Governor Hochul Announces Plan for Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the release of the 2022 Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve Comprehensive Management Plan update. The plan focuses on current priorities facing the South Shore Estuary Reserve, such as climate change, resiliency, water quality, habitat restoration and public use of the estuary. The Final 2022 Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve Comprehensive Management Plan Update is available here. This announcement coincides with National Estuaries Week and Climate Week.

“Protecting Long Island’s waterways and shorelines has never been more important as we face the growing and unprecedented effects of climate change and regular threats to water quality and ecological health,” Governor Hochul said. “I am proud to announce this management plan for the South Shore Estuary Reserve, which is a rich and diverse ecosystem that not only comprehensively provides key benefits to Long Island’s economy, recreation and tourism, but also better prepares New York for a changing climate. “

The 2022 Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP) update provides communities and stakeholders with a guide for managing, protecting, and restoring the South Shore’s valuable resources and the estuary economy while addressing resiliency of the South Shore Estuary into the future. The South Shore Estuary Reserve (SSER), administered by the New York State Department of State, was established in 1993 through the Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve Act which called for the protection and prudent management of Long Island’s South Shore bays and upland areas draining to them. The SSER brings together State and local governments, not-for-profit organizations, academia, local business interests and the public to preserve, protect and enhance the natural, recreational, economic and educational resources of the SSER.

The SSER features vast stretches of sandy beaches, numerous marinas, and abundant parks and nature preserves that provide opportunities to swim, boat, fish, hike, observe wildlife, and relax. This area is home to 1.5 million people, the SSER is an anchor for Long Island’s tourism, seafood, and recreation industries. The Reserve extends across the southern portions of Nassau and Suffolk Counties and includes: the City of Long Beach; portions of the Towns of Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Babylon, Islip, Brookhaven and Southampton; and 28 villages.

Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, “This plan is essential for the for the future management, protection and restoration of the local estuary ecosystems and the tremendous services they provide to Long Island communities. Long Island’s waterways are the lifeblood of their economy which is why it’s vital to preserve one of its most treasured natural resources.Each year, the South Shore Estuary provides abundant recreational and economic opportunities to millions of residents and tourists, which is why we must protect it.This updated Comprehensive Management Plan would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our tremendous partners on the South Shore Estuary Reserve Council, to whom we are very grateful.”

New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said: “During this important week for those of us who love the outdoors, I commend this plan for stewardship of Long Island’s South Shore. The public’s ability to use, access and enjoy tributaries and shorelines is critical and planning will ensure positive results going forward.”

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “As New York under Governor Hochul’s leadership works to advance our fight against the impacts of climate change, the State Department of Transportation plays an important role in building resiliency in our infrastructure while enhancing the sustainability of our environment. The Comprehensive South Shore Management Plan is one such way we are working with our partners at all levels to protect our environment, while building resiliency for future generations.”

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Long Island’s South Shore Estuary is a central gem in New York’s network of marine waterways, connecting valuable and habitats to communities and businesses that benefit from New York’s marine resources. DEC will continue to work alongside Governor Hochul, the Department of State, and many other partners with the South Shore Estuary Reserve to support the collective goals in the nation-leading Climate Act to protect and preserve valuable habitat and marine life.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, “The completion of this new plan for the South Shore Estuary is another significant step forward in our efforts to improve water quality in Long Island’s south shore bays.Suffolk County is thankful for the strong leadership New York State has provided and looks forward to working with our partners in government to make sure that our coastal waters are cleaner and can be thoroughly enjoyed by future generations.”

Town of Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer said, “The South Shore Estuary is of tremendous economic and social importance to the Town of Babylon and the state as a whole. This CMP update will help ensure that the estuary is protected for generations to come.”

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Donald Clavin Jr. said, “The Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve is home to a rich array of environmental diversity, and contributes greatly to the fabric of our township’s unique coastal nature area. The Town of Hempstead will continue working with our partners at all levels of government to ensure our South Shore environments are safeguarded for generations to come. This municipal environmental stewardship includes harnessing the capabilities of our township’s dedicated conservation team, and remaining in regular communication with conservation organizations and other agencies tasked with environmental protection here on Long Island.”

Town of Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said, “The Town of Southampton fully supports the 2022 Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve Comprehensive Management Plan, as it addresses critical water quality improvement, ecosystem recovery, climate change and coastal resiliency needs in our region. The Plan is exceptional, as it provides local governments Mindful of the challenges that the Department of State (DOS) faces, the Town applauds DOS for the arduous efforts being made to accomplish such goals and looks forward to continuing to work with the State and our many partners in implementing this most historic and valued plan.”

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine said, “As a member of the South Shore Estuary Reserve Council, I am particularly aware of the environmental challenges that we face on Long Island. Climate change has made it necessary to establish guidelines and an action plan that provides common sense solutions for the future. What we do today to protect and preserve our environment will impact the estuary and all of our waterways for generations to come.”

Town of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter said, “Islip is home to many beautiful waterways, inlets, natural habitats and features that are true assets for our Town and residents. It is our duty as good stewards of our environment to continue to act for the preservation of this natural beauty. This Compressive Management Plan aims to do just that, and will work to ensure that these essential habitats are preserved for our children, grandchildren and generations to come.”

Director of Climate Adaptation at The Nature Conservancy-New York Alison Branco said, “The Nature Conservancy is pleased to join New York State and local communities in celebrating the 2022 update to the Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve Comprehensive Management Plan. Over the last 20 years, it has become clear that climate change affects everyone and everything in the We commend the Department of State for their continued commitment to the people and wildlife of Long Island,” said Alison Branco , The Nature Conservancy’s New York.”

Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment Adrienne Esposito said, “Long Islanders love our beaches, bays and harbors. Restoring these natural assets is critically important to our quality of life and our local economy. The good news is that we are making progress! We’ve protected sensitive wetlands, installed fish ladders, created new oyster reefs, advanced kelp farming and we are filtering polluted stormwater before it enters the marine environment. impacts such as ocean acidification and rising sea levels.Thank you to NYS Secretary of State Rodriguez and the hardworking staff at the NYS Department of State for their dedication to restoring our bays.”

Rob Weltner, President of Operation SPLASH said, “As an organization that spends much of its time and efforts out in the South Shore Estuary Reserve, we see first-hand, the many positive changes that have been brought about to its abundant waterways, salt marshes and beaches using the Comprehensive Management Plan as We can only imagine how much better the SSER will become for all of us “Islanders” using the new updated CMP along with all of us working together to bring back the bays.”

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