Just as the Hamptons Municipal Board was making progress toward a solution for removing harmful blue-green algae blooms from South Fork waters, a new hurdle emerged: Community Homeowners for Algae and Mold Protection (CHAMP). The well-funded national conservation group, which aims to “watch out for nature’s underdogs,” officially established a local branch last month and organized a protest with dozens of demonstrators at Lake Agawam in Southampton last week. The Hamptons Police Department kept order as tensions mounted at the scene.
According to a statement handed out during the protest, “CHAMP is doing everything possible to ensure no innocent algae is harmed in the Hamptons.” Group members say all nature deserves protecting—even if humans don’t like it.
Delivering a speech before allies and opponents on Tuesday, CHAMP Hamptons President Millie Haverstraw Mackie shouted into her megaphone, “Hypocrisy overflows behind these hedgerows! The very same people who yell and scream about the horrors of culling deer and mute swans, or who complain when neighbors dare to cut down a healthy tree, are now standing in support of an algae genocide right here in their backyards!”
Mackie elaborated further following the protest. “Just because folks may not like blue-green algae, doesn’t mean they have the right to plan for its systematic demise,” the CHAMP president said. “Imagine if everyone could go around killing any living thing they don’t like, or that makes their lives less convenient—we’d be living in a lifeless wasteland,” she continued. “It’s diabolical and horrifying what they’re looking to achieve here.”
Proponents of the algae removal plan point out that this particular species is devastating the local ecosystem and will eventually find its way toward harming humans, especially those who live in the vicinity of Lake Agawam and other affected bodies of water. “Ms. Mackie claims our actions will lead to a ‘lifeless wasteland,’ but that’s exactly what we’re trying to avoid here,” a counter protestor and homeowner on Lake Agawam, Gus Manman, said on Tuesday. “I’m just trying to keep my children and pets safe from harm.”
Thanks to CHAMP and the pressures they’ve brought, the Hamptons Municipal Board is putting their algae removal project on hold, pending further review and investigation. As they explained in a press release, “We have to listen when anyone complains. We cannot let even the most well-researched and sensible project commence if a single resident takes issue with it. But we’ll certainly allocate lots of funding to our legal team so they can figure it out in court.”
The Board expects the case to play out over the next three to five years before they can agree to continue their review to decide whether or not to possibly consider the issue, maybe.