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Gold Star Battalion Beach

The Town of Huntington placed clams in Huntington Harbor Sept. 26. On Sept. 27, spat-on shell oysters were deployed into the water. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Town of Huntington Supervisor Ed Smyth (R) greeted members of Cornell Cooperative Extension Suffolk County’s Marine Program and the town’s Maritime Services department before they headed out on the water this week.

File photo by Kimberly Brown

An expedition leaving Gold Star Battalion Beach dock out into Huntington Harbor Sept. 27 was the first of two projects. Monday, the town and CCE representatives placed seed clams in the water, and Tuesday, the group deployed spat-on-shell oysters.

As groups of spat grow into mature oysters, they create a reef and help to filtrate waterways. Cleaner water leads to species diversity which in turn helps to support the local shellfish industry.

The clams released into the harbor can be harvested and consumed once they are mature.

Garrett Chelius, Huntington deputy director of Maritime Services, said 250,000 clams were being placed, and about 7,000 oysters this week.

“The oysters are more for habitat,” he said. “They get deployed to make kind of an artificial reef to create food sources and hiding spaces for other animals and other fish, and they filter 50 gallons of water a day for each oyster.” 

The oysters, he said, are placed strategically using GPS coordinates from CCE. The clams can be spread out. It takes approximately three years for the clams, which have already reached one year, to be mature enough to be harvested. 

Smyth added the shellfish currently are about the size of a nickel. The supervisor said working with CCE in their efforts to clean Huntington waters with natural resources has been a successful partnership and the initiative is an easy one.

“As far as growing them, it’s very low maintenance,” he said. Volunteers “put them into the racks that are underneath the docks, and they’re protected.”

The program runs at Gold Star Battalion Beach, Asharoken Beach and Crescent Beach at Huntington Bay where volunteers help to care for the shellfish. The town hopes to expand the program next year.

Huntington Town, Northport Village to participate in Clean Beaches Day

Clean Beaches Day kicks off in Huntington Town and Northport Village this weekend. File photo

This weekend, Huntington Town residents will get the chance to roll up their sleeves and clean up their favorite beaches.

Clean Beaches Day is set for Saturday, June 6. Huntington Town and Northport Village co-sponsor the event, which will feature cleanups at Centerport, Crab Meadow, Gold Start Battalion, Asharoken/Steers and Scudder beaches.

In an interview this week, Northport Village Mayor George Doll said he is calling on volunteers to participate in the festivities. A commercial fisherman by trade, Doll said the event is important to him and he’s been participating for several years.

“I do it because not only am I interested in the environment, but I make a living off of fish that are pretty much a natural resource,” he said. “And it’s just a way of doing something to help keep it clean.”

Those who participate in Northport will get the chance to visit Bird Island, a bird sanctuary that doesn’t get a lot of visitors, Doll said. The island was created in the 1960s with dredge spoils, and the site eventually became home to a number of birds including Canadian geese, swans and ospreys, he said.

Volunteers will get the option of registering for a cleanup at Centerport, Crab Meadow or Gold Star Battalion beaches, according to a press release from Councilwoman Susan Berland’s (D) office. Also, volunteers can register to be a part of the Clean Beaches Bus Tour, which will take them to Asharoken/Steers and Scudder beaches.

One kickoff for the event will be at 8:15 a.m. at Centerport Beach, where volunteers can enjoy breakfast before the cleanup. The bus tour leaves Centerport Beach at 9 a.m. After the cleanup, at noon, a luncheon will be held at the pavilion at Centerport Beach, where volunteers can relax and enjoy refreshments.

Doll said volunteers would also be meeting up in Northport at 8:30 a.m. at the Village Dock, where they’ll be served a continental breakfast courtesy of Tim’s Shipwreck Diner. Cleanup will start at 9 a.m.

Visit the town’s website for more information on Clean Beaches Day or contact Fran Evans at 631-351-3018.