Protecting & Restoring Long Island's Peconic Bays

Outreach & Education Programs

Events for all ages, summer internships and fun educational material for school aged children. Explore what PEP has to offer.

Children looking at marine life caught in a seine net.

Year-round and seasonal residents, and visitors play an active role in the PEP by supporting, promoting and participating in efforts to protect this not so hidden gem on the east end. To view our upcoming events, visit our calendar of events. Never miss a volunteer opportunity by joining our mailing list and by following us on Facebook.

We also encourage all who have an interest in the Peconics to join the PEP Citizens Advisory Committee. This committee plays a part in the PEP Management Conference and continues to develop the broad-based support needed to ensure that estuary program actions are successfully carried out into the implementation phase. Visit the CAC page for more information.

Targeted Education Efforts

The Peconic Estuary Program provides educational materials for targeted audiences to help them learn about and do their part to protect the estuary. Best Management Practices, fertilizer reduction and elimination, proper disposal of hazardous waste, stormwater pollution reduction and responsible boating are some of these efforts.

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Resources for Educators

The PEP has created puzzles, worksheets, a scavenger hunt and kid’s booklets for educators to use in the classroom to teach about the environment. Visit our Resources for Educators page to view all of PEP’s English and Spanish material for kids.

Citizen Science Opportunities

The Peconic Estuary Program provides many opportunities for you to get involved by attending an educational event or volunteering through our ongoing programs.

Want to hold a special PEP event for your after school group? Contact PEP’s Outreach Coordinator to make arrangements.

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Ongoing Events and Programs

Horseshoe Crab Monitoring>>>

Alewife Monitoring>>>

Terrapin Monitoring>>>

Fishing Line Recycling Program>>>

Horseshoe Crab Monitoring

Each spring, Atlantic Horseshoe Crabs, Limulus polyphemus, come to shore during the new and full moon high tide in the evening to spawn. The Peconic Estuary Program is part of the Horseshoe Crab Monitoring Network hosting a monitoring site at Squires Pond at the end of East Landing Road in Hampton Bays. Volunteers are encouraged to come learn about horseshoe crab biology and get a hands on experience helping scientists learn more about the population by measuring size and tagging used to assess the status of horseshoe crabs in NY State, and will help determine the management and conservation of this important species.

Horseshoe Crab Monitoring, Squires Pond 2017

Horseshoe Crab Monitoring, Squires Pond 2017

Monitoring runs from May through June. You can join one event, attend multiple or become a site coordinator.

Currently, there are only two monitoring sites in the Peconic Estuary watershed, Squires Pond in Hampton Bays and South Harbor Road in Southold. We are looking to expand efforts in the Peconic Estuary by adding additional monitoring locations. You can help PEP find new sites by looking for horseshoe crabs during the spawning season.

To learn more, visit the New York Horseshoe Crab Monitoring Network website.

Alewife Monitoring

Each spring Alewife return from the sea to our coastal bays and rivers to spawn in freshwater. This species plays an important role in the estuary food web as it is the prey of many species including the osprey and predatory fish including striped-bass and bluefish. The PEP partners with Seatuck Environmental Association each year for the Alewife Monitoring Survey. Learn how you can help monitor the arrival of these fish for spring spawning season by attending a workshop. Workshops are held at the end of February and in March at multiple locations. For more information visit Seatuck Environmental Association’s alewife monitoring website.

Terrapin Monitoring

Diamondback Terrapin

Diamondback Terrapin. Photo: Juliana Duryea

The Peconic Estuary Program is excited to begin its pilot program in Diamondback Terrapin Monitoring on the East End. This volunteer-based program will be assessing areas of salt marsh for terrapin activity to determine where their nesting habitat is located. The diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) is the only turtle native to Long Island’s salt marshes. Since they were once harvested as a delicacy without regulation, their populations plummeted and are now listed as a threatened species. Our monitoring program is in collaboration with Friends of Flax Pond and The Jamaica Bay Terrapin Research Project to gain an island wide understand of terrapin populations.

Fishing Line Recycling Program

Fishing Line Receptacle Workshop, 2016

Fishing Line Receptacle Workshop, 2016

Excess fishing line is one of the most common a deadliest forms of marine trash to wildlife. While the transparency of fishing line is ideal for catching unsuspecting fish, that same feature makes it near impossible to marine life to avoid it when discarded into our waterways. Animals can become entangled and even ingest the fishing line causing harm and frequently death.

During a workshop in December 2016, volunteers assembled 16 fishing line receptacles to be placed around the Peconic Estuary to help combat plastic marine debris. Monofilament (single stranded fishing line) can be discarded into fishing line receptacles to be collected by PEP staff and volunteers, quantified, and sent to the Berkley Fishing Line Company to be recycled. In the future, PEP will aim to install additional fishing line receptacles to collect braided fishing line, which due to its composition of multiple plastics, is not easily recycled. Collecting braided fishing line is still important and disposing of the material properly will help keep it out of our waterways.

Check out PEP’s fishing line receptacle map to find out where you can recycle your fishing line both from PEP receptacles and partner locations. Know of a receptacle not on the map? Let PEP know so we can include it!

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