In 2004, Peconic Baykeeper was the beneficiary of a gift of 289 acres of bay bottomlands
in Great Peconic Bay. Acquiring land has long been a successful tool for conserving
forests, farms or natural areas, as well as to promote sustainable management practices.
Unfortunately, there have been few similar opportunities to protect and demonstrate
management strategies for coastal water environments and living resources within them.
Thus, Peconic Baykeeper is in a unique position to work with local partners to use
submerged land and shellfish restoration to protect and restore critical marine habitat,
improve water quality and enhance the local community’s economy and quality of life.
With initial grant funding, Peconic Baykeeper has completed a survey of the new
property and begun a comprehensive analysis of the vegetative and marine life on the bay
bottom (the benthic community). The benthic analysis will provide a baseline from
which to measure future changes that may result from aquaculture uses and harvesting
techniques. The next steps, for which the organization is seeking funding, will culminate
in a management plan for the property. In the planning and future implementation of the
bottomland demonstration, the organization seeks to establish partnerships with public
and private institutions with shared interests in natural resource management and
protection. Management objectives will include establishment of spawner sanctuaries in
shellfish-depleted areas of the estuaries, evaluation of shellfish harvesting techniques on
the bay bottomland environment, and support of sustainable aquaculture operations. To
establish a comparative baseline, portions of the Peconic Bay bottomlands will be
managed as a “wild” resource.