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How's The Water: February 15, 2013

End Of An Era

This is my last How’s The Water column as executive director of Friends of the Bay. When I walked into Friends of the Bay to be interviewed eight years ago by Kyle Rabin, I knew I cared about the community and the environment, but had little idea of the issues that Friends of the Bay was involved in. I didn’t know about dissolved oxygen, hypoxia, Pathogen TMDLs, nutrient loading, etc. Nor did I realize how complex watershed management issues, or fisheries management issues are, and how something that is seemingly simple to resolve, is not.  It was a learning curve, to be sure.  

From day one, I felt embraced and welcomed.  Oyster Bay and the surrounding communities, Bayville, Cold Spring Harbor and the many incorporated villages are very special places. People choose to live in these communities, which are not always easy to get to, and expensive to live in, because they have a love for the water and the environment.  My colleagues in the different agencies, the Department of Environmental Conservation, Environmental Protection Agency (Paula Zevin of the EPA, who worked with me to develop our Quality Assurance Project Plan for the water quality monitoring program deserves a halo for her patience), United States Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, the Town of Oyster Bay and Town of Huntington were all supportive and helpful. There are so many people working for the betterment of the community, members of the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary, other nonprofit organizations. I simply can’t imagine what it would be like without their energy and commitment.

The citizen scientists who came out do to weekly water quality monitoring deserve the thanks of the community for all their hard work. To have a water quality monitoring program run from the late 1990s is an incredible achievement. It was one of the proudest moments of my career when their work and dedication was recognized with an Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 Environmental Quality Award.

Writing this column was one of the most enjoyable parts of my job as Executive Director. To write it, I had to stop and reflect, think, about what was going on both in the wider environmental world, and what was occurring in our own harbor and watershed.  So many times, what was going on here was a microcosm of the world. Plastic pollution, for example, is a blight upon the landscape and the world’s oceans, and in Oyster Bay we find so many plastic water bottles, plastic bags, that are carelessly tossed out, to make their way into the water.

And so, it comes back to the water. People may not always have agreed with actions Friends of the Bay took, or the positions taken by the organization on controversial issues, but I think it is safe to say, that without Friends of the Bay our harbor waters would not be as clean.  There would not be a Watershed Action Plan, to draw together the agencies, other environmental organizations, municipalities and citizens to protect our watershed area. I look forward to watching Friends of the Bay continue to move forward, to implement the Watershed Action Plan, and continue to serve as an advocate for the water.

For me personally, my sincere thanks and appreciation. It’s a privilege to have been able to work with so many wonderful, dedicated people. The very best to you all in the future!

News

The Oyster Bay Charitable Fund and the Oyster Bay Rotary Club hosted the annual Oyster Festival “Kick-Off” press conference on Friday, Aug. 15 at the flagpole in Theodore Roosevelt Park.

In attendance were NY State Senator Carl Marcelino and Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, both Honorary Oyster Festival Chairmen; Oyster Bay Town Clerk James Altadonna Jr.; Oyster Bay Town Councilman Chris J. Coshignano; Oyster Bay Town Councilwoman Michelle Johnson; Oyster Bay Town Councilman Joseph Pinto; Oyster Bay Rotary President Judy Wasilchuk; Verizon Title Sponsor Representative, Director of Government Affairs Patrick Lespinasse; Executive Director, h2empower, African Studies Specialist Helen Boxwill; Oyster Festival Sports Representative James Werner; Long Island Rough Riders Representative Sarah Culmo and Emcee Harlan Friedman.

The 31st annual Oyster Festival will take place on Saturday, Oct. 18 and Sunday, Oct. 19, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.

A lot of people think that our world would be better off without all of the insects in it. Not so, according to Lois Lindberg, volunteer naturalist at the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. Lindberg and fellow naturalist Wendy Albin gave a presentation about the importance of butterflies and insects in our ecosystem at the site of Theodore Roosevelt’s former home on Saturday, Aug. 23, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

“Butterflies and other insects are very important in nature,” said Lindberg. “People see bees, wasps and ants and other insects as pests, but they actually contribute to our ecosystem by each doing their own unique job. They pollinate the flowers and fruits and without them we would not be able to eat a lot of the stuff we eat every day.”


Sports

Picture-perfect weather was on board for the Mill Neck Family of Organizations’ Third Annual Sail the Sound for Deafness Regatta on Thursday, Aug. 7. The event, featuring an evening race of yachts, followed by a cocktail party, was held to benefit the organization that serves individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have other special needs.

In this year’s race, fifteen sailors took to the waters of Oyster Bay Harbor; three aboard their own boats, others on several boats provided by Oakcliff Sailing Center. The WaterFront Center’s oyster sloop, Christeen and two vessels from Oyster Bay Marine Center, brought a total of 45 spectators out to watch the race.

Kevin Mercier, 39, of Oyster Bay, led a large contingent of local runners in the Lynne, Gartner, Dunne & Covello Sands Point Sprint 5 Kilometer Run, held on the grounds of Nassau County’s Sands Point Preserve on Saturday morning, Aug. 9. Mercier was the 18th finisher overall and third in the 35-39 age group with a time of  21 minutes, 7 seconds.

Other local runners winning awards at the Sands Point Preserve were Nicholas Cuddy of Oyster Bay, who earned first place honors in the Clydesdale Weight Division with a time of 25:53, Joanne Gallo of Oyster Bay, who  took home the first place award in the women’s 65-69 age group with a time of 28:11, and Anja Hermann of Oyster Bay, third place woman in the 20-24 age group, who finished in 28:47.


Calendar

Movie at the Library

Thursday, August 28

Sagamore Hill Walk

Saturday, August 30

Hooks and Needles

Tuesday, September 2



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com