Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) and Senator Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) have secured $200,000 in the 2016-17 New York State budget to help protect and restore the Peconic Estuary.
Both legislators have been very involved with the Peconic Estuary Program since its inception and been aware in 1985 of waters turning the color of coffee, representing brown tide, a harmful algal bloom that devastated the local scallop industry.
That crisis precipitated the Peconic Estuary being inducted into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program.
Since 1993, efforts have been under way to restore the natural environment and protect fishing, shellfishing, and tourism that contribute millions of dollars to the state’s economy.
After more than 20 years of Peconic Estuary Program successes, there remains much work to be done to coastal habitats and solve the water quality crisis on the East End of Long Island, according to a statement issued by both men.
“Not only must we protect the scenic beauty and the ecological integrity of the Peconic Estuary,” Mr. Thiele said. “We must protect the resource which drives the East End economy, pumping millions of dollars into our region,” he said, calling it a “wise investment in our environment and our economy.”
Similarly, Mr. LaValle said the money will aid the Peconic Estuary Program in its core priorities of protecting and restoring water resources crucial to future generations.
Peconic Estuary Program director Alison Branco said she is grateful for the long-time support both legislators have given to the program.