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How's the Water? - May 7, 2010

Oyster Bay’s beaches and harbors are much cleaner, thanks to an incredible effort by a crew of hard-working volunteers. The event was coordinated by the North Oyster Bay Baymen’s Association, Town of Oyster Bay, and Friends of the Bay. Volunteers literally came by the busload to celebrate Earth Day by removing tons of garbage and litter that had accumulated over the winter months.


In all 20 tons of garbage were removed, filling four container loads. When you think of how small some of that material is – cigarette butts, bottle caps, it is just astonishing.

The Town of Oyster Bay workers are to be commended – I don’t think they stopped the whole day, whether helping to offload the debris that was brought in by the baymen and volunteers who went out to clean the beaches or collecting the litter that was picked up on the shoreline. As fast as the boats came in, laden with debris, they were there to offload it.

I was watching the payloaders scooping up the materials that were brought in and I could not help but wish that more people were there to see it – the variety and amount of material brought in was astounding. (For a video montage of the day, see Friends of the Bay’s blog at I could only think of my sons, who would have loved to watch the big trucks.

A tally sheet used at the International Coastal Cleanup was given to volunteers to fill out regarding the amount and type of debris collected. The results are not scientific, but do closely mirror the results in the International Coastal Cleanup. The No 1 item was cigarette butts at 38 percent of the debris and followed closely by caps, lids, glass and plastic bottles. This is all entirely preventable!

I think that Mitch Kramer of Tow Boat US won the prize for the most heavily laden boat – he had an amazing assortment of material on his boat. The Town of Oyster Bay marine services units pulled out heavy pilings and large materials. The Friends of the Bay crew found a tire, and met a couple of playful golden retrievers on Centre Island beach. We cleared off the tire and quite a few bags of debris and threw tennis balls for the dogs. It was very satisfying for all.

The North Oyster Bay Baymen’s Association hosted a barbecue which was very much enjoyed by everyone. Fresh Oyster Bay clams on the half shell – how can you beat it!  The next harbor cleanup is scheduled for Sept. 25. It will be a very special date, since it is the 25th anniversary of the International Coastal Cleanup. Mark the date, and plan to come down. Every individual’s efforts really make a difference – and it is deeply appreciated.

 This Week’s Results

The dissolved oxygen levels dropped a bit, to levels at 7.50 milligrams of Dissolved Oxygen at all sites in the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor estuary. Levels at 5.0 mg/L of DO are considered to be healthy for all marine organisms.

Our water quality monitoring season began on April 8 and will continue until the end of October. If you are interested in assisting in our effort to preserve and protect the waters of the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor estuary, or want to report an activity that may be threatening the estuary/watershed please visit us online at or give us a call at 922-6666. Friends of the Bay’s mission is to preserve, protect and restore the ecological integrity and productivity of the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor estuary and the surrounding watershed.