Peconic Baykeeper, the advocacy nonprofit dedicated to the protection of the aquatic ecosystems of the South Shore estuaries of Long Island, has awarded $10,000 to Stony Brook University’s Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program.
The money will sponsor a shellfish spawner sanctuary in a dedicated location in the bay. Representatives from Peconic Baykeeper will assist marine scientists from the school in the deployment of clams in Shinnecock Bay.
Shellfish are filter feeders, meaning they are critical for balancing the overall health of estuarine environments, according to Peconic Baykeeper. Stony Brook marine biologists have researched the link between increased nitrogen levels in surface waters, the rise of harmful algal blooms and collapse of the shellfish populations. The Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program intends to take steps to rebuild this declined shellfish population, and with the help of Peconic Baykeeper, restore Shinnecock Bay. Daniel J. Gulizio, a Peconic Baykeeper board member, stated, “Effectively addressing the region’s water quality issues will take a comprehensive approach.”
Professor Christopher Gobler, the associate dean for Marine Sciences at the Stony Brook Southampton campus, said, “We are seeing a growing litany of impaired waterbodies, routine beach closures and the collapse of our once thriving shellfish populations. This must be reversed, and Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program is a model effort, so we are grateful to the Peconic Baykeeper organization for supporting this important initiative.” The Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program hopes to survey the bay, assess the major problems associated with the decline, and replenish the beds that help raise shellfish and eelgrass.
For more information, visit the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Project website at www.shinnecockbay.org.