At the July 17, 2018 general meeting of the Suffolk County Legislature, Legislator Bridget Fleming secured a number of accomplishments for the residents of the Second District. Legislator Fleming successfully secured authorization to include in certified agricultural districts, 52 underwater parcels that have been awarded leases under the Suffolk County Aquaculture Program; secured funding to create a Septic and Nitrogen Awareness Outreach Campaign; honored winners of the 2018 Tick Safety Poster Contest; and secured a technical correction regarding the CR-60/Long Beach Guiderail replacement project.
The inclusion of a limited number of parcels approved for lease to oyster growers, into Agriculture Districts is a common sense compromise that came out of the legislative process after the Legislature’s Environment, Planning and Agriculture Committee heard from both recreational boaters and oyster farmers. Balancing the interests of competing uses of our bays and harbors is a decades old issue that has been resolved time and again within our marine-based community. This resolution includes 52 parcels, out of the originally proposed 390 parcels, totaling approximately 26,000 acres, into existing certified Agricultural District No. 1, No. 5 and No. 7. Inclusion within a certified Agricultural District allows viable agricultural land to receive certain benefits and protections in order to perpetuate farming under New York State Agriculture and Markets Law. The measure will not affect a 10-year review of the County’s Aquaculture Program, which is about to commence.
“After many weeks of meetings and conversations with different groups, I am glad to have been able to find a common-sense compromise to this challenging issue. With the battle against Nitrogen pollution and brown tide a top priority, it’s critically important that we encourage oyster cultivation, as oysters are filter feeders and reduce Nitrogen in our bays, creeks and harbors. In addition, the restoration of our once-booming shellfish industry is an important economic goal. At the same time, millions of recreational boaters enjoy our stunning waterways, helping to drive the economy and to make the East End the special place it is. Their concerns regarding safe navigation must be considered.” said Legislator Fleming.
The Septic and Nitrogen Awareness Outreach Campaign will create a collaborative program to educate property owners about how septic discharges from homes and businesses to aquifers and surface waters have a negative impact on water quality. Three Not-for-Profit organizations, including Concerned Citizens of Montauk, Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment, and the Group for the East End will work together to raise public awareness about the need for innovative alternative septic systems, which particular systems will work for individual needs, and various funding opportunities available for septic upgrades. Concerned Citizens of Montauk has committed to fully match the Suffolk County funding in the amount of $112,000 or at least one half of the total cost of the project, which will be initiated within one year and completed within three years.
Laura Tooman, President of Concerned Citizens of Montauk said, “CCOM looks forward to working with Suffolk County to advance their leadership in addressing our County’s ground and surface water crisis.”
“Public education and awareness of Innovative Alternative wastewater treatment options, is an important step to curbing the nitrogen pollution in our waterways, which are our most precious natural resource on Long Island. Partnering with local Not-for-Profits on common goals like we are here is just another example of good government in action.” said Legislator Fleming.
Winners of the 2018 Tick Safety Poster Contest, including the Grand Prize Winner and the Third Division Winner, as well as the main sponsor, were honored. Annika Pasquale, Grand Prize Winner, received a Joint Proclamation from Legislator Fleming and Legislator Al Krupski (LD-1). Berlin Pasquale, Third Division Winner, received a Certificate of Award from Legislator Fleming. April Nil-Boitano, of Tick-Wise Education, who has a longstanding educational program geared toward avoiding tick-borne illness, and was instrumental in organizing the poster contest, accepted a Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of East End Tick & Mosquito Control, one of the events main sponsors. Event Sponsors also included Splish-Splash Water Park; 7-Eleven of Sag Harbor; Buddha Berry of Sag Harbor; The Long Island Aquarium; Krieg’s Bakery of Hampton Bays; Shock Ice Cream of Westhampton Beach; and Sing Hampton.
“Prevention is key in avoiding tick-borne illnesses. In Suffolk County, we are at ground-zero of the tick-borne disease epidemic. We have the highest rate of tick-borne diseases in the nation and the number of diagnoses per year continues to climb. Additional tick species have been found in the region and bring with them new tick-borne diseases that we have not had to deal with in the past. The specific characteristics that allow ticks to flourish in this region are unknown, however, we must do more to prevent the spread of disease while we continue to learn more about these dangerous arthropods.” said Legislator Fleming. “That’s what makes prevention, and education about prevention techniques, so important and that is also why I started this poster contest during my first year in the County Legislature. By using common prevention techniques highlighted throughout the 2018 Tick Safety Posters, you can reduce your risk of tick-bites and avoid dangerous tick-borne diseases in the process.”
A technical correction was made to Resolution Number 393-2018, which authorized the County Executive to execute an agreement with the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), accepting a 100% grant under the state and municipal (SAM) facilities program in connection with replacing steel guiderails along CR-60, Noyack-Long Beach Road. The technical correction was made so that construction of the project can move forward.
“The replacement of the unsightly steel guiderails along Long Beach Road supports an ongoing beautification project that aims to enhance public enjoyment of Foster Memorial Beach and Long Beach Road. Wooden guiderails are more appropriate for the beautiful park setting and are appealing to residents and visitors. Suffolk County is partnering with the Village of North Haven and New York State to complete the beautification project which may include walking paths to increase accessibility for our residents and visitors, burying of the unsightly overhead power lines by PSEG, and ongoing habitat restoration by the Suffolk County Water Authority to ensure that native species can thrive on Long Beach Road once again.” said Legislator Bridget Fleming