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PRESS RELEASE: June 28, 2017Contact: Supervisor’s office(631) 283-6055 Connie Conway
The Town of Southampton in cooperation with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Marine Program (CCE) unveiled its new center for marine education, restoration and stewardship on Wednesday June 28, 2017. A Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and tour took place at 10am at “The Tiana Bayside Facility” located on Dune Road in Hampton Bays across from Tiana Beach. The Bayside facility will be operated by CCE’s scientific professionals and educators. Community participants, of all ages, are invited to learn more about our local marine and coastal environment by participating in on site classes this summer.
The Facility grounds have been host to CCE’s Suffolk Project in Aquaculture Training (SPAT) program for a number of years, and will be expanded upon this year. Participants of the SPAT program receive all the equipment and instruction needed to maintain an oyster garden at Tiana Bayside. The Tiana SPAT program coordinates their efforts with the Southampton Town Trustees, who also oversee the shellfish enhancement seeding that will enable millions of oysters, clams and scallops to be released into local waters annually.
The building, once used as a police barracks many years ago, will contain a touch tank room and classroom space for a variety of marine science based programming offered by CCE through the Town Parks and Recreation Department. Outside the classroom, a coastal plant nursery will be set up to grow a variety of native coastal plant species, including dune and marsh grass that will be utilized in local shoreline restoration projects.
Solar panels have been erected on the roof of the building, the first on a Town facility, to help run equipment used in raising oysters and other shellfish. One additional goal of the Bayside Facility is to pilot a wind energy program that could be used together with the solar program as an uninterrupted source of power to keep breeding stock and first growth alive should there be a power outage in the area. The main goal of the Facility is to engage the public in efforts to protect enhance and restore our marine environment through participating in the SPAT program and the many educational programs to be offered at the site.
“With this initiative between the Town of Southampton and Cornell Cooperative Extension at Tiana, we are working together to increase the numbers of filter feeders in our waters, improving water quality for other species such as eelgrass, a nursery for many fish and shellfish our baymen and sportfishers depend on,” said Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program Director Chris Pickerell.
It is believed the Bayside Facility could produce more than one million native hard shell clams, scallops and oysters a year. “The Tiana Bayside Facility is the first of many future Town commitments to restore our water quality through aquaculture, education and community participation,” said Councilman John Bouvier.
The Facility plans to offer school field trips and teach classes to the general public. “We look forward to working with the community and offering opportunities for involvement in stewardship projects and participation in our science-based educational programming,” said Kimberly Barbour, CCE Marine Program Outreach Manager.
Supervisor Jay Schneiderman thanked Councilman John Bouvier for his leadership on this project. “With the stewardship of Cornell Cooperative of Suffolk County, we will improve the water quality of our bays and teach our children how they can play an active role in protecting our environment,” said Schneiderman.
Get involved by joining in the many activities, programs and special events to be lead by Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Scientific Professionals and Educators in 2017