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Town of Southampton and Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program Partner to Give Bay Scallops a Brighter Future with Kick Off of New CPF Funded Project
Southampton Town officials and Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program representatives gathered for an inaugural “bay scallop toss” to mark the start of an exciting new project being made possible with support from the Community Preservation Fund. A grant of $579,528 was awarded to CCE Marine Program to enable the expansion of shellfish and habitat restoration in Town waters, in addition to creating community stewardship opportunities for involvement in this work based out of the Tiana Bayside Facility in Hampton Bays.
This project is going to pave the way for a bay scallop nursery to be established at Tiana Bayside and marks the first of its kind bay scallop restoration effort in Southampton Town waters. After their time in the nursery system, the bay scallops will ultimately be seeded at several locations throughout Town waters where they will go on to spawn and help enhance the local population. “The quality of life in Southampton Town will always be strongly linked to its natural resources. One important way the Town Council has codified protection of the Town’s natural resources is by creation of the CPF Program. The bay scallop portion of this CPF funded effort will create the economic activity of bay scallop harvests in a way that improves water quality, as the scallops filter excess algae from the water. As importantly, it strengthens people’s connection to our bays and creeks, our heritage,” noted Chris Smith CCE Marine Program Natural Resource Specialist and long-time Bay Scallop Restoration Program leader.
In 2016, a public referendum was held to authorize the use of 20% of CPF funds specifically for water quality projects and initiatives, winning overwhelmingly. Since then, millions of dollars have been allocated towards improving water quality to both mitigate, restore and preserve our natural ecosystems and habitats. The Town of Southampton is proud to support the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) by awarding CPF funding for CCE’s new scallop restoration project. CCE and Southampton Town Parks and Recreation Department have cooperated to create the Tiana Marine Education facility in Hampton Bays. “I look forward to growing our common interests in restoring our shellfish populations by direct seeding, aquaculture and other means. I am very proud to be a part of establishing this facility and continuing to support the impressive skills and dedication of CCE staff,” John Bouvier, Southampton Town Councilman and liaison to the CPF Program.
The issue of habitat availability for scallops and other marine life will also be addressed through the project goals. Extensive eelgrass restoration plantings and seeding will occur in the 5 acre sanctuary site designated by the Town Trustees in the waters off of Tiana Bayside. The support of the Trustees has been an important aspect of the formation of this project and the new sanctuary site. “As a Trustee, I am proud to partner with Cornell and create a shellfish sanctuary that will be beneficial for our bays for generations to come,” Scott M. Horowitz, Southampton Town Trustee.
Back on land on the grounds of the Tiana Bayside Facility, an expansion plan for the existing coastal plant nursery is in the works. This will enable more plants to be grown for use in coastal resiliency and habitat restoration projects. Volunteer opportunities will be made available for those wanting to get involved. For those looking to learn more about the value of habitat and how to create a bay-friendly landscape, a demonstration garden and informational signage will serve to help educate the public.
The overarching goal of water quality and community education is ever present in all aspects of the work that is to be conducted.
“This program helps improve our water quality while supporting our local economy and celebrating our marine heritage, making it a winning situation all around, “ Jay Schneiderman, Southampton Town Supervisor.
“Creating public awareness and involvement opportunities is integral to the long-term success of these restoration and water quality improvement efforts. We are so excited to present unique, hands-on stewardship opportunities to the community at Tiana Bayside Facility,” Kimberly Barbour, CCE Marine Program Outreach Manager. Monthly Back to the Bays Stewardship Sessions and ArtSEA Workshops will be offered focused on the variety of species and habitats this project aims to restore and protect. Activities will include shellfish seeding excursions, preparing eelgrass planting units, art + science integrative programming and more.
“Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County is very proud of this ongoing relationship with the Town of Southampton. We are so excited to be able to fulfill our mission of enhancing the environment with shellfish restoration and education projects at our beautiful Tiana Bayside facility!” Vanessa Pino Lockel Executive Director, CCE-Suffolk.
Inquiries regarding CCE Marine Program and how you can get involved can be directed to Kimberly Barbour at firstname.lastname@example.org or 631-461-5294.
To learn more about Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program, please visit ccesuffolk.org/marine and follow on social media @ccemarineprogram.