The Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve
WHAT AND WHERE IS THE SOUTH SHORE ESTUARY RESERVE?
The South Shore Estuary Reserve is
a 499 square mile area along the South Shore of Long Island encompassing
a large estuary system and the land areas in Nassau and Suffolk counties
that drain to it. Spanning about 75 miles west to east, the Reserve extends
from the New York City Boundary to just beyond the eastern end of Shinnecock
Bay and includes part or all of the Towns of Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Babylon,
Islip, Brookhaven and Southampton, the City of Long Beach and 31 villages.
The Reserve is home to about 1.5 million people.
are areas where saltwater and freshwater mix. They are the most biologically
productive ecosystems in the world, acting as nurseries for marine life
and providing important habitat for a variety of wildlife. The South Shore
Estuary consists of the series of shallow, interconnected bays - and the
tidal portions of their tributaries - formed behind the barrier islands
that separate the Long Island mainland from the Atlantic Ocean. The estuary
has tremendous ecological, economic and social importance. It contains the
most extensive acreage of tidal wetlands and the greatest diversity of habitat
in New York State, and it supports the State's largest concentration of
water-dependent businesses. Linked with the estuary's resources are the
activities and facilities that epitomize the region's maritime heritage
and present day culture: commercial and recreational fishing and shellfishing,
boat building and boat yards, ferries and waterborne transportation, sailing,
bay houses, bay beaches, estate parks, historic structures and maritime
HOW THE HEALTH OF THE ESTUARY
WILL BE PROTECTED AND IMPROVED
At the urging of Long Island citizens, the New
York State Legislature passed the Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve
Act. The Act recognized the South Shore Estuary as an unparalleled resource
and provided for development of a Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP)
to improve and protect the health of the estuary's ecosystem while increasing
public access opportunities and sustaining economic activities. The Act
also created a South Shore Estuary Reserve Council to prepare the plan
and promote its implementation. New York State Secretary of State Randy
A. Daniels chairs the Council which has members representing the Reserve's
local governments, commercial and recreational fishing businesses, business
associations, conservation and scientific organizations, education institutions
and three State agencies.
The South Shore Estuary Reserve Council is supported
by a Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), a Technical Advisory Committee
(TAC) and staff of the New York State Department of State. The CAC has
been engaged in estuary-wide public education and outreach efforts while
providing the Council with public perspectives on issues being addressed
in the Comprehensive Management Plan. The TAC has provided technical and
scientific guidance for the series of technical reports that provide the
Plan's foundation. Financial and technical support from the Department
of State has been critical to the Council and its advisory committees.
THE NEED FOR A COMPREHENSIVE
Development of the Comprehensive Management Plan
has followed a process that included the participation of many individuals,
local governments and public agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Information
about the estuary and its extensive drainage area was compiled and analyzed,
and recommendations and implementation actions for priority issues were
identified. The Plan sets forth a blueprint for voluntary action by government
agencies and residents to address issues regarding water quality, living
resources, public use and enjoyment of the estuary, the estuary-related
economy, and education and stewardship.
Two public hearings will be held following the
release of the draft Plan to encourage further public participation. The
South Shore Estuary Reserve Council looks forward to broad public support
with the plan's implementation. The many organizations and local governments
and agencies that have participated in the plan's development have agreed
to implement it based on strong public support.
Further information on the South Shore Estuary
Reserve can be obtained by calling the Reserve Council's information line
at (516) 470-BAYS or by viewing their web site at www.estuary.cog.ny.us.