You Can Become a Water Quality Steward

On the Waterfront
On the Waterfront

You Can Become a Water Quality Steward

The Peconic Estuary Program is starting a Community Stormwater Stewardship pilot program for the Peconic Bays.

The program’s first training workshop of the year will be held this Saturday, March 12 at the Suffolk County Marine and Environmental Learning Center (SCMELC) at Cedar Beach in Southold from 10 a.m. to noon.

This volunteer-based, citizen science water quality testing program will focus on environmental indicators about the health of the creeks surrounding Cedar Beach.

Volunteers will help collect data on important indicators of the health of our surrounding marine waters by measuring environmental parameters including  temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, nutrient, water clarity, and (eventually) algal composition.

The data collected will be used for educational purposes and will aid Cornell Cooperative Extension aquaculturists and Southold Project in Aquaculture Training (SPAT) members in the healthy brooding of shellfish larvae at the Suffolk County Marine and Environmental Learning Center.

As membership grows, the Peconic Estuary Program hopes the volunteer monitoring program will expand to offer high school and college internships and include additional sites on both the North and South forks.

The Peconic Estuary and its watershed is one of 28 estuaries in the country designated as an “Estuary of National Significance” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and is part of the National Estuary Program.

The Peconic Estuary Program is a collaborative partnership between citizen and environmental groups, government, businesses and academic institutions.

At its inception in the early 1990s, PEP created and implemented a watershed-based comprehensive conservation and management plan (CCMP), whose top priorities include harmful algal blooms, nutrients, habitat and living resources, pathogens, toxic pollutants, and critical lands protection.

The Peconic Estuary Program has just begun a revision of the current management plan and plans to engage the East End community in this process. The monitoring of these water quality parameters is one piece of this revision.

Acquiring information about the parts of our bay closest to the shoreline can help PEP and their partners create an updated comprehensive management plan that includes effective habitat restoration programming and mitigation projects for the estuary.

The first training workshop of the season will be held on Saturday March 12, 2016 from 10 a.m. to noon at SCMELC 3960 Cedar Beach Road in Southold, NY. Pre-registration is requested, email

For more information on the Peconic Estuary Program or on this event, contact Sherryll Jones, PEP Education and Outreach Coordinator at or 631-727-7850 ext. 353 or visit

Beth Young

Beth Young built her first boat out of driftwood tied together with phragmites behind her family’s apartment above the old Mill Creek Inn in Southold. Nowadays, she spends most of her time kayaking, learning about shellfish, writing newspaper stories, trying to sail a Sunfish, and watching the way the bay changes from day to day. You can send her a message at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *