With the help of Dr. Christopher Gobler, of Stony Brook University’s Gobler Laboratory, Save The Great South Bay presented its annual State of the Bay address during their Fall Speaker Series. Based on Gobler’s water-quality testing results, they found the following findings in 2022:
“The Great South Bay is the home to a wide variety of marine and aquatic plant life in an extensive range of habitats. A healthy habitat is represented by high oxygen levels and clear water. Poor water quality is characterized by low dissolved oxygen levels, known as hypoxia, and harmful algal blooms (HABs) such as brown tide and red tide.”
According to Gobler, since the appearance of the first brown tide in the 1980s, the bay has been “assaulted” with nitrogen pollution from outdated cesspools and fertilizers. The pollution causes algae growth and lack of oxygen, which also greatly affects marine life.
In order to protect the bay and promote better water quality, Save the GSB suggests reducing nitrogen pollution by managing stormwater runoff and upgrading sewage treatment systems.
What have they done to help save the bay in 2022?
• They have conducted dozens of river cleanups, including teaming up with the Ocean Conservancy to gather data with their Clean Swell app. The team also added water-quality testing and even installed a litter trap at the Carll’s River.
• Certified dozens of bay-friendly yards since encouraging them through their webinar series.
• Planted and expanded four native gardens. They expanded their gardens along the Carll’s River and added gardens in the Town of Brookhaven at Bayview Park and the Village of Amityville at Nautical Park.
• Planted thousands of oysters in the Great South Bay Oyster Project spawner sanctuary. They are also currently working on a collaboration with Town of Islip, Islip Hatchery, and Cornell Cooperative of Suffolk County.
How can you take action?
Upgrade your septic system, reduce or eliminate fertilizers, plant native plants, keep litter out of the waterways, use reusable bags, and use your voice by telling local officials you want policies that support clean water. Also, don’t forget to support the organization.
STGSB 2023 GOALS:
1) Conducting cleanups along the 50 creeks and rivers to clear the “arteries” that lead into the bay.
2) Planting 500,000 oysters in the Great South Bay Oyster sanctuary.
3) Restoring dozens of acres of native habitat to help improve stormwater runoff and nitrogen filtration.
4) Expanding the Bay Friendly Yard certification program.
5) Continuing their education and advocacy programs to promote use of innovative and alternative wastewater treatment systems (I/AOWTS) and expanded use of sewers that recharge the aquifer.
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION
Save The Great South Bay Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to the revitalization of the Great South Bay. The organization, which was founded in 2012 is comprised of people from the South Shore, including past and present, baymen, fishermen, boaters, paddleboarders, surfers, sailors, local environmentalists, civic associations, community leaders, educators, and marine scientists.
The cause began when two Sayville alumni returned home for a class reunion and soon formed a Facebook group, with now over 16,000 members, talking about the bay and actions needing to be taken. Save The Great South Bay was eventually created, and 10 weeks later, Superstorm Sandy hit.