02/06/16 8:00am
02/06/2016 8:00 AM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTOMike Osinski at his home in Greenport.

“Greenport, like towns on Staten Island, prospered from the oyster.”

So wrote John Kochiss, author of “Oystering from New York to Boston,” in 1973, pointing back to the oyster’s heyday on eastern Long Island in the early part of the 20th century.

Fast-forward 100 years or so, and things have certainly changed. READ

06/30/15 9:12pm
06/30/2015 9:12 PM
Meetinghouse Creek. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Meetinghouse Creek. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced about 4,000 acres of land in Southampton, Riverhead and Southold towns that were closed last month to shellfishing will reopen Wednesday.

The areas that will reopen at sunrise include shellfish lands in western Shinnecock Bay in Southampton Town, Terry and Meetinghouse creeks in Riverhead Town and James Creek in Southold Town.

The DEC issued the emergency closures in May after detecting high levels of saxitoxin, which can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning. The bodies of water have been closed to shellfishing after dangerous levels of marine biotoxins were found in shellfish and carnivorous gastropods, such as whelks, conchs and moon snails.

For more information on temporary emergency shellfish closures and maps of the affected areas, visit the DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7765.html. A recorded message advising harvesters of the status of temporary shellfish closures may also be heard by calling (631) 444-0480.

05/01/15 8:00am
05/01/2015 8:00 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO  |  Southold trustee and bayman Jim King harvests oysters and clams in Mattituck Inlet last year.

Southold trustee and bayman Jim King harvests oysters and clams in Mattituck Inlet last year. (Barbaraellen Koch file photo)

The East End’s baymen — at least what’s left of them — are getting a hand from local governments, which are trying to open up shellfish beds that were designated as polluted by the state but could actually be quite clean.

Due to a state regulatory agency that’s strapped for time and money, a new agreement from the Suffolk County Legislature and the Peconic Estuary Protection Committee will set up standard practices for the county and East End towns to test their own water under the state’s strict guidelines. (more…)

10/02/14 10:00am
10/02/2014 10:00 AM
The view of Wickham Creek in Cutchogue from West Creek Avenue. The creek has been off limits to baymen since 2007. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

The view of Wickham Creek in Cutchogue from West Creek Avenue. The creek has been off limits to baymen since 2007. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced last week that areas of Mattituck and Wickham creeks will be opened for seasonal shellfish harvesting, a development that’s being hailed as a win for the town’s shellfish advisory committee.

(more…)

01/24/14 5:00pm
01/24/2014 5:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Southold trustee and bayman Jim King harvests oysters and clams in Mattituck Inlet last week.

Local baymen have some more underwater acreage from which to gather clams and oysters this winter.

State Department of Environmental Conservation officials announced last week that from Jan. 15 through April 15, commercial and recreational fishermen can harvest shellfish from about 52 acres of Mattituck Creek. Up to now it’s been illegal to harvest or sell shellfish from that area.

The acreage will remain open so long as no more than three inches of rainfall is recorded per day for seven consecutive days, state officials said.

John Bredemeyer, president of the town’s Board of Trustees and a member of the shellfish advisory committee, said Mattituck Creek has good-sized hard clams and a very healthy oyster population, “so for both classes we expect to have a good harvest.”

Previous Coverage: Using DNA to curb water pollution and reopen Cutchogue Creek complex

This is an area that was routinely closed to baymen throughout much of the 1980s and 1990s, and its progress didn’t come simply by the work of Mother Nature.

Since about 1995, the then newly elected town Trustee Jim King began testing area creeks previously closed by the DEC in hopes of identifying specific sources of pollution. Using the collected data, he and the other Trustees began working with town engineers to mitigate stormwater runoff coming in from nearby roads and homes, since it was the runoff that was found to be affecting the creek’s water quality.

“The project we did was on Bayview Avenue on the west side of Mattituck Creek. The town put in multiple dry wells along the side of the road,” Mr. King said. “They put a whole drainage system in there.”

The added drainage system improved water quality enough for the DEC to start opening the creek on a conditional basis. It has been re-opened a number of times since 2000, DEC officials said.

Mr. King, who is still a Trustee, continues to do sampling while the creek is open, checking its water after rainfall and snowy conditions, he said, adding that a number of people make the testing program possible — from those who transport samples to Stony Brook, to the owner of Braun Seafood in Cutchogue, who continuously donates ice to keep samples cool on their trip west.

Mr. Bredemeyer and the committee have extended Mr. King’s efforts, sampling waters in the Cutchogue creek complex, which includes East Creek, Mud Creek and Broadwater Cove. These Peconic Bay creeks have been closed to shellfishing since 2004 due to water quality concerns.

Their hope is to get Mattituck Creek and the other creeks re-certified as regular shellfishing areas for baymen.

“There’s a benefit to everybody if we can get some of these creeks reopened,” Mr. King said.

For updated information regarding the status of Mattituck Creek after a rainfall, call Southold Town at 765-3912.

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