04/28/13 10:45am
04/28/2013 10:45 AM
COURTESY PHOTO | Members of the Riverhead Foundation release Noodle into the ocean Saturday morning.

COURTESY PHOTO | Members of the Riverhead Foundation release Noodle into the ocean Saturday morning.

Six months after he was first rescued from a marsh in Maine, Noodle the 2-year-old porpoise has been set free.

The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation released the small-toothed whale about five miles off of Shinnecock Inlet Saturday morning, marking the end of the porpoise’s rehabilitation.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Noodle, a two-year-old harbor porpoise was successfully rehabilitated by the Riverhead Foundation after being found in a marsh in Brunswick, Maine by children on a school field trip in October.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Noodle, a two-year-old harbor porpoise was successfully rehabilitated by the Riverhead Foundation after being found in a marsh in Brunswick, Maine by children on a school field trip in October.

Noodle was found by a group of school children on a field trip last October, just a week before Hurricane Sandy slammed the East Coast.

The young male porpoise couldn’t float on its own during the first 24 hours of its rescue, so researchers used foam noodles to keep him from sinking. The modified pool toys earned the porpoise his name: Noodle.

Noodle was fitted with a satellite tag to track his movements before he was released. You can track his location by visiting the Riverhead Foundation website.

Nonprofit groups from New England helped move Noodle to the Riverhead Foundation’s care facility at the Long Island Aquarium. The Riverhead nonprofit is home to the only long-term rehabilitation tank large enough for an animal like Noodle in the region.

“It’s like having one hospital bed from Virginia to Maine,” said executive director and senior biologist for the foundation Robert DiGiovanni Jr. in an interview earlier this month.

Usually this type of marine animal is already too injured to be saved once found, he said.

The group has rescued more than 4,300 marine animals since it was founded in 1980. They now rehabilitate about 200 animals a year.

The group plans to release two seals brought in last month, Nala, a female gray seal, and Shenzi, a male harbor seal, Sunday afternoon, according to the group’s Facebook page.

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03/17/13 2:52pm
03/17/2013 2:52 PM
COURTESY PHOTO | The body of a female gray seal was found on a Southold Town beach Saturday morning.

COURTESY PHOTO | The body of a female gray seal was found on a Southold Town beach Saturday morning.

A local marine non-profit group is investigating a dead adult seal that was found washed ashore in Southold earlier this weekend.

The female gray seal that was found on a Southold Town beach Saturday morning, said Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation director Robert DiGiovanni

The adult seal, which was about six and a half feet long, appeared to be underweight, he said. The Riverhead Foundation will conduct a necropsy in the next few days to try to determine the animal’s cause of death, Mr. DiGiovanni said.

COURTESY PHOTO

COURTESY PHOTO

It was once rare to find adult seals washing ashore on Long Island and most of the specimens found were young seals called “yearlings,” Mr. DiGiovanni said.

“We don’t get many adults washing up but we have been getting more over the years,” he said, adding that adults were washing ashore at numerous locations.

Mr. DiGiovanni believes a boom in the seal population is why the group has seen more adult seals bodies on shore lately.

“Their population is growing, it is expanding, and so we’re starting to see adults in areas where once we had only seen yearlings,” he said. “It’s just part of their population structure.”

In addition to conducting a necropsy of the latest seal to wash ashore, the Riverhead Foundation is also rehabilitating more than two dozen animals rescued from the area, including a harbor porpoise, seven seals and nearly 20 sea turtles, he said.

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10/27/12 7:59am
10/27/2012 7:59 AM
Riverhead Foundation, Atlantis, Downtown Riverhead

RIVERHEAD FOUNDATION COURTESY PHOTO | Rob DiGiovanni and a volunteer apply a satellite tag to a rehabilitated green sea turtle.

Program these digits into your phone: 631-369-9829.

That’s the number of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, and you never know when you’re going to need it.

That’s what James Sullivan of the New York State Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle program told a small group of attendees last week at the first of four cold-stunned sea turtle lectures being presented this month and next at Long Island Aquarium.

“You never know when you’re going to come upon a sea turtle, seal or another marine creature washed up on a beach,” Mr. Sullivan said. When that happens, you’ll need the number of the Riverhead Foundation, the only entity in New York state certified to rescue stranded marine animals.

Four species of sea turtle can wash up on any of Long Island’s beaches — Atlantic green, loggerhead, leatherback and Kemp’s ridley — and all are endangered.

Mr. Sullivan said at last Monday’s meeting — attended by about a dozen people — that the foundation is predicting this year will be a bad one for turtles, similar to 1995, when more than 70 were found.

“We’ve already seen more sea turtles this year than all of 2011,” he said. Last winter, though, was unusually mild.

Lecture attendees asked several questions about sea turtles, including how to identify the different types, which beaches they can wash up on, and how long they can survive in a cold-stunned state, as well as what to do after a turtle is found.

Cold-stunned sea turtles may appear to beachcombers as if they’re already dead, Mr. Sullivan said, stressing the importance of calling the foundation even in those cases.

“The sea turtles that get washed up have likely already lost movement in their extremities,” he said. “At this point, the blood is focusing on getting between the brain and heart and their respiratory and GI tracts have shut down.” This happens, Mr. Sullivan explained, when sea turtles that have traveled into the Sound or other inshore waters fail to leave before water temperatures cool to below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

“This morning the water was 61.4 degrees, so we’re getting close,” he said.

Because turtles are cold-blooded reptiles, their bodies do not warm themselves but instead match the temperature of surrounding waters.

At 50 degrees, cold-stunning symptoms begin to hit smaller turtles first and then affect bigger ones.

“Eventually they just turn into a piece of driftwood, wash up on the beach and get deposited along the high tide line,” he said.

The rescue window for cold-stunned sea turtles, which can be found along any of Long Island’s beaches, is six to eight hours maximum from the time they wash ashore, Mr. Sullivan said.

Getting the turtle out of the wind and safe from predators, if possible, is as important to saving its life as is calling the foundation, he said. Equally important is not attempting to heat the turtle.

“If you can handle the turtle and they aren’t snapping, get them out of the wind and sheltered, but don’t turn on the heat in the car or inside because you can quickly send them into heat stroke,” he said. Those that remove turtles from the beach should keep them in a truck bed, unheated garage or shed until the foundation arrives.

The foundation’s process for safely warming up turtles takes hours, expertise and equipment, he said, including possible tracheal intubation if the respiratory system has completely shut down.

As the weather cools through autumn into the winter, the Riverhead Foundation is asking the public to comb the beaches and search for cold-stunned sea turtles over the coming months.

Mr. Sullivan said cold-stunned turtles can be incredibly hard to spot because they are often covered in barnacles and the same color as the seaweed deposited along the high tide line.

“We’ve had calls about a sea turtle and it’s taken four times up and down the beach to find it,” he said.

Rick Kedenburg, with the North Fork Audubon Society, said in an interview after the meeting that he hopes people will use their recreational walks on the beach to do some good by calling 369-9829 if they should see a marine animal in need.

“It’s very important to carry the number with you and call the Riverhead Foundation if you see a stranded turtle or anything else,” he said.

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Attend one of the upcoming cold-stunned turtle lectures in the Peconic Room at Hyatt Place East End, 451 E. Main St., Riverhead, to learn more about how you can help.

 Sunday, Oct. 28, 1:30 p.m. 

Tuesday, Nov. 13, 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 25, 1:30 p.m.

10/20/12 3:09pm
10/20/2012 3:09 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Rick Trojanowski of Calverton won the 15th annual Run for the Ridley 5K Saturday.

Rick Trojanowski wasn’t always a runner.

It wasn’t until the Calverton resident had his two children and decided that cycling races were taking up too much of his time that he started to run. He could get up in the morning and put a few miles in before work and it wouldn’t take time away from his family.

Turns out he’s pretty good at it, too.

For the second consecutive year Trojanowski, a graduate of Mattituck High School, has won the Run for the Ridley 5K race to benefit the Riverhead Foundation’s sea turtle rescue and research program.

Even with Saturday’s unseasonably hot temperature, Trojanowski, 38, shaved a few seconds off last year’s time with a 16:38 finish.

“It was a lot hotter,” he said in comparison with his first Run for the Ridley in 2011. “The heat and humidity definitely made it tougher, but you just have to keep running.”

Trojanowski said he typically runs about five or six 5k races a year, since taking up the sport in 2008. He also runs some 10Ks and has run marathons.

He credits coach Brendan Barrett of the Sayville Running Company with helping to coach him into great running shape.

“I just love it,” Trojanowski said of running. “The key is to be real consistent with it and to have quality workouts.

Like female winner Tara Farrell of East Quogue, Trojanowski is a member at the Long Island Aquarium, which the Riverhead Foundation calls home.

“It’s a great organization,” he said. “We just love it there.”

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10/20/12 2:18pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Jerry Dicceco of Jerry and the Mermaid restaurant makes 10 gallons of clam chowder that he hands out for free each year at the Run for the Ridley.

Riverhead Foundation executive director Robert DiGiovanni explains how the Run for the Ridley 5K, which celebrated its 15th anniversary Saturday, benefits his organization.

More than 400 runners participated in the race this year.

10/20/12 12:58pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Even kids in strollers took part in Saturday’s Run for the Ridley to benefit the Riverhead Foundation’s sea turtle program.

Below is a list of the top 10 Finishers in Saturday’s Run for the Ridley 5K in downtown Riverhead.

1. Rick Trojanowski, 38, M, Calverton, 16:38

2. Michael Wenke, 18, M, Woodbridge, 17:14

3. Travis Wooten, 16, M, Riverhead, 17:28

4. Patrick McCabe, 23, M, Garden City, 18:22

5. Tara Farrell, 33, F, East Quogue, 18:41

6. Jonathan Bratisax, 30, M, Brooklyn, 19:32

7. Anthony Ceberek, 34, M, East Quogue, 19:44

8. Greg Messina, 34, M, Mattituck 19:54

9. Brian Manghan, 59, M, Wading River, 20:10

10. Shannen Fuertes, 21, F, Levittown, 20:13

Click here for complete race results when they become available

See more photos at riverheadnewsreview.com