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Letter: North Oyster Bay Baymen’s Association vs. Frank M. Flowers

 As I was riding my bike through Theodore Memorial Park, I noticed children over the sea wall by the Marina side of the park. I saw that there were more than several horseshoe crabs at the shore line. The children had sticks and they were poking them and throwing rocks. I went over to them to explain that they were living creatures that have been around for many years. It was okay to watch them because they are so different and unusual but it wasn’t okay to harm them. They listened and we all watched them and went our separate ways. The children were very nice and open to what I was saying.

As I rode away I thought what will happen to those horseshoe crabs when tomorrow Frank M. Flower and Sons will take out their suction vacuum dredging boats and kill non-harvested species in its path. Frank M. Flowers uses two types of dredging, mechanical and hydraulic dredgers. Mechanical dredging sucks up the soil and hydraulic dredging blasts the bottom with water. There is a New York Environmental Law 13-1309, that prohibits dredging on public waters or unleased land. Dredging is banned nationally because of the damage it does. So, one would think that if land was leased and dredged, what kind of guide lines are put in place to monitor the dredging activity? If you get a permit to build a structure, there are codes to follow and a building inspector comes into play. Frank M. Flowers has a dredging fleet and just replaced a very old vessel with a new state of the art vessel. How much more sediments and destroying of non-harvested species are capable from this new vessel compared to the old boat? Is anyone monitoring the dredging? How many boats go out, how often are the boats going over the same areas, how deep is the dredging, is it done when the tide comes into our beaches, are there soil samples or water samples taken after the dredging and how many non-harvested species die on any given day of dredging? There have been studies done with pros and cons but not specific to this bay. Has anyone looked into Grow-Out Bags as an alternative? This type of shell fish harvesting is being done in Florida, Washington State and in the UK and parts of Europe.

With the environment at a tipping point, maybe it is time to look at smarter ways of doing things. Can we be so sure going into the future, will there be any horseshoe crabs to see or any other non-harvested species in our bay?

I am currently on the Advisory Board of Friends of the Bay and have expressed my concerns to them as well as to Supervisor Venditto.

Frances Leone