Protecting & Restoring Long Island's Peconic Bays

Protection Committee: What We Do

As a unified group of stakeholders, the Committee believes the future health and productivity of the Peconic Estuary requires a coordinated effort. The Committee members also recognize that intermunicipal cooperation is an effective and resource-efficient means to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act and State regulations on stormwater discharges from municipal separate storm sewer systems.

What We Do:

  1. SHARE EXPERIENCES AND LESSONS LEARNED. Committee members convene bi-monthly in a public forum to share experiences and lessons learned on mitigating water quality pollution from:
    1. stormwater runoff,
    2. septic system discharges,
    3. residential and agricultural fertilization and irrigation,
    4. groundwater flows,
    5. illegal dumping,
    6. floatable debris and
    7. boat waste.

The Committee discusses planning and regulatory items such as the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan and the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s). The Committee also shares updates on water quality projects funded by the Community Preservation Fund.

Meeting summaries are publicly posted.

  1. INCREASE PUBLIC AWARENESS. The Committee Coordinator conducts education and outreach with visits to community events, festivals, street fairs, sanitation departments’ recycling events, schools and homeowner associations. The Committee also maintains a website with an online repository of educational materials on water quality and pollution mitigation Best Management Practices.
  2. DATA COLLATION and DISTRIBUTION. The Committee annually collates data on land use and outfalls in the Peconic Estuary watershed and publicly posts it on the Suffolk County Open Data website. The Committee collaborates with Suffolk County on land use data to inform nitrogen modeling under the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan.
  3. WATER QUALITY MONITORING QAPP DEVELOPMENT. The Committee is in the process of developing a Water Quality Monitoring Program Quality Assurance Program Plan (QAPP) for approval by the NYSDEC and EPA. Once adopted, municipal staff and trained citizen science volunteers will collect water quality data under QAPP procedures. A long-term water quality monitoring program will help the Committee members and partners assess the current baseline in water quality, identify subwatersheds in need of restoration, and measure the effectiveness of water quality improvement interventions over time. The program will also encourage public involvement in stewarding the waters of the Estuary.
  4. COMMUNICATIONS WITH NYSDEC. The Committee is committed to maintaining an open dialogue with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on issues such as the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan, the SPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from MS4s, the Section 303(d) List of Impaired Waters, the Pathogen Total Maximum Daily Load for Peconic Estuary waterbodies and the Conditional Shellfish Sanitation Program.
  5. COLLABORATION WITH OTHER LONG ISLAND PROTECTION COMMITTEES. The Committee collaborates with other Long Island Protection Committees to keep abreast of Long Island-wide water quality initiatives and legislation. Committees periodically convene to discuss regulations, legislation and funding, and jointly communicate to state and federal agencies on Long Island-wide issues.
  6. GRANT FUNDS. The Committee shares information on grant opportunities that fund water quality restoration and protection initiatives, and seeks opportunities to jointly apply for grants that will create efficiencies and cost savings for municipal water quality protection and restoration activities.
  7. JOINT TRAINING. The Committee shares resources and exchanges information on public events, programming and training sessions for compliance with the General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from MS4s. Training focuses on illicit discharge detection and elimination; regulatory enforcement on construction site run-off control and post-construction stormwater management; and municipal facility and public parks “good housekeeping” practices to reduce pollutant discharges into the harbors and bays.

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