The Peconic Baykeeper has awarded $10,000 to Stony Brook University’s Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program to sponsor a shellfish spawner sanctuary in a certain location in the bay. Working with the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at the Stony Brook Southampton campus, this grant will fund a chosen clam sanctuary and representatives from the Peconic Baykeeper will assist marine scientists from Stony Brook in the deployment of clams in Shinnecock Bay.
“Throughout Long Island, we are battling an increasing array of water quality issues including increased nitrogen in our ground and surface waters,” said Professor Christopher Gobler, Associate Dean for Marine Sciences at the Stony Brook Southampton campus. “We are seeing a growing litany of impaired water bodies, 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.”
As filter feeders, shellfish are vital to balancing nutrient levels and helping to maintain the overall health of the bays. Based on research conducted by Stony Brook marine biologists, a link has been established between increased nitrogen levels in ground and surface waters, the rise of harmful algal blooms and the collapse of our once flourishing shellfish populations. “It has been well established that a healthy shellfish population is the key to clean water and a thriving estuarine environment,” said Daniel J. Gulizio, Peconic Baykeeper Board member. “We are very excited to partner with Stony Brook University’s Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program to advance our shared vision of a healthy Shinnecock Bay.”
Taking steps to overturn the decline of our local estuarine environment, the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program is reconstructing shellfish populations from purposefully placed spawner safe havens around the bay. “Effectively addressing the region’s water quality issues will take a comprehensive approach,” said Gulizio. “Peconic Baykeeper will continue to use advocacy, science, education and the law to fight for your fundamental right to clean water.”