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Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County

The Atlantic horseshoe crab. Public domain photo

From the shore, they can look like odd-shaped shadows with tails, moving in and out of the surf or approaching the shoreline.

Up close, they can have a collection of barnacles attached to their shells, particularly as they age.

Horseshoe crabs, who have been roaming the oceans for over 450 million years, have attracted the admiration of researchers and the dedication of volunteers around Long Island, who not only want to ensure they continue to survive, but also would like to know more about creatures that are more related to spiders and scorpions than to the crabs their names suggest.

“One of the things we’re trying to do is look at spawning in a more comprehensive way,” said Robert Cerrato, a professor in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. “We’re trying to figure out if there are specific things that [horseshoe crabs] are responding to” when they come up on the beach to lay their eggs.

A closeup of two horseshoe crabs. Photo courtesy Matthew Sclafani

Horseshoe crabs have had a steady decline in their population over the last 20 years overall. In the last three to five years, however, not much has changed in the Long Island area, scientists explained.

The population is “still very similar to where it was,” said Matthew Sclafani, senior resource educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County and assistant adjunct faculty member at SBU.

Scalafani and Cerrato have worked together for well over a decade and are hoping to address a wide range of questions related to these unusual creatures that have nine eyes and blue blood.

Apart from the fascination of scientists and volunteers, the horseshoe crab provides a critical food source for shore birds like the Red Knot, which depends on these eggs during their migration.

At the same time, horseshoe crabs and their blue blood provide a key ingredient in tests of pharmaceuticals. When exposed to endotoxins, horseshoe crab blood forms clots.

The use of horseshoe crab blood to test drugs does not occur in New York, however, as companies don’t catch these creatures in the Empire State for this specific test.

Cerrato and Scalafani explained that numerous towns have also limited or banned the harvesting of horseshoe crabs to maintain their local populations.

Areas around West Meadow Beach in Old Field, for example, are closed to hand harvesting, as is Jamaica Bay and Gateway National Recreation Area.

Such policies “theoretically will allow for more eggs on the beach to hatch and for shore birds dependent on them” to find food, Sclafani said. Such closures, including some during the last two weeks in May and the first two weeks in June during the peak spawn were “significant steps for conservation,” Sclafani added.

An aerial photograph taken by a drone during a horseshoe crab survey at Pike’s Beach, Westhampton. Photo by Rory MacNish/Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County

Ongoing questions

By labeling and tracking horseshoe crabs, these researchers and a team of volunteers hope to understand whether crabs, which are capable of reproducing when they are between 8 and 10 years old, return to the same sites each year to lay their eggs.

Cerrato and Scalafani are hoping to get satellite tags they can attach to adults, so that when they come out of the water to spawn, researchers know their location.

The researchers submitted a proposal to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to do a pilot study with these satellite tags.

Juvenile horseshoe crabs also present unknowns, as they have a different diet and migrate at a much lower rate.

“We started to look at” crabs that are 3 to 10 years old, said Cerrato. Moriches Bay is an “important habitat” for them.

Volunteer passion

Volunteers who help count the horseshoe crabs count these creatures often until well after midnight.

Frank Chin has been wandering beaches, counting crabs for 15 years. When he was young, Chin wanted to be a forest ranger.

“I realized that forest rangers don’t make that much money, so I went to school for engineering, got a degree and worked as an engineer,” he said.

Chin found himself at a Friends of Flax Pond meeting, where Scalafani asked for help from the community.

“I foolishly raised my hand and they made me a coordinator,” joked Chin, who counts horseshoe crabs with his wife Phyllis.

Every year presents something new to Chin.

This year, he has run into people who fish late at night. Chin said the fishermen, who have permits, are cordial, but that he’s concerned they might be scaring crabs away from their usual spawning spots.

In addition to counting the crabs, Chin, who is the director of the lab in the Physics Department at SBU, also tags them. He once caught a crab seven years after he initially tagged it.

Chin, who will count crabs in the rain but not in thunderstorms, appreciates the dedication of his fellow volunteers, who not only count the crabs but will pick up garbage and bottles along the beach.

Chin plans to continue to “do it as long as I can walk down the beach.” Some day, he “hopes someone else will take over.”

Volunteers can sign up to join the effort at nyhorseshoecrab.org.

Researchers are still trying to pinpoint the precise number of lobster pots, pictured above, abandoned on the Long Island Sound floor. Still active, these traps pose numerous ecological and environmental risks. Photo by Gerald England/Lobster Pots/CC BY-SA 2.0
By Aidan Johnson

Potentially over a million abandoned lobster pots and fishing gear lay on the Long Island Sound floor.

This gear has been left in the Sound for multiple decades, but its impact on marine life is still felt today. [See story, “Ghost fishing,” TBR News Media website, June 4].

While the pots may be old, some still function and can trap lobsters and other aquatic animals, often killing them due to no way to escape. 

Some of the lobster pots, partially made of plastic, are beginning to break down, polluting the water and compounding the environmental and ecological risks posed to marine life.

To stop this maritime mess, the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County is getting to work. CCE first got involved with ghost fishing after the issue was raised with them by their commercial fishing partners in 2010.

“They had let us know that after the lobster industry crashed in about 1999, they were encountering a lot of derelict lobster pots during their normal operations and that they knew where some of these were,” said Scott Curatolo-Wagemann, senior educator at CCE Suffolk in Riverhead.

“We were able to put together a grant proposal, working with the commercial fishing industry — they had knowledge of where these traps were — to work with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to work out a letter that would allow us to do this work,” he added.

‘Right now, we’ve been doing this all on the local fishermen’s knowledge.’ — Scott Curatolo-Wagemann

Since New York State law prohibits anybody except the owner of a lobster trap from removing it, CCE Suffolk pays fishermen a charter fee to remove the pots.

According to a statement updated in March by CCE Suffolk, 19,000 derelict traps have already been removed from the New York waters of the Long Island Sound, equaling an estimated weight of 950,000 pounds.

While there are many more derelict traps, CCE Suffolk is still determining precisely how much longer these efforts will take.

“Right now, we’ve been doing this all on the local fishermen’s knowledge,” Curatolo-Wagemann said. “We are trying to expand it. We’ve applied for some funds to start using side-scan sonar to map out areas that may have high concentrations of traps so that we can kind of [make] a coordinated effort to remove traps,” adding that efforts are underway “to get an estimated amount that may still be out there.” 

State Assemblyman Fred Thiele (D-Sag Harbor) is working on drafting legislation allowing the state to remove the ghost gear after a designated period, but declined to comment for this updated story.

Pixabay photo
By Aidan Johnson

In the depths of the Long Island Sound, stationed among the crustaceans and fish, lie hundreds of thousands of lobster traps. 

These traps, a shadow of a once-vibrant lobster industry, have been abandoned for decades. Yet still active, they perpetuate a dangerous trend for marine life: ghost fishing.

Ghost fishing isn’t a supernatural phenomenon. It is a problem created by humans. It is the result of fishermen abandoning old but sometimes still functioning lobster pots and similar fishing gear in the Long Island Sound. While there are few lobsters left, those that remain can still be trapped, along with other sea life. With no way to escape, they end up dying a needless death.

The problems don’t end there, as Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) explained. “People are like, ‘It’s fine, no one sees it,’” she said. “But that’s not true because a lot of these lobster pots are starting to break down. They’re partly plastic, and the plastic is polluting the water.”

The solution, the county legislator insisted, is to remove the ghost gear as soon as possible. New York state law, however, prohibits the removal. 

“No person other than the licensee shall set out, tend, haul or unduly disturb, or take or remove lobsters from, a lobster pot or trap or other commercial gear, or damage, take, remove or possess such gear,” New York’s Environmental Conservation Law states.

While there have been efforts to remove the equipment, the near million derelict traps still there continue to take a toll on sea life. “My vision is to have a massive flotilla … go out to Long Island Sound, remove hundreds of thousands of lobster pots and ghost gear,” Anker said.

The problem gets worse with the realization that some of the fishermen aren’t around anymore, Anker added. “Maybe they’ve left the area, they’ve passed away, they’re no longer fishing in the area. There’s all kinds of reasons and it’s really a detriment to our local nautical community.”

To address these concerns, Anker is working with New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (D-Sag Harbor) to draft legislation that could allow the state to remove the ghost gear after a designated period of time.

Organizations such as the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County have joined the efforts to remove as many ghost traps as the law currently permits. “What happens is they pay the fishermen about $850 to charter their boat for the fishermen to go and then retrieve these pots,” Anker said.

According to a CCE statement made in March, 19,000 traps have been recovered from the Long Island Sound under this initiative. The traps are then recycled or returned to their owners, and burnable debris from them is converted into renewable energy.

Cooperation of the fishermen has helped the process. “These are local fishermen, and they want to do more,” Anker said. “They’re out there trying to make a living doing what they can.” 

She added, “We have one of the largest seafood industries in the country and we have to keep our water clean.”

Anker is also working on a separate $2 million project funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that is focused on cleaning up the Sound and removing marine debris.

While there still may be many lengths to go before the Long Island Sound is free from ghost gear, with the help of lawmakers, organizations, and fishermen, the Sound floor could soon be friendly to all sea life, Anker hopes.

Barry Udelson from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County shows those in attendance oysters. Photo by Kimberly Brown

After a great amount of hard work and dedication, Village of Northport trustee Dave Weber Jr. was happy to announce Wednesday, July 28, that the latest stage of the aquaculture program between Northport Village, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County and Town of Huntington Maritime Services is officially operating.

Supervisor Chad Lupinacci speaks at the July 28 press conference. Photo by Kimberly Brown

The entities have established Floating Upweller System, also known as FLUPSY, floats which will become essential to preserving the oyster population as well as cleaning waterways in Northport Harbor.

“About 30 community members set this plan in motion to raise funds and support this FLUPSY program,” Weber said, “What’s better than to start an aquaculture program right here in our own backyard to support, safeguard and help maintain a healthy marine environment?”

There are numerous benefits to having the FLUPSY dock in Northport Harbor because it allows a large number of oysters to grow while simultaneously protecting them from natural predators.

“The idea behind this is that we’re constantly providing a heavy flow of water passing over the shellfish,” said Barry Udelson from CCE of Suffolk County. “If you’re pumping water through them, they’re constantly getting a much healthier diet. Think about giving them heavy protein shakes, they’ll grow much faster than if they were naturally sitting on the bay bottom.”

The dock holds 100,000 baby oysters that are 4 to 10 millimeters in size. In a few months, the oysters will grow to approximately 40 mm.

Once the oysters are mature enough to survive out in open waters, Huntington Maritime Services and CCE of Suffolk County will place them in the bay. The oysters will continue to grow until they are big enough to be harvested by baymen.

“This is the first year, but as we continue to grow we may be able to expand these floats to more than 100,000 oysters,” Udelson said. “As more communities like yours start to appreciate this, we can find ways to continue to expand to other parts of Long Island and improve everyone’s water quality.”

The oysters will be able to filter out the nitrogen, caused by rain runoff, fertilizers and cesspools and introduce oxygen into the water. The process will serve as an efficient way to clean out the waterways and create safer habitats for other species.

The FLUPSY program will also have an educational component to it and help teach students about shellfish aquaculture. Currently, the program has taken on two Northport High School interns who will work with CCE of Suffolk County..

“This is a great day because this is really how government should work together,” said Town of Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R). “We want to continue these great efforts and work along with the village and Cornell Cooperative Extension to help restore our water quality.”

Suffolk County has created a new website to connect jobless residents with shops that need workers.

And so it begins.

The Suffolk County economy, stalled for over two months as Long Island tried to contain the spread of a deadly virus, has restarted, entering Phase One of a gradual reopening process today.

Calling the reopening a “new beginning,” County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said on his daily conference call with reporters that the county was “up to the test in every way imaginable.”

To bring employers and employees together, Bellone announced the start of a virtual career and talent portal that is part of the Department of Labor. The portal will link job seekers with Suffolk County businesses that need workers.

Bellone called the site a “one stop shop” that will do everything virtually, enabling employees to see job postings in real time. Veterans will get first priority for these jobs, as the county wants to honor those who have served the nation with a 24-hour hold on these postings. Residents can access the site through SCNYForward.info.

Amid the opening, the viral numbers continued to move in a positive direction for the county.

Hospitalizations declined by 30 to 305 as of May 25. The number of people in the Intensive Care Unit also declined by 12 to 94, which is the first time since March that the number of people in the ICU with COVID-19 was below 100.

Hospital capacity remained well below 70 percent, with 65 percent of beds available in hospitals and 60 percent available in the ICU.

In the last day, nine people have left the hospital to continue their rehabilitation and recovery at home.

The virus continues to claim the lives of residents. In the last day, 10 people died from complications related to the coronavirus as the number of people who died from COVID-19 in Suffolk has reached 1,861.

On the first day of reopening, the county executive said he hadn’t had any negative reports about people violating any ongoing restrictions on businesses or social distancing rules.

With contact tracers in place and the county monitoring public health, Bellone didn’t anticipate the county backsliding into another version of New York Pause.

The contact tracers should “give us the ability to target our response,” the county executive said, “rather than what we had to do at the beginning of the outbreak.”

Bellone said the county had learned important lessons on the other side of the viral peak, which should put it in a solid position to monitor any pockets of positive tests.

“I’m certain we are going to do this safely as we open up,” Bellone said.

Separately, Bellone urged the federal government to invest in infrastructure projects on Long Island, including a sewer project.

The county has one of the largest infrastructure projects for sewers in the region in decades, Bellone said.

“With federal investment in infrastructure, we would create jobs, boost our economy, improve water quality, a win-win for everybody,” Bellone said in a statement.

By Heidi Sutton

Teamwork was the key ingredient at this year’s Junior Iron Chef competition. The annual event, now in its 7th year, was held on March 9 at Whole Foods in Lake Grove. Hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, the one-day cooking challenge, described as “part ‘Chopped,’ part ‘Iron Chef,’ and part ‘Food Network Challenge,’” gave middle and high school students the opportunity to work in groups of three to five to complete a delicious dish of their choosing in under an hour. Fifteen teams from all over Long Island competed this year for the ultimate title of Junior Iron Chef.

“This is an amazing event,” said DJ Anthony Cafaro, from WEHM, who has served as the event’s emcee since its inception. “It’s cool to see some repeat competitors from year’s past and it’s awesome to see a lot of new competitors here,” he said.

The purpose of the event was to encourage budding chefs to learn new cooking skills and lead a healthier lifestyle while promoting the use of local food to support our local farmers and environment. Each team was required to  create a new healthy vegetarian or vegan based recipe that used local ingredients and could be easily implemented into school cafeteria menus.

“This is the seventh year I’ve done this and by far this was the greatest year with the best flavors,” said Cafaro as he tasted all the dishes.

Celebrity chefs Kayla Mitchell and William Connor helped judge the event last Saturday.

Among the 11 judges who graded the dishes based on flavor, health value, creativity and presentation was 14-year-old William Connor from Northport, a past contestant on “Chopped Junior” on the Food Network,  and 13-year-old Kayla Mitchell of Center Moriches who was a contestant on the third season of “MasterChef Junior” on Fox Broadcasting.

High school teams were given a secret ingredient at the last minute, a Sumo Citrus, to incorporate into their dish. Some chose to use the peel, others the juice. While the teams created their dishes, Cafaro kept the ever-growing crowd entertained with fun trivia and giveaways to places like the Long Island Aquarium and concerts.

While the judges deliberated, Executive Chef Jason Keubler and Anthony Cafaro visited each station, tasting each dish and giving feedback to the aspiring chefs. While Cafaro raved over everything that was put in front of him, Keubler gave positive feedback, from “These eggs are spot on,” “Flavors are very balanced,” “Great knife skills,” to pointing out the cleanliness of their workstation and asking them what their greatest obstacle was. “It’s all about teamwork and it shows in your work,” he complimented one team.

First place in the middle school division went to Team G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) from Seneca Middle School in Holbrook. Students Leah Ferraro, Sofia Iacono, Jacqueline Volo and Gianna Scolaro, guided by coach Robert Frontino, won the judges over with their creative Caribbean Breakfast Salad, which was comprised of cinnamon sugared French toast, grilled pineapple and arugula salad with goat cheese, topped with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

“That’s insanely good,” drooled Cafaro as he reached for a napkin. “The cinnamon and the goat cheese go so well together,” agreed Chef Jason. “The color is super vibrant, the spiciness goes with the sweetness with nice textures. Beautiful presentation,” he said adding that he was impressed by how nicely they worked together “just like in a professional kitchen.”

Second place was awarded to The 3 Breakfasteers from Suffolk County 4-H Trailblazers of Yaphank for their Vanilla Fruit Crepes filled with whipped cream and diced strawberries and garnished with blueberries. Corey Burke, Alexis Vladikin, Nora Nemickas and coach Nicole Vickovich made up the team.

The Junior Porters from Greenport Union Free School District grabbed third place for their Mediterranean Breakfast Crepe with an Herbed Whipped Cream. Coached by Katherine Ryan, Rocio Azama, DeShawn Solla, Aleyana Gungar, Ayania Smith and Brynn Dinizio were awarded for their healthy crepe stuffed with baby spinach, sundried tomatoes, black olives and low-fat feta cheese.

Team Almost Master Chef from Sachem North High School in Ronkonkoma captured first place in the high school division. Kaitlyn Seitz, Hailey McKishi, Kayla Salvate and Victoria Corcaran, under the guidance of coach Lindsey Shelhorse, impressed the judges with their Brunch For Lunch Chilaquiles dish featuring homemade tortilla shells topped with fried egg, cheese, onion and cilantro.

Second place was awarded to the Greenport High School’s Bacon Bits – Jhon Ramirez, Tommy Tsaveras, Colin Rossetti, Mateo Arias and Charles Staples – for their Gyro Style Veggie Burger on Whole Wheat Pita, which was served with sautéed onions and tzatziki sauce with a cucumber garnish. The team was coached by Marianne Ladalia.

The Salt Shakers from the Suffolk County 4-H Trailblazers garnered third place. Olivia Unger and Lexington Carrera, under the guidance of coach Adrienne Unger, were given high marks for their crispy Potato Latkes topped with a dollop of sour cream and garnished with chives and scallions.

The Mise en Place (everything in its place) awards were presented to Seneca Middle School’s Taco Bellas (Emma Bollinger, Amanda Madigan, Madeline Turano and Adrianna Sigler with coach Robert Frontino) and Almost Master Chef.

The Public Presentation awards, for the team with the best poster/informational display and judge presentation, were presented to G.O.A.T. and Bacon Bits.

“The kids today were just tremendous,” said Vito Minei, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County. “This is truly a Long Island Junior Iron Chef competition with teams coming all the way from Floral Park, Franklin Square and Greenport,” he added. “I want to thank all the parents and families.You should be proud. These kids were fabulous. They all practiced teamwork and each child had an opportunity to shine.”

Brunch for Lunch Chilaquiles 

by Team Almost Top Chef, first place winners in the high school division


Tortilla Shell

10.5 ounces of all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup vegetable oil

7-8 ounces of hot water (110-120F)


Diced yellow onion

Diced and seeded jalapeño

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon ground chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3 tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon salt, to taste

Pinch of cinnamon

Can of tomato paste

2 cups vegetable broth

1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Filling and Topping Ingredients

Can of drained and rinsed black beans

12 oz. Fiesta Blend Cheese (365 Everyday Value Brand)

3 oz. cotija

Diced red onion


6 Eggs


 Instructions for sauce

  1. Sauté the diced onion and jalapenos to the pan.
  2. Crush and smash cloves of garlic and salt and add to the onion mixture.  Add the cumin and chili powder.  Add the flour, oregano, garlic powder and salt into a small bowl and place it near the stove.
  3. Add the flour/spice mixture.
  4. While whisking constantly, cook until fragrant and slightly deepened in color, about 1 minute. Whisk the tomato paste into the mixture, then slowly pour in the broth while whisking constantly to remove any lumps.
  5. Raise heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, whisking often, for about 5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, then whisk in the vinegar and season to taste with a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Add more salt, if necessary.
  7. Stir in the black beans

Instructions for tortillas

To make the dough: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour in the lesser amount of hot water (plus the oil, if you’re using it), and stir briskly with a fork or whisk to bring the dough together into a shaggy dough.Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead briefly, just until the dough forms a ball. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Round the pieces into balls, flatten slightly, and allow them to rest, covered, for about 15 minutes.  Preheat ungreased cast iron griddle or skillet over medium high heat, about 400°F. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll into a round about 8″ in diameter. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Fry the tortilla in the ungreased pan for about 30 seconds on each side. Then cut into wedges and fry them and add salt to taste.


Fry the eggs. Layer the fried tortilla shell with spoonful of sauce and cheese.  Top with the fried egg, more cheese, dice red onion and cilantro.

Caribbean Breakfast Salad

By Team G.O.A.T., first place winners in the middle school division


16 oz of arugula

8 oz of goat cheese

2 boxes of raspberries (7 oz. each)

1 pineapple

1 loaf challah bread

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp. oregano

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup white sugar

1/4 cinnamon

4 eggs

2 tbsp honey


Challah French Toast

Preheat skillet to 350 degrees. Mix eggs in large bowl. In a separate bowl mix sugars and cinnamon. Dip the challah bread slices into egg mixture and then the sugar blend. Cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

Arugula Salad

Mix oil, vinegar, honey and mustard and whip until blended. Strain the raspberries. Add raspberry juice to oil mixture until smooth to taste. Toss arugula, whole raspberries and cheese together with liquid dressing.


Cut outside skin of pineapple. Cut one inch horizontal slices. Dip in sugar mixture. Grill on both sides for 2 to 3 minutes.

All photos by Heidi Sutton

Two people enjoy a paddleboarding ride along Huntington’s shore. Photo from Katie Buttine

By Victoria Espinoza

Kayakers, canoeists and water enthusiasts in Huntington may be singing a different kind of blues in the near future.

The Huntington town board approved a plan at a July meeting to create a blueway trail, that would span from Cold Spring Harbor to Northport Bay, and highlight both historic and cultural areas along the town’s shoreline.

According to the National Park Service, a blueway trail is a water path that provides recreational boating opportunities along a river, lake, canal or coastline.

The Huntington blueway trail would be geared toward increasing awareness and use of coastal resources, while also encouraging ecotourism.

“This will provide an opportunity for residents to provide their own input, experiences and recommendations.”
—Carolyn Sukowski

Huntington Stand Up Paddle business owner Katie Buttine said a blueway trail would be an asset to both her business and customers.

“That would be awesome,” Buttine said in a phone interview. “Water sports are continuing to grow and people don’t know where they can and can’t go in the area. This would help so people would no longer be frustrated when they get to a beach and realize they can’t load there.”

Town board members unanimously approved a resolution to apply for a $76,000 New York State Environmental Protection Fund grant to undertake the project with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, a nonprofit community education agency that works to preserve the county’s heritage, protect ecosystems and provide opportunities for young people.

The project, which would begin next year and be completed in 2020, will plan a blueway starting from Cold Spring Harbor, through the Long Island Sound and the Huntington and Northport Bay complex, and ending at the mouth of Fresh Pond in Smithtown Bay.

The grant will be used to create a blueway trail map-and-guide smartphone app, and a video tour.

The guide app would include a map of the trail, as well as natural and cultural heritage points of interest. It would allow visitors easier access to trail information, better options in trip planning and increased safety through use of georeferenced maps while on the trail. Trailheads, amenities and downtown assets such as paddle sport establishments would also be identified. It could be used by people on land or water, and would be similar to guides the town has compiled for land-based activities. 

Currently, Huntington’s website features detailed information on nature trails in the area, complete with addresses, parking fees, hours and animals that may be seen in the area.

The Huntington trail would resemble others on Long Island.

A woman and dog enjoy a paddleboarding ride during sunset. Photo from Katie Buttine
A woman and dog enjoy a paddleboarding ride during sunset. Photo from Katie Buttine

Oyster Bay started working on a water path in 2010, with a similar grant and help from a community planning firm that inventoried the best-suited trailheads and amenities that provide access to recreational facilities, commercial establishments, and ecological, historical and cultural resources along the proposed trail, according to Friends of the Bay. A community survey was also conducted to let residents give input on what they thought the trail should look like.

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto praised the project in a 2012 statement:

“[It created] an exciting and unique way for people to learn about and enjoy this beautiful natural watershed and promote the many attractions in and around the harbor. The whole purpose of the blueway trail map is to provide a simple and easy way to discern the best places to stop and take in the wonderful attractions our town has to offer.”

Huntington is hoping their blueway trail will have the same effect.

Cornell Cooperative said it will be working with the town to collect public opinion, field research and more.

Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) introduced the resolution to the town board in July, and said the nonprofit approached him with the idea.

“[The organization] came to Huntington with a very strong project proposal, and we are very delighted to be partnering on this endeavor,” he said in an email.

Carolyn Sukowski, resource educator for the nonprofit said Huntington’s blueway path will be enriched with community contribution.

“This will provide an opportunity for residents to provide their own input, experiences and recommendations,” she said in a phone interview. She also said Cornell Cooperative plans to hold public meetings and distribute surveys that will help determine stops and points of interest on the blueway trail, and the app as well.

Cuthbertson agreed that resident feedback will be an invaluable part of the process.

“We anticipate extensive community input,” he said. “Clearly we expect that our parks, beaches, marinas and historic sites will be included, but our list will be compiled with community input.”

Sukowski said the path will have stops on the shoreline, suggestions for destinations near the water and a list of town parks.