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DEC Roundtable Discussion



DEC Roundtable Discussion with Commissioner Pete Grannis
By John Kramer

I attended a meeting at Town Hall on Wednesday September 3rd 2008 with John Betsch and Doug Rose, at the invitation of Assemblyman Marc Alessi, who arranged the meeting. It was good to meet the commissioner and Regional Director Peter Scully who is in charge of all Nassau and Suffolk.

The agenda included sewer systems, dredging windows, aquaculture, farms, wineries, and Greenport Village. Then others such as SoutholdVOICE, Inc., could ask questions or raise issues in our areas of interest.

There were a few interesting points taken from the discussion about dredging windows: the question was raised that since the DEC is using “scientific data” about flounder, plover and tern habitats to determine dredging windows, can the town provide data by experts that show no habitats in a specific dredge site, and will we be able to expand the dredging window?

The DEC answer was probably not. It sounds as though they don’t trust anyone else’s data and that they are interested in Eco-system data, not site-specific data, and they are interested not only in the EXISTENCE of flounder, terns or plovers, BUT THE POSSIBILITY of a return of flounder, for instance, that would preclude dredging. It was stated that Sterling Creek is a site where the dredging window could easily be expanded, given the absence of protected species, but they were not interested.

The aquaculture discussion brought up the point that the legislature is taking up the issue of our not being able to sell a farmed, one-year old, market-size scallop. All surrounding states allow this and the market is big. New York requires the same standard for farmed as for wild scallops: they cannot be sold if they do not have an annual growth ring. This puts us at a financial disadvantage.

The farms and the wineries issues were deer and wild turkeys and how to implement more control and culling of the herds.

Greenport’s problem of bringing its sewer system into compliance with new federal regulations, is that there is no federal money to help, and without that, it is impossible.

I brought up three items of interest to our members:

1. The rapid issuance of emergency permits to rebuild/replace erosion control structures following storms such as we are currently anticipating. Peter Scully said that following an event, they put expeditors in the field and can issue permits on the spot, assuming they agree it is an emergency. He told me to contact him with any situation that we think is not handled expeditiously. If you have a loss following storm Hanna, and you fear your property will be further damaged without an emergency permit, please email me at southoldvoice@gmail.com.

2. I asked about our problem with resident goose control and what means are available to us to do something about it. I was called the next day by an assistant of Peter Scully and am being mailed info on the means we can take to control geese, and also the steps required to get a permit to oil eggs or shoot them.

3. I asked what our members can do to control phragmites and am being given a contact to find out how we can get a permit to remove phragmites in a community or property owners association.

The meeting was a good way for us to, at last, make contact with some people in a position to listen and provide help. Thanks to our Assemblyman, Marc Allessi, for bringing us together.

John Kramer

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