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Smithtown board OKs plan to help protect Lake Ronkonkoma

A view of Lake Ronkonkoma at Lake Ronkonkoma

A view of Lake Ronkonkoma at Lake Ronkonkoma County Park. (July 22, 2010) Credit: Brittany Wait

Smithtown officials signed an agreement Tuesday to join a group with two other towns and Suffolk County dedicated to protecting Lake Ronkonkoma.

Smithtown board members voted unanimously to join the Lake Ronkonkoma Watershed Intermunicipal Organization at the board meeting after postponing the decision last month.

The board halted its decision on joining the group, which includes towns of Islip and Brookhaven, due to a civic leader’s concern that the agreement would aid in the widening of County Road 16 near the lake, said Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio.

Smithtown officials also appointed town environmental protection director Russell Barnett to represent the town in the group, after Barnett found no evidence that the agreement would assist in road widening.

The group aims to address the lake’s environmental problems, including sewage discharges, stormwater and fertilizer runoff, officials have said.

Fellow organization members were pleased to have Smithtown aboard, officials said.

“With the Town of Smithtown joining the Lake Ronkonkoma Watershed Intermunicipal Organization,” said Suffolk County spokeswoman Vanessa Baird-Streeter, “it is set to allow the group to work cooperatively together and identify shared goals, as well as identify and obtain funding for rehabilitation projects that might be necessary or fit for Lake Ronkonkoma.”

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