Tags Posts tagged with "Setauket Harbor"

Setauket Harbor

Photo by Julianne Mosher

Members from the Town of Brookhaven, the Setauket Harbor Task Force and other environmental groups headed out on two boats last week to harvest a potentially new aquatic crop — sugar kelp.

On Thursday, May 20, after a several-months-long process of preparing, planting and harvesting, volunteers joined Brookhaven bay constables out of Port Jefferson Harbor to head slightly west in retrieving the brown native seaweed that was brought to two labs for study. 

The project was spearheaded by nonprofit The Moore Family Charitable Foundation — a community involvement group that helps with projects throughout Long Island and the five boroughs.

“Our main goal for this year is to spread the word about kelp and where it grows, the conditions it needs, how to process it and how it can benefit growers on Long Island,” Wendy Moore, benefactor and manager of the sugar kelp project, previously told TBR News Media.

According to the foundation’s lead scientist David Berg, sugar kelp is known to be edible for both people and pets, it can be used as a fertilizer, bioplastic, biofuel, cosmetics and is a method to help improve water quality. 

Collaborating with the Town of Brookhaven, the Setauket Harbor Task Force, the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University and Cornell Cooperative Extension, it took a large group of different people to implement a crop that could become a big deal on Long Island.

Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) said that when he became supervisor, he immediately knew he wanted to lease out the town’s bays and harbors for projects like this. 

“Not only clams and oysters, but also for things like kelp, which is tremendous,” he said. “And seaweed. I think that we can start an industry and stimulate it to become a major industry.” 

In December, the task force dropped mooring anchors and set up the kelp growing field’s area in Setauket Harbor. In January, members attached the kelp seedlings to a line just under the surface of the water between buoys there.

George Hoffman, a trustee of the task force which helped oversee the sugar kelp cultivation and production, said partnerships like this are critical to get stuff done.

“We’re really thankful to the partnership,” he said. “Between the town and the harbor group, we wouldn’t be able to do what we’re doing if we didn’t have that partnership. It’s just a great example of how government works with citizens groups.”

Nestled in the water between Port Jefferson and Setauket, more than 200 pounds worth of sugar kelp was retrieved. 

Along with being a sustainable crop, sugar kelp helps take in excess nitrogen and CO2 from harbor waters, improving its chemistry. Hoffman said that excess nitrogen causes harmful algae bloom and excess CO2, resulting in ocean acidification.

“Removing nitrogen and CO2 from the waterways is absolutely critical,” Romaine added. “So, [sugar kelp] shows a lot of promise — and if you worry about methane gas, cows eat this when they feed and have 80% less gas.”

Town Councilman Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) joined on the boat, lifting up bags of kelp to weigh. He said that projects like this not only help the environment, but can also make positive changes in the private sector in the future. 

“To me this is the way that government should operate,” he said. “We make investments like this, into scientific research, or ways to develop either materials, or crops or techniques that can have a positive impact on things.”

Eventually, he said, a private sector can take over and make a business out of the crop.

“Government has a role in helping to get that started and making those investments in science,” he said.

Romaine said that Brookhaven has the largest waterfront of any town on the Island. In Port Jefferson, the area surrounding the harbor where the kelp was harvested goes back to the village’s original roots.

“We’re looking around and asking, ‘What could be the new industry for our town? What could give it life? What could be productive? How could we help nature to save clams, oysters, seaweed, kelp?’” he said. “Those industries are the future that we have to be visionary enough to support and to put the muscle of town government behind it.”

Pixabay photo

By Aida von Oiste

In 2018 the Swedes coined the phrase plogging “plock a upp” to encourage picking up roadside garbage. In 2019 Colorado added “plalking while walking” to persuade walkers to do the same.

I live two blocks south of Setauket Harbor. The joy of each morning is walking around the harbor to breathe in the beauty of nature and feast in its seemingly tranquil existence. 

As Spring arrives, I look and listen for the mating call of the red-winged blackbird as they return in mid February, along with the geese who fly in formation above me. Up until the red-winged blackbirds arrival, I often hear the call of the red cardinal and watch its brilliant red flash, along with the blue jays squawking year round and robins and sparrows who have been here throughout the winter.

Summer brings out the mockingbirds singing their varied songs. Wrens and crows surface and an occasional little yellow warbler flies by teasing me with its bright yellow. Summer is filled with nature exploding and reproducing. The swans and geese nest, the hawks and owls terrorize the small birds and chipmunks. You see many a bird fighting to protect its territory and keep its mate. Deer families cross the road, a turkey followed by her babies. Not to be outdone are the geese crossing the road with their babies following stopping traffic. The seagulls are here year round.

Fall brings the departure of the red-winged blackbirds, but the harbor is filled with a swan “convention.” Beautifully colored male ducks and their drab mates, and an occasional crane or heron graze nearby as the boats leave their summer lodgings for winter storage. The gun shot of hunters ring out through late fall and winter. A dreaded sound!

The last few months I’ve taken to walking with a plastic bag to pick up the debris strewn by passing cars who throw their garbage out their windows. Empty cigarettes and cigar packages are the most numerous offenders followed by cans and glass bottles of soda, sparkling water, beer cans, and vodka bottles. Discarded tissues and napkins, McDonald’s meal debris, paper bags filled with leftover wrappings from a local deli and lots of plastic bags. Some are filled with dog waste and dumped on the side of the road.

My bag fills up quickly. Cardboard boxes blown by the wind don’t fit so I put them under my arm. But, I leave the dead fish for the seagulls. 

Once it was an occasional can I could pick up on the side of the road. Now a bag is quickly filled up each way. We can’t stop the “jerks” from throwing out their trash when they drive through, but we can carry a trash bag and go “plalking while walking.” So, please join me in keeping our home pristine!

Task force member Mark Smith at Setauket Harbor installing buoys and lines in Setauket Harbor for growing sugar kelp. Photo from Setauket Harbor Task Force

By Chris Cumella

Rows of sugar kelp – a brown native seaweed — are being planted and will be harvested in Setauket Harbor, not for decoration but to provide cleaner water and other benefits to the community.

Neighboring next to Port Jefferson Harbor, the Setauket Harbor Task Force has installed two 100-foot lines with sugar kelp seedlings in hopes of cultivating them when they are ready for harvesting. There are numerous ways in which the sugar kelp can be benefited from.

This aquatic plant is edible for both people and pets. It can be used as a fertilizer, bioplastic, biofuel, cosmetics and is a method to help improve water quality.

“Our main goal for this year is to spread the word about kelp and where it grows, the conditions it needs, how to process it and how it can benefit growers on Long Island,” said Wendy Moore, benefactor and manager of the sugar kelp project.

Moore, along with her husband, Justin, founded The Moore Family Charitable Foundation, a nonprofit community involvement program.

“To that end, we’ve developed relationships with 11 growers this season,” she said.

Moore attributes her profound interest in the project to the fact that sugar kelp is self-sustaining. It is what she describes as a “low-intensity process,” which has seen nearly no obstacles other than lesser amounts of sun in the winter months. The Town of Brookhaven was one of the first to support the project and even provided equipment to the task force. There are plans to expand the project in the following years.

Even in a continuous pandemic, the project has not been swayed. According to Moore, the gear distribution and outplanting have been outdoors. Everyone on the team has been able to gather safely and follow proper COVID protocols.

“We’re lucky that much of the needed operations at this time are outdoors,” she said.

David Berg, a scientific advisor to the Moore Foundation, said that the cultivation rate would be more likely to increase after the equinox in March.

Besides Setauket and Port Jefferson Harbors, the Moore foundation has set up in other locations including Islip, Brookhaven, Greenport and Oyster Bay.

Two years ago, the Setauket Harbor Task Force began conducting water monitoring in Setauket Harbor. They set out in the spring, summer and fall seasons to take water chemistry readings and samples to document the water quality. With authorization from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the task force has been able to look at what can be done about the water and possibly cleaning it up.

“There’s oyster harvesting and clam harvesting,” said George Hoffman, a trustee of the task force which helps oversee the sugar kelp cultivation and production. “We decided to try sugar kelp harvesting, and they’re cleaning up the water by feeding on the C02 … which leads to water acidification.”

Hoffman describes his feelings about the task force being included in this pilot project as “exciting” and wants to show the public that harbors like Setauket can become productive areas for marine agriculture.

“We’re happy to have a product that will help us clean and improve the quality of the water and likewise providing beneficial food,” he said.

Cultivating the sugar kelp requires attaching the seeds to two 100-feet lines in the harbor, held together in place by mushroom anchors. When the kelp is ready to harvest, it is thick, rubbery, and a glistening shade of brown before it is processed and cleaned into a vibrant emerald green color, ready for distribution.

According to Hoffman, the harvesting sites take up roughly 200 feet of water, and he hopes to see expansion in a couple of years if this project yields successful results.

“The main thing we’re interested in doing is taking the interest that’s already here and helping Long Island along in the momentum of progressing further,” Moore said. “We want to seek out and connect with people and help get the word out about the amazing potential that it has.”

Volunteers for the Setauket Harbor Task Force have monitored the health of Port Jefferson Harbor for the past three years. Photo by Kyle Barr

What does it take to monitor the health of your local waterways? For the people who month after month do just that, all it takes is a love for the place one lives.

The Setauket Harbor Task Force was one of the most active of the 22 groups involved with Save the Sound and its bay water recording initiative. The immense amount of work is taken up by a squad of volunteers, some of whom have been active during the May through October months of the last three years.

Laurie Vetere and George Hoffman, co-founders of the Setauket Harbor Task Force, discuss this year’s findings compared to two years ago. Photo by Kyle Barr

The Setauket Harbor Task Force originated as a way to monitor the health of what they considered the lone “orphaned” bay on the North Shore, but their activities eventually spread over the border into Port Jefferson as well. While the task force originated in 2015 to help maintain the local waterways’ wellbeing, in 2018 the group joined the United Water Study program under the EPA’s Long Island Sound Study, and since then has done monitoring in 10 different locations in Port Jeff and Setauket harbors.

Hoffman, of the task force, said they have dedicated much of their time and energy to the project, especially maintaining rigorous scientific standards. They have gone out in foggy mornings where you could barely see a few feet in front of the boat. Once, their craft’s engine stopped working, and they had to be towed back to harbor. There have been times their small craft has rolled in early morning swells, but they keep on going.

“With climate and environment, there’s so little that most people can do,” he said. “Every day you read about a new thing — ice shelves melting, whales being beached … I find when I talk to volunteers, it’s just being able to do something.”

Every participating organization must take readings of the water twice a month, no less than 10 days apart. Because monitoring must be performed three hours before sunrise, volunteers are up well before dawn, getting into the small craft and wading out into the harbors. Their recording instrument, a sonde meter that records all manor of water quality metrics, costs close to $20,000. 

Steve Antos, one of the task force board members, also owns Setauket Landscape Design. Though he and others in his group have lived in the area for decades, the idea of water quality has really taken a hold on many of its participants. Antos enjoys constructing rain gardens in his regular job, which are critical for preventing water runoff flowing from people’s yards down toward the Sound. 

“In the past, everyone tried to get their properties to drain onto the road … and eventually it just runs into our bays and takes all the pollution and dog waste with it,” Antos said. “A lot of it is way beyond our control, but whatever we can do, just little things, it all adds up.”

Before working with the task force, many of the 10 or so volunteers wouldn’t have known what most of the readings, from the chlorophyll levels or turbidity (the water clarity) meant, but now have become a kind of citizen scientist, able to comprehend measurements using a very technical device. Their backgrounds range from a retired veterinarian to retired teachers, but what brings them together is their long time proximity to the bays and waterways of the North Shore. It’s what drove them to want to make sure the water was being maintained.

Tom Lyon, of Mount Sinai, and Mark Smith, of East Setauket, are the boat captains, and have lent their experience and water crafts to the project. They are small runabouts, one an 18-foot and the other 16. 

Nancy Goldstein, herself a trained scuba diver, got into the project thanks to a friend and has been active for three years. 

“I took marine biology in high school, but I’m totally not a scientist,” Goldstein said. “I care about the earth, and the marine — it’s all one.”

Bert Conover, a retired veterinarian from Port Jeff, said he has always been on the water “from Delaware River to Ocean City.” Long ago, he majored in chemistry and biology, but went to grad school for zoology and then went on to veterinarian school. 

“Now that I’m retired it gives me a chance to give back,” he said. “And hopefully the data will redirect how to approach a healthy harbor.”

Alice Leser has lived in Stony Brook for 49 years, and is a life-long Long Islander. She has taught programs about Long Island waters as a teacher and alongside fellow environmentalists at the Long Island Museum. When three years ago the task force offered her a training program at the Village Center, she snapped up the opportunity.

“I’ve been surrounded by water my entire life,” she said. “I’ve canoeed all the rivers, and I’ve taught programs about Long Island waters, so I really care about the purity of the water.”

Laurie Vetere, the fellow co-founder of the task force, said they have not had anyone drop out in three years.

“When we first started this program, we found that we had more volunteers than we needed,” Vetere said. “People are attracted to the water.”

Hoffman agreed, saying there is something about Long Islanders and their connection to their coasts.

“Long Islanders are coastal people,” he said. “I think what keeps us on Long Island is we all have a love for the water.” 

The pond near Se-Port Delicatessen, in a photo from last year, will benefit from a $1 million state grant. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Setauket Harbor and its surrounding area will be a bit cleaner due to a grant secured by a state senator.

“Long Islanders are fortunate to have access to natural resources like the Setauket Harbor and we must continually fight to preserve them.”

— Sen. John Flanagan

Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) secured a $1 million grant from the state for the Town of Brookhaven in 2016 to be used to improve water quality in Setauket Harbor, which will also help clean out the pond slightly west of Se-Port Delicatessen on Route 25A and fix the dock on Shore Road. While the grant was secured two years ago, the contract period began Oct. 1.

“Long Islanders are fortunate to have access to natural resources like the Setauket Harbor and we must continually fight to preserve them,” Flanagan said in a statement. “That is why projects like this are so important, and it is my pleasure to work with the Setauket Harbor Task Force as well as the Town of Brookhaven to ensure that this beautiful natural resource is protected.  These fragile ecosystems are so critical to every facet of life for the people who live, work and play in our region, and it is imperative that we continually join together to make sure they are available to future generations of Long Islanders.”

Veronica King, the town’s stormwater manager, explained how the money would be put to use.

“The project has three distinct components — repair the failing bulkhead at the Shore Road park, remove sediment from the retention pond at [East] Setauket Pond Park, and implement stormwater improvements to mitigate stormwater inputs into the harbor,” she said.

King said the work will take approximately three years to complete and a professional engineering firm will be hired to assist with design, permitting and construction.

“If we don’t fix the pond, we’re just kind of spitting into the wind in terms of all the other stuff we do.”

— George Hoffman

Members of Setauket Harbor Task Force, an organization created with the goal to improve water quality in the harbor, have been consulting with the town about the project, according to task force co-founder George Hoffman.

He said the largest source of pathogens in the harbor are most likely from stormwater from the pond.

“If we don’t fix the pond, we’re just kind of spitting into the wind in terms of all the other stuff we do,” he said.

Hoffman said the pond near the delicatessen serves as an inlet to Setauket Harbor, and stormwater from Route 25A — from around the fire station northeast to the water — washes into it. Hoffman said the pond’s old, faulty water treatment structure is allowing sediment to build up and currently stormwater is going straight into the harbor. He said sediment can include sand that’s been put down on the roads in the winter, items that fall off trucks and cars and pet waste.

“The town has a strong commitment to protecting our natural environment.”

— Veronica King

Hoffman said the goal is to dredge the pond and remove 10 feet of sediment. He said the reconstruction of the stormwater inputs would enable the sediment to go into a catch basin that’s specifically designed to capture it. The sediment will settle and then only water would go into the harbor.

King said the town will contribute $500,000 worth of capital funds, bringing the total allocation to the project to $1.5 million.

“The town has a strong commitment to protecting our natural environment,” she said. “It makes it so much easier when we have the community’s support for projects such as the Setauket Harbor project.”

The town will also need to get approval from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation before removing the sediment, which is standard DEC procedure as at times it may contain toxins. King said it shouldn’t be a problem as the town recently did a grain size analysis and found a high percentage of coarse sand material, and she doesn’t expect any surprises as far as chemical compounds.

Hoffman said he looks forward to the improvements as many people attending the Route 25A Visioning meetings in 2017 pointed to the area around the harbor as having potential.

“We see it as the first phase,” he said. “I think we have some plans to make it the centerpiece of downtown East Setauket.”

Russell Burke, a professor of biology at Hofstra University, shows how newly state-mandated terrapin excluder devices keep turtles out while crabs can still get in. Photo by Kyle Barr

It has been a slow crawl saving Long Island’s turtles, but local conservation groups are hoping new state regulations will speed up the process.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Long Island environmental groups gathered May 23 at the Suffolk County Environmental Center in Islip to celebrate new rules requiring crab cages — used in Long Island’s coastal waters including many of the bays, harbors and rivers that enter Long Island Sound — to have “terrapin excluder devices” (TEDs) on all entrances. As carnivores, terrapins are attracted to bait fish used in commercial, or what’s known as Maryland style crab traps or “pots.” As a result, male and female turtles of all sizes push their way through the entrance funnels and end up drowning.

John Turner, a conservation policy advocate for the Seatuck Environmental Association, shows the North Shore areas where turtles are getting caught and drowning in crab cages. Photo by Kyle Barr

“With each and every season these traps are not required to have TEDs, there are likely hundreds of terrapins that are drowning,” said John Turner, conservation policy advocate for Seatuck Environmental Association, which operates the Islip center. “To me, one of the signs of a real civilized society is how we treat other life-forms. We haven’t treated terrapins very well.”

He said in Stony Brook Harbor alone there are dozens, maybe hundreds of terrapins that will spend the winter in the mud, emerging once the water runs up high enough. Turner said many of the North Shore areas that are home to these turtles, like Setauket Harbor, Conscience Bay, Port Jefferson Harbor, Mount Sinai Harbor and Nissequogue River, play a key role in preserving the species.

“In contrast to where I am in South Jersey, I can go by the canals and I can see a dozen [terrapin] heads bobbing up and down,” said James Gilmore, director of the marine resources division at the state DEC. “Here, it’s very rare to see one. Hopefully these new rules will help us see more.”

Gilmore said the DEC began working on changing state regulations in 2013 but have known long before there was a problem.

Carl LoBue, The Nature Conservancy’s New York ocean program director, said it was in the late 1990s he’d witnessed recreational crab traps in Stony Brook Harbor. One day he lifted a cage out of the water while trying to move his landlord’s boat and saw it was filled with trapped terrapins. Two were still alive, but five
had already drowned.

“With each and every season these traps are not required to have TEDs, there are likely hundreds of terrapins that are drowning.”

— John Turner

“I’m sure the crabber wasn’t intent to kill turtles,” LoBue said. “But when I looked across the bay at the 60 or something crab traps this person had set, I was crushed thinking of the terrapins drowning at that very moment.”

In the early 2000s terrapins became a popular meal in New York, but the harvest of those turtles led to a massive decrease in population, especially the diamondback terrapin, which was identified as a species of greatest conservation need in the 2015 New York State Wildlife Action Plan. In September 2017 the DEC passed regulations banning the commercial harvest of diamondbacks.

Terrapin population has slowly increased since then, but researchers say there’s still little known about the population, like life expectancy or habits while in water. The species has a very slow birth rate, with low local clutches of 10 or so eggs — sometimes only one or two of which hatch and mature. 

Russell Burke, a professor of biology at Hofstra University, said terrapins could live very long lives, pointing to older specimens he has seen living to 60 years old, but he estimated some could be twice that age. While Burke said it’s hard to estimate the total population on Long Island, he said in Jamaica Bay alone, he knows there are approximately 3,500 adult females.

Terrapin, or turtles, are carnivores, attracted to fish typically used to catch crab. Photo by Kyle Barr

The TED devices are 4 3/4 inches by 1 3/4 inches, an exact measurement, to ensure that while crabs can get through, turtles cannot. According to Kim McKown, leader of the Marine Invertebrate and Protected Resources Unit at the state DEC, the small, plastic TEDs cost $10 for the three needed to secure a normal crab trap. The cost exponentially increases depending on how many traps a fisherman has, with some owning up to 1,000 traps.

Turner said his organization used its own funds and purchased 5,000 TEDs and gifted them to the DEC. The state agency is giving them to Long Island crab fishermen on a first come, first served basis.

Commercial crab fisherman Fred Chiofolo, who hunts in Brookhaven Town along the South Shore, experimented with TEDs on his own for years before the regulations were passed. He said the devices
even improved the number of crabs caught.

“It made a significant difference with the pots that had them versus the pots that didn’t,” Chiofolo said. “Last year I put them in every pot I had — about 200 of them. I’m not going to lie it’s a lot of work to put them in, but we don’t want to catch the turtle. I don’t want them, and [the TED] does keep them out.”

Many living around Setauket Harbor for years have complained about waterfowl hunters who they feel practice their sport too close to homes and residents enjoying the area. Photo from End Duck Hunting in Setauket Harbor

Residents in the vicinity of Setauket Harbor are crying “fowl” when it comes to the shooting of ducks and geese on the waterway and are hoping to change local hunting laws.

Early in December, a post on the Facebook page Three Village Parents generated a lot of buzz. Many residents near Setauket Harbor reported seeing hunters and hearing shotguns in the area. One resident commented that she had seen pellet holes in her window, while another said she changes her jogging route during hunting season, which runs until Jan. 28 for ducks and Feb. 26 for geese.

Waterfowl hunting is legal in the state. According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the agency promotes it as both a recreational sport and wildlife management tool. Those wishing to hunt waterfowl can do so during open seasons as long as they possess a valid hunting license, migratory bird stamp and Harvest Information Program number. Despite the laws, local residents aren’t happy with the early morning noises and feel the nearby hunting is a threat to their safety.

Tami Robitsek said she was sitting in her car the morning of Nov. 15 at Shore Road beach in East Setauket when she heard a loud gunshot and noticed two men in camouflage with shotguns hiding in the reeds on the beach. Robitsek said she felt it posed a dangerous situation as she witnessed several people walking and running along the road, a school bus filled with children, a man working on his boat moored off the shore and an elderly woman crying just off the road after hearing the shots.

Hunters spotted by a resident on View Road. Photo from End Duck Hunting in Setauket Harbor

“After this jarring experience, I am committed to working to end duck hunting in Setauket Harbor,” Robitsek said.

The East Setauket resident is rallying her neighbors and recently created the Facebook group, End Duck Hunting in Setauket Harbor, which has gained 70 members. She said community people have expressed support for a no-discharge ordinance in Setauket due to safety concerns and have discovered that neighboring Village of Poquott already has a no-discharge ordinance, which prevents the discharging of firearms outside official duties.

“Given the historical significance of this waterway, the delicate ecosystem, waterfowl nesting, dense population on all sides of the harbor and so on, it is clear to me that Setauket Harbor and its area residents deserve to be protected from hunting of all kinds,” Robitsek said.

Animal rescue and activist Joanne Tamburro, who has worked with Guardians of Rescue, an organization dedicated to rescuing abused animals, has offered her support to organize residents and approach local elected officials to initiate the no-discharge order. The 20-year Setauket resident said while residents have complained in the past, their concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

“I’m against hunting, but I don’t preach,” Tamburro said. “However, if you want to hunt, not by me. I don’t want to see it, I don’t want to be a part of it and don’t try to convince me that it helps the environment.”

As an animal activist, Tamburro is concerned for the birds, too.

“What about these poor animals that are getting shot, and they’re walking around with a broken wing,” she said.

Chris Spies, a hunter from Holbrook who works in Stony Brook, said he has had negative interactions in the past with residents.

“I understand that people are upset getting woken up early, I completely understand,” he said. “However, I also get up early in the morning with an expectation to go out and enjoy myself in my pursuit of a lawful activity and not be accosted in the field with people cursing me out, taking photographs of me, videotaping me, banging pots and pans and calling the police on me multiple times.”

He said some residents don’t mind though and even come out to talk to him.

“It is clear to me that Setauket Harbor and its area residents deserve to be protected from hunting of all kinds.”

— Tami Robitsek

Spies said residents should be aware that while standard hunting laws state that shooting must be done 500 feet from an occupied residence, that rule is suspended while waterfowl hunting. According to the DEC’s website, it is lawful to discharge a shotgun over water within 500 feet of a dwelling, public structure or person as long as no buildings or people are in the line of discharge.

The hunter said residents should know that duck hunters don’t use bullets but shot shells, which shoot many BBs in a shot string for more effective hunting while not posing safety risks beyond 70 yards or so.

“Shooting a single projectile at a flying bird would be very ineffective at harvesting them, as well as dangerous further down range,” he said.

He also has a few tips for his fellow sportsmen. Spies said before hunters head out, they should visit gis3.suffolkcountyny.gov/gisviewer to view a county map that shows property lines and ownership to ensure that they are not trespassing.

While out shooting, Spies suggests that when seeing others, hunters should stop shooting, put down their guns and take off their hats. He said they should let their decoys work in their favor and wait until the ducks are in an effective range, typically under 30 yards, which would avoid unnecessary shots. He suggests one shot per bird or less as random shooting annoys nearby residents and scares the birds.

“I’m a big proponent of hunters being ethical and part of the ethics of hunting is not taking indiscriminate shots,” he said.

Robitsek and Tamburro said while they face a difficult road in fighting the state law that allows hunting, they are prepared for the battle with plans to solicit the help of local lawmakers and stage protests if necessary.

“It’s ridiculous to allow any type of hunting in and around this area, with the amount of homes we have here,” Tamburro said.