Suffolk County gives more for clam restoration efforts
Tue, Nov 16 2010 at 3:20 PM
By The Nature Conservancy
East Hampton, N.Y. — Nov. 9, 2010 — The Nature Conservancy is happy to report that Suffolk County has granted another $500,000 for clam restoration efforts in Great South Bay, bringing their total contribution to $1.5 million toward this effort. Since 2004, Suffolk County has been supportive of The Nature Conservancy’s innovative — and so far successful — methods to restore depleted clam populations in this imperiled water body.
“We applaud Suffolk County for its leadership in restoring Great South Bay. We are hopeful that we will meet the restoration goals for the clam population that we have set out,” said Marci Bortman, director of conservation programs. “Just as we have done with so many other Conservancy projects, the $500,000 Suffolk County grant presents a tremendous opportunity to leverage private funding. All donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar, thus doubling the County’s investment. Now that’s a lot of clams!”
Since 2004, The Nature Conservancy has put nearly 4 million adult clams in the Bay. In some ways, that’s the easy part, while managing for a healthy bay remains a challenge. Across the globe, over-harvesting of fish and shellfish, pollution and poor water quality are affecting the health and viability of our waters. Successful restoration initiatives here can serve as a model for regional and global conservation efforts.
“Clams are a critical part of a healthy bay, as they filter the water and help keep it clean. Years of overharvesting, pollution and brown tide have devastated the clam population,” stated Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy. “But thanks to the partnership we’ve forged with The Nature Conservancy, for the first time in 2007, clams started reproducing on their own. We are proud to support this effort and wish to see it continue in a positive trajectory well into the future.”
But success is far from complete.
“We need all three towns in the Great South Bay watershed, that is, Islip, Babylon and Brookhaven, to ensure that our progress continues into the future. Leaders from government and the private sector must work together moving forward on comprehensive approaches to improving water quality in ways that are good for fish, wildlife, people and the economy,” explained Carl LoBue, senior marine scientist. “A clean and healthy bay will allow the once multi-million dollar shellfish industry to rebound. It will also allow our grandchildren to have the pleasure of digging and eating clams from our local waters.”
In addition to Suffolk County, many public and private partners have supported clam restoration efforts, including the NOAA Community-Based Restoration Program, New York State, Brookhaven, Islip and Babylon Townships, the Knapp/Swezey Foundation, Lowe's Companies Inc., National Grid Foundation, Pall Corporation, Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund, the Joseph and Sylvia Slifka Foundation and the Wildlife Forever Fund.
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