Protecting & Restoring Long Island's Peconic Bays
Citizen science programs, events and educational materials for all ages.
Our community 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.
PEP has created fun and educational worksheets, activities and pamphlets for educators to use for their students and parents to use for their kids! Visit our Resources for Educators page to view all of PEP’s English and Spanish material.
Search here for educational Digital Brochures
If you are interested in conducting an estuary-based project with your class or after school group, please Contact PEP’s Outreach Coordinator to make arrangements. PEP is also happy to provide a lesson on an estuary-related topic to your students. Whether out in the field or on the grounds of your school, we are happy to discuss and implement ideas that fit best into your curriculum.
Join the Peconic Estuary Partnership’s Citizens’ Advisory Committee, an important part of the PEP Management Conference. Get updates on the projects that are being implemented in our bays and learn how you can be involved to improve water quality, wildlife habitat, and coastal resiliency. As a member, you’ll help us spread public awareness of the estuary while advising the PEP about important goals and concerns of the citizens of Long Island’s East End. It is a unified effort to protect and restore the Peconic Estuary, and we want you to be a part of the conversation! Visit the CAC page for more information.
The Peconic Estuary Partnership provides many opportunities for you to get involved by attending an educational event or volunteering through our ongoing programs.
Every spring, Alewife – a type of River Herring, travel from the ocean to coastal waters and eventually make their way into freshwater rivers and streams to spawn. This species plays an important role in the estuary food web as it serves as prey for many species including osprey and predatory fish like striped-bass and bluefish. However, barriers – such as dams and road culverts – can block Alewife from reaching their ideal spawning habitat. Dams, habitat loss and declining water quality have decimated their numbers. Remnant populations exist, but there is still little known about their overall status across Long Island. Documenting existing spawning runs is an important step in the restoration effort.
The Peconic Estuary Partnership is working with its partners to restore access for Alewife to their critical freshwater habitat by providing passage through or around these barriers. In 2010 a fishway was built at the Grangebel Park Dam on the Peconic River, restoring access to 25 acres of habitat for Alewife and other diadromous fish. Since the completion of this fishway, the PEP has been monitoring Alewife on the Peconic River, through visual fish counts and biological sampling. A video camera is installed annually in the river at Grangebel Park to get a better estimate of the number of Alewife using this fishway to travel up the Peconic River to spawn.
Fish passage projects like these are made possible when we have an understanding of where Alewife spawning runs exist around the Estuary. This is where community scientists like you can help us gain this understanding by watching for returning Alewives between the months of March-May. You can attend a volunteer training workshop to learn how to identify and record sightings to help monitor this important species. You will be a part of a large network of volunteers helping us to continue restoration and conservation efforts. Volunteer training workshops are held at the end of February and in March. These workshops are designed to help you identify what to look for and how to record your sightings in Seatuck Environmental Association’s Long Island Volunteer River Herring online survey. Workshops are advertised on our Events calendar and recordings of these workshops will be posted here.
Volunteer Training Resources:
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 Partnership 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.
Monitoring runs from May through June. You can join one event, attend multiple or become a site coordinator.
To learn more, visit the New York Horseshoe Crab Monitoring Network website.
The Peconic Estuary Partnership began a Diamondback Terrapin Monitoring program in 2017 for the East End. This volunteer-based program surveys 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 causing the species to be listed as threatened. Although harvesting has not been of top concern in recent years, land development and shoreline hardening have become major threats. The PEP’s monitoring program is in collaboration with Friends of Flax Pond, The Jamaica Bay Terrapin Research Project, and Seatuck Environmental Association to gain an island-wide understanding of terrapin populations and their nesting habitat. Through these monitoring programs, we gain data that can help guide decision-making for shoreline resiliency, conservation management and land-use planning. Like with many projects, working together as a community will help move along these efforts. Seatuck Environmental Association developed the Long Island Diamondback Terrapin Watch Online Survey that allows you to document your sightings of terrapins and evidence of their activity through your phone or computer. This online survey will collect substantial terrapin data across Long Island that will be useful and beneficial for all environmental groups. Training workshops will be scheduled before the monitoring season that runs May-August.
*Partners that would like to host their own monitoring workshops for their networks and to increase outreach efforts, please reach out to PEP Education and Outreach Coordinator, Lauren Scheer at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can provide you with the powerpoint and help tailor the presentation to your organization.
*Partners that would like to begin their own intensive monitoring program at a specific site of interest to contribute to the Diamondback Terrapin Watch online survey, feel free to reach out to PEP’s Outreach Coordinator, Lauren Scheer, at email@example.com so we can help you get started.
Terrapin Monitoring Workshop Resources:
Terrapin Monitoring Progress Map and Online Survey:
Terrapin Excluder Devices “TEDs” Required Areas for all non-collapsible crab pots or traps:
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!
Watch video in Spanish: https://vimeo.com/242641442