Community clean-ups restoring Goldsmith Inlet back to health

GEORGE ALDCROFT PHOTO | More than 75 volunteers pitched in to help cleanup Goldsmith’s Inlet on Saturday.

Five years after the first large scale community cleanup of Goldsmith Inlet, natural grasses are slowly returning, according to Group for the East End.

On Saturday, more than 75 volunteers came out to help cleanup the Peconic waterway. Group for the East End co-hosted the event with Group to Save Goldsmith Inlet and the Southold-Mattituck-Greenport NJROTC as a part of the community’s ongoing efforts to restore the waterway.

The natural geography and tidal activity of the area surrounding the inlet make it a repository for marine debris, resulting in a partnership in recent years between Southold Town and nonprofits to help bring the ecosystem back to health.

Over the years the community cleanups have resulted in the removal of thousands of pounds of trash and debris from the area. Two years ago, volunteers filled a 20-yard dumpster with garbage they collected from the beach. In past cleanups, the debris has included everything from huge logs to a parking ticket from Connecticut.

“When we started hosting cleanups five years ago, this area was covered in debris, and now there are more native plants and a much healthier environment surround Goldsmith Inlet in large part because of these efforts,” Group for the East End senior environmental advocate Jennifer Hartnagel said in a statement.