A set of environmental recommendations from the Islip Town Environmental Council were brought before the Islip Town Board during ITEC’s annual report on April 20.
At the regular monthly town meeting, Maureen Dunn, ITEC board member, water-quality scientist at Seatuck Environmental Association and a retired oceanographic associate from Brookhaven National Laboratory, presented the report.
ITEC, which meets monthly, was created nearly 50 years ago to advise the town on matters affecting the preservation, development and use of natural and man-made environments within the town, Dunn said. As part of the group’s annual report, a list of resolutions are provided to officials each April.
The first recommendation alerted the town of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and how it will modify operations in the future.
CLCPA mandates that 70 percent of electricity comes from renewable resources by 2030, Dunn said, and by 2050, greenhouse gas emissions from all of New York State must be reduced by 85 percent, and the economy must be carbon neutral.
As a result, investments in public transportation and charging stations for electric cars are expected. Under the bill, approximately 35 percent of benefits from clean energy and efficiency funding must be directed toward disadvantaged communities. Dunn said ITEC encourages the town to take advantage of the opportunities presented under the bill.
To help Islip prepare for climate threats facing residents – including sea-level rise, worsening health conditions, water temperature increase in the Great South Bay and more – the group recommended that the town pass a resolution to form a Climate Smart Community Task Force.
This “green team” would include representatives from local government and community members, all aiming to help the town in procuring financial and technical resources that would respond to these environmental challenges, Dunn said.
Thirdly, ITEC advised the town to complete its waterfront revitalization plan, which would address waterfront issues like the threat of sea-level rise.
ITEC also suggested Islip representatives join in an effort to identify and reduce the percentage of hardened shorelines along our coastal waterways. “Hardened shorelines exacerbate the problems of sea-level rise by” pushing sediment along bulkheads, Dunn explained.
Lastly, ITEC recommended its membership be increased from five members to the maximum of nine to better help the town grapple with environmental issues.
“As soon as we can get some new folks who are interested in the environment and have qualifications, the better,” chairperson Nancy Manfredonia said in a separate interview, “because there are many issues that we’re working on.”
At the meeting, the town approved a resolution to appoint another member to the ITEC board, Steve Gellar.
The report also applauded town supervisor Angie Carpenter and town board members for their support of the Great South Bay Shellfish Cultivation Facility and its promotion of oyster shell recovery through its leasing program.
In addition, the report commended the town’s planning department and for creating a list of native plants, and the Department of Environmental Control for their efforts to join NYSSERTAS Clean Energy Community Program, Dunn said.
Manfredonia noted that in the past year, Islip has been labeled a “clean energy community” after meeting certain qualifications.
“It’s a big milestone, and it allows the town to apply for various grants,” Manfredonia said.
After the presentation, Carpenter extended thanks and gratitude to all ITEC members.
ITEC covers everything from litter control to sea-level rise, Manfredonia said, but its focus lately has been on the Great South Bay and climate change.
“There’s a great deal of state legislation that has been passed on climate change and we’re really present to make sure the town board is aware of all these issues,” Manfredonia said.
The annual set of resolutions serve as the most important issues to be addressed, she said.
“We can’t change the world, but hopefully we can make some changes in Islip Township,” Manfredonia said, “and I know the supervisor and the town board are on board with anything that will help.”