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Celebration marks Peconic Estuary’s designation

You can’t actually drink the brackish water in the Peconic Estuary — the place where the fresh water of the Peconic River meets the salty water coming from the Atlantic Ocean — but to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its designation as an Estuary of National Significance, the Group for the East End will be giving out free Peconic Estuary water bottles Saturday.

They will go to the first 150 people who come to Peconic Estuary Day — a series of free events being held at the Long Island Science Center at 11 W. Main St. in Riverhead — and will be filled with very drinkable water, courtesy of the Suffolk County Water Authority.

The estuary’s designation as being nationally significant — made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after years of lobbying by local officials — made it easier to get federal funds to help preserve the estuary and deal with pollution.

Staff and volunteers from the Group for the East End will be available to answer questions about the estuary from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Paddle tours of the estuary and a tour of the new Grangebel Park fish ladder — which allows alewives to get around a dam and up to the fresh water of the Peconic River headwaters where they spawn — will be given at 1 and 2 p.m.

Some activities require sign-up registration. More information is available by calling the Group for the East End’s community outreach office at 631-765-6450, ext. 208.

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