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Friends of the Bay calls for aid to protect watershed

Patricia Aitken, Director of Friends of the Bay

Patricia Aitken, Director of Friends of the Bay Photo Credit: Handout

Friends of the Bay, a 20-year-old nonprofit dedicated to protecting the waters of Oyster Bay, sent out an appeal today to Oyster Bay residents to raise support for its "Watershed Action Plan."

The plan, which is set to be complete by May, is expected to address water quality and wildlife issues in Oyster Bay.

Friends of the Bay Director Patricia Aitken said the action plan will be comprised of a list of projects that the organization expects will help enrich water quality and protect the bay from future issues.

Now the organization is seeking private funding, donations and grant opportunities to put the plan into action once it's complete.

Just one project — improving fish passage at Beekman Creek in Oyster Bay — would cost more than $250,000, she said.

And that's just a drop in the bay.

"A lot of these things we don't have price tags on, but anything with construction involved will cost something."

Among other projects, the organization would like to improve the fish passage ladder at Beaver Dam, allowing wildlife to move upstream. Aitken said the full plan will include continuing water quality monitoring Friends of the Bayhas been doing since the 1990s. And she expects the plan to address the problem of invasive species in Oyster Bay.

The organization has already gotten help from community members to improve conditions on the bay.

This summer volunteers from the Oyster Bay community pulled 24,000 pounds of water chestnuts out of Mill Pond in Oyster Bay to bring in more sunlight and oxygen for underwater organisms.

Friends of the Bay invites community members to bring ideas to an informational meeting on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. at Oyster Bay High School to discuss ideas for the plan.

On the need for funding, Aitken said project funding is part of the bigger picture.

“Of course, any organization needs to have funding to have the lights on, pay salaries and keep the organization moving forward.”

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