic Green Growth wants to hear from you to better understand area wastewater practices. (more…)

08/13/14 8:00am
08/13/2014 8:00 AM
Rust tide. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Rust tide, a harmful algal bloom, has been detected at East Creek in South Jamesport. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

For the first time this season, rust tide has been detected in the Peconic Estuary, experts confirmed Tuesday.

Chris Gobler, a marine biologist at Stony Brook University and leader of the Long Island Coastal Conservation and Research Alliance, said the harmful algal bloom has been detected in East Creek, on the north side of Flanders Bay in South Jamesport. (more…)

05/10/14 4:00pm
05/10/2014 4:00 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO A view of Peonic Bay from Mattituck beach

A view of Peonic Bay from Mattituck beach. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

County officials will be joining local farmers and environmentalists in Cutchogue Monday morning to urge the federal government to help fund projects aimed at restoring Long Island Sound and the Peconic Estuary. (more…)

06/29/11 8:36pm
06/29/2011 8:36 PM

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Riverhead town supervisor Sean Walter speaks at a celebration Wednesday for the completion of the Peconic River fish passage project.

The fish passage at Grangebel Park had a big party in its honor Wednesday morning, as local, state and federal officials gathered to celebrate the receipt of the Coastal America award for the Peconic River Fishway Partnership Team.

The fish passage project, which was about 10 years in the making, replaced an old dam that was built many years ago and was blocking alewives from traveling from the salt water portion of the river to the fresh water part, where they spawn.

The alewives are born in the fresh water and live in the bay, but return to the fresh water to spawn. The dam was replaced with a rock passageway that the fish can navigate on their own.

“Over the years, when places like this were built, we didn’t know what we were doing, necessarily,” Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said. “We never really understood the damage to the environment.”

Mr. Walter said it’s nice to know that such environmental damage can be undone.

“One of my proudest moments as town supervisor was when that seal was chasing the alewives up the fish passage in Grangebel Park last year, because that means that we did the right thing and we corrected something that was wrong, and we repaired the environment,” he said.

Coastal America is a nationwide partnership of federal agencies, state and local governments, and private organizations “that work together to restore and protect our coastal marine environment,” said Virginia Tippie, the group’s director.

Two private corporations that are Coastal America members, National Grid and Specra Energy Partners, came up with the money to allow the project to move forward at a time when it looked like government funding would fall about $40,000 short, she said.

“This fish passage project has turned a stretch of the Peconic River back into the important fish habitat it once was,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck, who was present Wednesday. “The rock ramp for fish in Grangebel Park will be vital to re-establishing populations of American eel and alewife, both of which have dramatically declined in recent years.”

Shortly after it was constructed last spring, the fish ramp was dedicated in remembrance of Bob Conklin, the former Riverhead biology teacher who was the driving force behind the project. Around 1998, Mr. Conklin began organizing spaghetti dinners and knocking on doors at area businesses to try to raise cash for a solution to help the alewives travel upstream, a problem that had gnawed at him for years.

He later recruited Jim Miller of the Calverton-based Miller Environmental Group for help, and their efforts raised some $25,000 for an aluminum fish ladder that was installed each spring for about a decade.

As the years went by, grant money came in from various agencies to fund the permanent and more effective structure.

Mr. Conklin died at age 71 in December, just three months before construction of the passage was completed.

The $1.37 million fish passage project was part of an overhaul upgrade of Grangebel Park that includes restoring the bulkheads and pedestrian footbridges and building a new bandstand and lights. Town officials have estimated that more than $5 million in renovations have been made at the park over the past 10 years.

tgannon@timesreview.com

12/06/10 9:00am
12/06/2010 9:00 AM

The Peconic Estuary Project is seeking concerned residents to join its Citizen’s Advisory Committee, the organization’s outreach and education arm. An informational meeting for prospective members will be held Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Southampton Town Community Center in Flanders.

The CAC works to connect community interests and concerns with PEP program goals. Its members share their time and skills and offer ideas aimed at protecting the Peconics and sustaining the local environment. Anyone who wants to make a difference — teachers, artists, boaters, fishermen, business owners, students and so on — can get involved and contribute.

For more meeting information, contact Jennifer Skilbred at 765-6540, ext. 212, or jskilbred@eastendenvironment.org.