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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

This year you can expect to see the Freedom Schooner Amistad, Connecticut’s flagship, tied up on the Western Waterfront Pier at the Oyster Festival on Oct. 18 and 19. The ship is a Baltimore Clipper that is 129 feet in length and weighs 96 tons. Its home port is New Haven, Conn.

The tall ship visits ports worldwide, as an ambassador for friendship. It serves as a floating classroom, icon and monument to many souls that were broken or lost as the result of the transatlantic slave trade.

The original Amistad, which means friendship in Spanish, was made famous in 1839 when 53 African captives (men, women and children) transported from Havana revolted against their captors. The captives gained control of the ship under the leadership of Sengbe Pieh, later known as Joseph Cinque, who commanded the ship’s navigator to return them to Sierra Leone. Instead, the ship headed north, landing in Long Island, and was taken into custody by the United States Navy.

Diamond Fitness held its grand opening on Saturday, Sept. 6. Members of the Historic Oyster Bay-East Norwich Chamber of Commerce came out to meet Wendy Goldstein, her staff and her re-invented gym at 138 South St.

Goldstein said she was touched by the warmth of the people who came into the gym to welcome her, even before the official opening. “People came in to say hello, saying they had heard that the gym had changed hands. It warms my heart,” she said.

Goldstein attended a chamber meeting and is now a member. Nassau County Legislator Donald McKenzie helped Goldstein cut the red ribbon as chamber members Walter Imperatore and Michele Browner cheered the opening along with staff members and friends.


Sports

Football season is here and the Oyster Bay-Bayville Generals  held their opening day games on Sept. 14. Here are the results:

5 & 6 Peanuts:

The Peanuts opened the season vs. the Seaford Broncos and came out on the losing end of a hard fought game. The Lil Generals opened the game on offense and quarterback Rodney Hill, Jr. marched the offense down the field and completed the drive with a touchdown pass to Francesco Allocca. Yes, the Peanuts have a potent air attack with Hill Jr. going two for two for 26 yards. The defense played strong with Allocca leading the team in tackles with help on the defensive line from first-year players Dean Wolfe and Anthony Pelchuck.  

Former football coach and NFL player Bill Curry recently brought a wealth of experience, knowledge and history to a wide audience of student-athletes and coaches at Hofstra University for a lesson on diversity, tolerance and respect in high school athletics.

 

Director of the NYS PHSAA Sportsmanship Committee and Manhasset High School Athletic Director Jim Amen Jr. established the summit and invited Curry as keynote speaker.

Amen Jr. and Section VIII Executive Director Nina Van Erk introduced Curry to a crowd representing more than 37 local high schools.


Calendar

Plein Art Exhibit

Wednesday, Oct. 1

College Discussion

Monday, Oct. 6

Collecting Manuscripts

Thursday, Oct. 9



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