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OB/CSH Protection Committee Signs On

In stark contrast to the divisive political scene in Washington, elected officials representing 14 local governments in the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor watershed came together on Aug. 8 to officially establish the Oyster Bay / Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee.

With beautiful Oyster Bay Harbor as the backdrop representatives from 11 villages, two towns and Nassau County pledged their commitment to an inter-municipal agreement under the new gazebo in Theodore Roosevelt Park in Oyster Bay. The agreement codifies the relationship between the municipalities that have been meeting since January 2010 at the recommendation of the environmental advocacy organization, Friends of the Bay.

Speakers at the event included Congressman Steve Israel, Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, Town of Oyster Bay Councilman Chris Coschignano, City of Glen Cove Mayor Ralph Suozzi and Bayville Mayor Doug Watson. All stressed the need for inter-municipal cooperation and the benefits that working together will have on the two harbors.

“As Friends of the Bay developed its Watershed Action Plan, it became apparent that the many local governments within the watershed were in the best position and sometimes the only ones that could implement many of the recommendations to protect and preserve these two magnificent water bodies. Working together as part of a Protection Committee enables this to happen efficiently,” said Barry Lamb, president of Friends of the Bay. “The formation of the Protection Committee became one of the top 10 priority actions of the Watershed Action Plan.”

The mission of the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee is to improve the health of Oyster Bay and Cold Spring Harbor by coordinating the efforts of all municipalities in the watershed and engaging the public. This will be accomplished by: sharing information, technology and ideas; developing and implementing best management practices, developing and adopting model ordinances, actively pursuing grants, partnerships and other sources of support for the watershed; and, enhancing awareness through educational outreach and stewardship.

“With the consistently increasing pressure on local governments to do more with less, it is critical to work with others to meet these demands,” stated Mayor Doug Watson of the Village of Bayville.

Inter-municipal partnerships like the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee have effectively enhanced conservation efforts across the country. Two successful local examples are the neighboring Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee formed in 1995 and the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee created in 1998. Working together the municipalities identified priority sources of pollution and implemented solutions that dramatically improved water quality with the support of numerous grants.

“As demonstrated in neighboring Hempstead Harbor, the power of local governments working together cannot be over emphasized. Even before being officially formed the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee has already gotten to work by partnering on a successful grant application to increase awareness of onsite waste water treatment (septic/cesspool) systems and to conduct outreach efforts through its web site and public events,” stated Eric Swenson, chair of the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee and executive director of the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee.

The 14 municipalities that have agreed to sign the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Inter-municipal Agreement are: Nassau County, Towns of Oyster Bay and Huntington, City of Glen Cove, Villages of: Bayville, Centre Island, Cove Neck, Laurel Hollow, Lloyd Harbor, Mill Neck, Lattingtown, Muttontown, Oyster Bay Cove and Upper Brookville.

“We are excited to have 14 of the 18 municipalities in the watershed officially joining the Protection Committee at this time and we appreciate the cooperation of the four municipalities (Villages of Brookville, Matinecock, Old Brookville and Suffolk County) who support the Committee’s efforts but chose not to join at this time. Provisions in the agreement enable them to join in the future when they are ready,” said Rob Crafa, coordinator of the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee.

The elected officials in attendance were:

Congressman Steve Israel

Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton

Town Councilman Chris Coschignano, Town of Oyster Bay

Margo Myles and Robert Litzke, Town of Huntington

Mayor Ralph Suozzi, City of Glen Cove

Mayor Doug Watson, Village of Bayville

Mayor Lawrence Schmidlapp, Village of Centre Island

Mayor Thomas Zoller, Village of Cove Neck

Mayor Harry Anand, Village of Laurel Hollow

Trustee Nick Bartilucci, Village of Laurel Hollow

Mayor Leland Hairr, Village of Lloyd Harbor

Mayor Clarence Michalis, Village of Lattingtown

Deputy Mayor Janet Connolly, Village of Lattingtown

Mayor Peter Quick, Village of Mill Neck

Deputy Mayor John Colgate Jr., Village of Mill Neck

Mayor Julianne Wesley Beckerman, Village of Muttontown

Mayor Rosemary Bourne, Village of Oyster Bay Cove

Trustee Frank Russo, Village of Upper Brookville

To learn more about the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee visit: www.oysterbaycoldspring harbor.org.