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For over 30 years, garbage has been accumulating in and around Sheets Creek in Manorhaven. Jurisdictional questions over whether the town, county or village was responsible for the cleanup of the debris prevented the removal of the mess. However, last week, through the joint efforts of a few different groups, including the Town of North Hempstead, marina owners on Manhasset Bay and the Waterfront Advisory Commission, the surface debris was cleared. However it's reported that much more debris is still buried under the mud.

Guy LaMotta, who owns Manhasset Bay Marina, reported that the marina owners used their boats, manned them, and the town used its equipment to hoist the debris (i.e. abandoned boats, floats, logs, pieces of dock, etc.) onto Manorhaven Beach ramp. Then the town brought it to the landfill.

Mr. LaMotta commented that the cleanup has been in the works for about two years.The group hopes to clean up anyplace along the entire shorefront that has debris, including both sides of Sheets Creek, Baxter Estates Beach and the debris along the Lewis Oil waterfront property. "Eventually, we'd like to have something similar to the STOP program, whereby periodically on a set date, residents can bring unwanted boats, docks and marine related debris to the dock, rather than just abandoning it." He added, "This is a collaborative effort. Nothing political... no nonsense. We just want to get the job done."

Mr. La Motta noted that he's motivated, as others are too, by a desire to preserve sports on the bay. "One goal, obviously, is to preserve boating in the bay." However, he also advised that the group did evict duck blinds, but added that they're looking to relocate them for the sportsmen. "We don't want to alienate anybody."

Jon Kaiman, Town of North Hempstead Commissioner of Public Safety, reported that in just one day the workers pulled out "more than 20 tons of material from the blighted area around Sheets Creek. Town personnel and equipment transferred the garbage to the town's Solid Waste Management Authority for disposal. The town will assume the cost of the tipping fees at the dump.

Mr. Kaiman also reported that the county , through its office of public works headed by Carl Schroeter, also pitched in. Last Friday, it sent a 45 ton crane to remove the very large pieces. One piece, estimated at 20 tons, had to be put aside so that it could dry out and eventually be cut up into manageable pieces.

Joel Ziev, of the Waterfront Advisory Commission, stressed that "huge" pieces of debris had to be cleaned up. He described the trash as" substantive." He asks residents to dispose of their debris in the correct way, and not "abandon" it.

Overall, "it was a tremendous outpouring of energy," that Mr. Ziev views as phase one of a long term project. He noted that the efforts of Guy LaMotta, Matt Meyran, Jenifer Pines and Gary Knapp contributed to the success of this phase of the cleanup.

He advised that so much more debris is buried in the mud and, will take about $1 million to remove. The high cost is due in part to the environmental concerns involved with a full scale cleanup.

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