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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

Oyster Bay is becoming a known name on the Long Island bar scene thanks to the recent success of its very own craft beer created by The Oyster Bay Brewing Company. Established in 2012 by Gabe Haim and Ryan Schlotter, two friends who quickly jumped at the opportunity to home brew and create their own beer, these Long Islanders are excited to be doing what they love while representing Oyster Bay.

“There is a lot of opportunity in Oyster Bay, being a hamlet on the water and on the North Shore, we thought it would be a perfect fit,” said Haim. “Oyster Bay is going through a resurgence and we wanted to be a draw in the town. “

On Saturday, July 5, Building J on the Western Waterfront was opened to the public for a free concert of classical music played by talented youth in the Oyster Bay Music Festival. The acoustics in the large metal shed were lively as the backdrop of the Ida May, a wooden oyster dredge under construction, lent artisanal flavor to the rich stew of mostly sea-related musical selections. People sat on stacks and benches of freshly milled wood or stood in the cavernous space. They soaked in beautiful solos, duets and trios that combined voice, piano, flute, cello and violin. Frank M Flower & Sons provided fresh oysters that engaged the palate, and representatives from Steinway & Sons gave a quick overview of how their pianos are made, relating several aspects of their meticulous process to the construction of the Ida May.


Sports

Oakcliff’s intensive training program provided a high level of competition last weekend at the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship in Oyster Bay.

This year, the teams selected for the event were highly ranked through the United States, and several of the competitors are past and current Oakcliff trainees, including Elizabeth Shaw, Kathryn Shiber, Madeline Gill, and Danielle Gallo.

A total of 11 members of St. Dominic Track Team (grades 1-8) recently medaled at the Nassau-Suffolk CYO Championship Finals at Mitchel Field. In the finals, the athletes competed against the finalists from all three regions, representing more than 2,500 athletes from 23 other parishes.

In addition to the student athletes’ success, the track coaches were honored as well. St. Dominic CYO Track coaches Phil Schade (grades 1-3), Julie and Mike Keffer (grades 4-6) and Rich Cameron (grades 7-8) were selected by peer coaches in their region for the NSCYO Team Sportsmanship Award. The Saint Dominic CYO track program, in its second year, has already proven to be a force to be reckoned with and the young runners are among the best on Long Island.


Calendar

July Band Concerts

Wednesday, July 30

Babysitting and First Aid Workshop

Thursday, July 31

Opera Night

Saturday, Aug. 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