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Officials sign pledge to protect watershed

Members of the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Protection

Members of the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee at Theodore Roosevelt Park in Oyster Bay. The two-year-old environmental group is set to run out of grant money in June. (Jan. 23, 2012) Credit: Alejandra Villa

Leaders of municipalities in the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor watershed Wednesday made official their commitment to work together to improve the waters that Nassau County Legis. Delia DeRiggi-Whitton called “important to our quality of life here.”

The 14 municipal members of the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee signed an agreement to pledge time, money and resources toward the harbors in a ceremony at Theodore Roosevelt Park in Oyster Bay hamlet.

As state and federal mandates on municipal stormwater systems “get more and more intense, bonding together as fellow municipalities has gotten even more important,” said Bayville Mayor Doug Watson.

Bayville was the first of the invitees to pledge membership, Watson said, adding, “It gives me a good comfort level as a mayor of a village that’s surrounded by water to have other people in the same boat.”

The ceremony was also attended by the mayors of Glen Cove, Centre Island, Cove Neck, Laurel Hollow, Lloyd Harbor, Mill Neck, Lattingtown, Muttontown and Oyster Bay Cove, and officials from Upper Brookville, Oyster Bay and Huntington towns, and Nassau County.

DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove) said she hopes increased awareness about the harbors will lead to increased funding toward their protection. The water “is an economic source for the area as well as an environmental source,” she said.

Four municipalities of the 18 total invitees to the committee have not yet signed on, but committee chairman Eric Swenson said the group will “make do” without the membership fees the four would have committed. He said he was encouraged by the sense of community among the current members.

“When you get all the mayors together, it brings the committee to a whole other level,” Swenson said.

Above: Members of the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee at Theodore Roosevelt Park in Oyster Bay. (Jan. 23, 2012)

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