Long Island, NY - August 20, 2014 - Several shellfishing areas in Long Island towns that were closed by the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on August 13 after heavy rainfall in the region reopened today, and other areas will reopen tomorrow, DEC announced.
DEC's Bureau of Marine Resources collected and tested water samples from the affected areas and the results indicated that the water quality meets the standards for certified (open) harvesting areas.
Most shellfishing areas in Nassau County and western and central Suffolk County had been designated as temporarily uncertified (closed) on Wednesday, August 13, following the extremely heavy rains and stormwater runoff that affected much of Long Island. Rainfall in many areas exceeded five inches, with a New York State single-day record of more than 13 inches in Islip.
DEC temporarily closes shellfishing areas to protect the public health. Stormwater runoff caused by heavy rainfall carries bacteria and other pathogens into adjacent surface waters. When water quality in the enclosed creeks, coves, harbors and bays is adversely affected by excessive runoff, there is an increased potential that shellfish in those areas will be hazardous if consumed as food.
The following areas were reopened to shellfish harvesting at sunrise today, August 20:
1. Town of Oyster Bay (north shore): All the normally certified areas of Oyster Bay Harbor and Cold Spring Harbor.
2. Town of Brookhaven (north shore): All the normally certified areas of Stony Brook Harbor and Port Jefferson Harbor.
3. Town of Huntington: All of the normally certified areas of Northport Bay, Duck Island Harbor, Centerport Harbor, Lloyd Harbor, Huntington Bay and Cold Spring Harbor.
4. Town of Smithtown: All the normally certified areas of Stony Brook Harbor.
These additional areas will reopen to shellfish harvesting at sunrise on Thursday, August 21:
1. Towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay (south shore): All the normally certified areas of South Oyster Bay lying easterly of the northbound lanes of Wantagh State Parkway
2. Towns of Babylon and Islip: All the normally certified area of Great South Bay lying west of the northbound span of the Robert Moses Causeway bridge.
3. Towns of Islip and Brookhaven (south shore): All the normally certified areas of Great South Bay lying east of the northbound span of the Robert Moses Causeway.
The following areas remain closed until test results show that water quality meets certified area criteria: Hempstead Bay, East Bay, within the Town of Hempstead, and Mount Sinai Harbor in the Town of Brookhaven. Samples were collected in both areas today.
A recorded message advising harvesters of the status of these shellfish areas may be heard at (631) 444-0480. The message is updated during the course of temporary shellfishing closures. For more detailed descriptions of the closed areas please call (631) 444-0492 during normal business hours.