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PEP talk attendee responds

by John Betsch

I attended the Peconic Estuary Program (PEP) meeting, a bit late, so I don’t have all the names of those who spoke, but generally it was a good thing, other than the survey. It was noted that the Hashamomuck project is a pilot project, which is part of a grant received by Town of Southold and PEP. The following were listed as part of this effort: Town of Southold, Peconic Estuary Program, Department of Environmental Conservation, Suffolk County Dept of Health Services, Group for the East End and Environmental Protection Agency. Apparently the grant was garnered by pushing shellfish issues.

As a Pilot project for the State, it is, “a test to see if a concurrent effort works.” It is surprising to me that SoutholdVOICE, an organization of waterfront property owners who individually have a significant stake in the pond, was never contacted. It was also noted that another grant is awaiting for Jockey Creek, Town Creek and Richmond Creek, see details of EPF Grants HERE

Approximately 40 people attended, including Town Board members Al Krupski, Bill Ruland, Supervisor Scott Russell, and also Trustee Bob Ghosio,. Unfortunately, to this observer, the beginning was rather grammar school, “Golly Gee” presentations about lawn care, using rain barrels, green roofs and other rather extreme things to do around your home to save the pond. The audience seemed to listen politely.

The floor was then taken by Kevin McDonald, Chair of the Peconic Estuary Advisory Committee who spent some time softening what was said and also talking about working with the Town in capping road ends and drains etc. Appears to me, the lawn care initiative was presented to draw homeowners into the project. As Al Krupski stated: Nobody is considering the deer, geese, raccoons etc and they are a major contributor to the problem. Why not?

The audience joined in discussions about the history and issues of the pond. From all that was said, it appears the most of the beneficial effort will be the Town addressing road ends etc.

One attendee, Doug Hardy, pointed out the SoutholdVOICE “diatribe about the effort”. I pointed out that the PEP website survey was very intrusive with its questions and asked why, for example, do they care if I use a local or other landscaper. Mr. McDonald said that they can work with locals, but national people are all about sales and will push excessive fertilizer etc. I asked why PEP would care how much my property is worth. The reply implied that it gives them an idea of how much a person cares about their property.

It was stressed that the survey is voluntary, that nobody needs to complete it, or they can exclude questions they are not comfortable answering. It’s a shame a survey like that is included in what appears to be a worthwhile effort. It just gets people thinking of Big Brother issues all over again.

What a shame.

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