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Southold Town applying for grant to track bacteria sources

Southold Town is applying for a Suffolk County grant to track bacteria sources in several shellfish harvest areas that have been recommended by the town’s shellfish advisory committee. 

The targeted locations would be East Creek in Cutchogue and Pipes Cove in Greenport, as well as Narrow River, Orient Harbor and Oysterponds Creek in Orient, according to the application.

The Southold Baymen’s Association had requested testing at East Creek, as it sees “sporadic high and low bacteria counts,” Trustee John Bredemeyer said. It’s also in an areas where there are known to be old-fashioned cesspools at waterside houses, he said.

A tributary of Pipe’s Cove has had a history of drainage problems and is considered an important shellfish growing area, Mr. Bredemeyer said.

As for Narrow River, the Board of Trustees wants to determine whether runoff from an agricultural operation proposed by Fresh & Co. will imperil shellfishing in Hallocks Bay. Orient Harbor and Oysterponds Creek, where oyster aquaculture is prevalent and which are at risk of seasonal harvest closure by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, would also be tested for contamination.

In preparing the grant application, the Trustees found that the town could also get county support for the purchase of a new pump-out vessel and are also looking into a grant from the state’s Clean Vessel Assistance Program. The town’s one pump-out vessel has some problems, including a possible leak, and uses a temporary gas tank, Mr. Bredemeyer said.

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