Stony Brook Southampton Invites Public to Help Restore Shinnecock Bay

Scientists at Stony Brook University have announced two opportunities for volunteers to become “citizen scientists” and help restore Shinnecock Bay.

The Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program (ShiRP) formed in 2012 as a response to deteriorating conditions in the bay. Scientists working with ShiRP hope to restore water quality and fisheries in the bay, which is the easternmost lagoon along New York’s South Shore estuary system.

On Saturday, June 14, at 10 a.m., volunteers will help reseed eelgrass beds in the bay by creating restoration units for the underwater plant at the marine station. At 12:30 p.m., a boat will depart for the restoration site so volunteers can deploy the units into the bay. Boating space is limited, however, so advance registration is required.

The second opportunity for members of the public to become citizen scientists will take place on Tuesday, June 17, at 7 p.m. That evening, an orientation will be held for volunteers interested in learning the ropes of oyster gardening. According to Stony Brook University scientists and their partners at Cornell Cooperative Extension, oysters filter polluted bay water and individuals who grow the mollusk help improve water quality in the bay.

Oyster gardening takes place through early fall at the volunteer’s convenience. Workshop and growing assistance are also offered to interested citizens.

ShiRP was able to form in August 2012 as a result of a $3 million donation made by the Laurie Landeau Foundation and the Simons Foundation. Members of Stony Brook’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences are currently using funds from the philanthropic gift to restock shellfish, expand existing eelgrass beds, and inhibit the growth of damaging algal blooms in Shinnecock Bay.

More information about ShiRP and volunteering can be found at: shinnecockbay.org.

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