04/06/15 8:00am
04/06/2015 8:00 AM
The Riverhead Town sewer plant off Riverside Drive. (Credit: Paul Squire file photo)

The Riverhead Town sewer plant discharges into Peconic Bay (Credit: Paul Squire file photo)

Several million dollars in the state’s newly passed $142 billion budget has been allocated to fund water quality initiatives across New York State, including two projects on Long Island.

Here is a breakdown of water quality initiatives supported in the 2015-16 state spending plan:

NITROGEN MITIGATION

What’s going on?

The state budget includes $5 million in funding to create The Long Island Nitrogen Mitigation Plan, a comprehensive strategy for mitigating nitrogen pollution in Suffolk and Nassau county waterways.

Why is it needed? (more…)

03/19/15 2:00pm
03/19/2015 2:00 PM
Waterfront homes in Jamesport along the bay. (Credit: Barbarellen Koch, file.)

Waterfront homes in Jamesport along the bay. (Credit: Barbarellen Koch, file.)

On April 2, East Enders will celebrate an important milestone: The Community Preservation Fund will have generated over $1 billion and preserved more than 10,000 acres of open space and farmland. Approved by voters in 1999, the CPF uses a small tax on real estate purchases to preserve land and protect drinking water.

It is arguably the most successful land preservation program in the country. (more…)

02/27/15 10:00am
02/27/2015 10:00 AM
A sandbar juts into Peconic Bay at the end of Pine Neck Road in Southold. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

A sandbar juts into Peconic Bay at the end of Pine Neck Road in Southold. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The issue of antiquated or failing septic systems compromising the quality of the East End’s ground and surface waters is once again taking center stage as the region presses for help from Albany to deal with polluted waters.  (more…)

02/27/15 9:59am

Words such as “crisis” and “urgent” often lose their currency when public officials spend them as freely as sailors on sprees.

But credit Shelter Island Supervisor Jim Dougherty — chairman of the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association — for pursuing an end to a fully realized crisis confronting the region’s future in the form of polluted groundwater and the waters that surround us(more…)

11/21/14 6:00am
11/21/2014 6:00 AM
A view of Mattituck Inlet (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

A view of Mattituck Inlet (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

Because it’s not something that’s very visible to the untrained eye — or even, really, the trained eye — deteriorating water quality can go overlooked and underemphasized. When you start talking about nitrogen content in water in parts per billion, it doesn’t quite demand the attention that, for instance, asbestos dumped in a children’s playground might.  (more…)

11/12/14 5:30pm
11/12/2014 5:30 PM
A view of Mattituck Inlet (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

A view of Mattituck Inlet (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

While lawmakers have proposed legislation to deal with deteriorating water quality such as mandating the use of costly wastewater treatment systems, one East End legislator has an idea for how to go about paying for such initiatives.

Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) has proposed using a portion of monies raised in the Community Preservation Fund, a law passed 16 years ago which taxes real estate transfers on the first East End towns.

Revenue from the CPF has been devoted strictly to open space purchases, protecting land from development in the towns.

But Mr. Thiele — the same lawmaker who sponsored the original CPF legislation — said it is time to use some of that money for water treatment systems and other clean water projects.

(more…)

09/26/14 4:00pm
09/26/2014 4:00 PM
Aaron Virgin, VP of Group for the East End; Jim Dreeben, owner of Peconic Paddler; and Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter down by the Peconic River on Friday morning. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Aaron Virgin, VP of Group for the East End; Jim Dreeben, owner of Peconic Paddler; and Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter down by the Peconic River on Friday morning. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

All week long, North Fork natives have been raising a glass to the coastlines they call dear, joining water lovers across the nation for the 26th Annual National Estuaries Week — using social media to spread water quality awareness.

(more…)

08/22/14 11:00am
08/22/2014 11:00 AM
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)

It’s a well-known story around these parts: One summer, around the mid-1980s, an explosion of harmful algae began to appear, sucking oxygen out of bay waters causing a die-off of eelgrass, shellfish and even finfish.

For the past few decades, the seasonal story has been on repeat — not only here, but in other states along the East Coast. It’s the result of nitrogen and other nutrients leaching into groundwater, mostly from underground cesspools and septic tanks.  (more…)