LETTERS, STATEMENTS & UPDATES

Please see our most current position on the Home Page.

February 26, 2020

To the East Hampton Town Board and Trustees:

I’d like to offer the following remarks tonight:

•  The State and County have no authority to lease surface waters, directly or indirectly.  This fact is well established under the Public Trust Doctrine and NYS law.

•  The SCALP law specifically authorizes only the lease of lands under water, not the surface of the water.

•  SCALP can only authorize leases that use underwater systems that do not interfere in navigation, and certainly not floating systems, which were not in use at the time the SCALP law was enacted.

•  Floating systems are not something that can be allowed by compromise, because NYS has no authority to violate navigation rights.  Anyone could sue and win, even in the face of a majority compromise.

•  In any event, the southern end of Gardiner’s Bay is heavily used for recreational boating of all kinds, so would be unsuitable for any systems that obstruct navigation, even if allowable.

• The only possible compromise I can see would be to allow near-shore systems with the same footprint as traditional pound traps, or widely spaced, single-point hanging systems with the same footprint as lobster-pot buoys.  These footprints, it could be argued, are sufficiently common and well-accepted for so long without legal challenge, that it can be agreed they do not interfere with navigation.  This will involve a restructuring of the SCALP program.

Thank you,

Rod Richardson

 


August 31, 2019

To the East Hampton Town Board:

The Citizens of Gardiner’s Bay is an organization formed in 2018 by more than 50 town residents to address concerns regarding the installation of floating aquaculture gear in Gardiner’s Bay.

https://citizensofgardinersbay.org/

As homeowners, business owners and frequent users of the waters of Gardiner's Bay, we asked to have our voices heard concerning the use of floating oyster cages for commercial aquaculture development. Suffolk County and its consultants, Cashin & Associates, responded with an inclusive approach to gathering input from all users of the bay for the 10-Year Review; we very much appreciated that and thank them for their efforts.

From our perspective, this comprehensive input has reinforced two important points: 1) If carefully located, there is broad based support for the shellfish industry and for its obvious benefits to the environment and to the livelihoods of many who work on the water, and 2) Floating aquaculture gear should be limited to locations that minimize navigational conflicts and safety risks for other users of the bay.

Now that the input has been gathered, we have asked the 10-Year Review Advisory Committee to act on it by reassessing existing (and potentially new) lease sites and to identify areas where floating gear can be legally and safely used.

We understand that the Fisheries Advisory Committee has provided its input and we now ask that the Town of East Hampton Board and its representatives also communicate to the county our input:

We believe that the 22 lease sites in Gardiner’s Bay present clear navigational conflicts and we ask that any installed floating gear be relocated and that future leases awarded in these areas make use of gear that rests on the bottom rather than on the surface, in order to preserve safe navigation, safe recreation, and our scenic vistas for all users of our bays.

Sincerely,

Citizens of Gardiner’s Bay


An Update to the Process for Supporting Responsible Aquaculture Development on the East End

As homeowners, business owners and frequent users of the waters of Gardiner's and Peconic Bay, we asked to have our voices heard concerning the use of floating oyster cages for commercial aquaculture development. Suffolk County and its Consultants, Cashin & Associates responded with an inclusive approach to gathering input from all users of the bay for the 10-Year Review; we thank them for their efforts.

This comprehensive input has reinforced two important points: 1. if carefully located, there is broad based support for the shellfish industry for its obvious benefits to the environment and livelihoods to many who work on the water, 2. floating aquaculture gear should be limited to locations that minimize navigational conflicts and safety risks for other users of the bay.

Now that the input has been gathered, we ask the 10-Year Review Advisory Committee to act on it by reassessing existing (and potentially new) lease sites and identify areas where floating gear can be legally and safely used.

In areas where clear navigational conflicts have been identified, we ask that any installed floating gear be relocated and that future leases awarded in these areas make use of gear that rests on the bottom rather than on the surface, in order to preserve safe navigation and our scenic vistas for all users of our bays.