Long Island, NY - December 11, 2014 - Shellfish harvesting areas in several Towns in Nassau and Suffolk Counties have been designated as uncertified (closed) for shellfish harvesting, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. These temporary closures were implemented following the extraordinarily heavy rainfall and stormwater runoff that affected Long Island. More than three inches of precipitation fell within 12 hours in all the affected areas; a daily record was set at Long Island MacArthur airport.
This action was taken to protect the public health. Excessive stormwater runoff caused by heavy rainfall carries bacteria and other pathogens into adjacent surface waters, adversely affecting water quality in the enclosed creeks, coves, harbors and bays and causing shellfish in those areas to have an increased potential to be hazardous for use as food.
The closures in Nassau County and the Town of Huntington went into effect at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, December 9. The closures in Southampton and East Hampton are effective Wednesday, December 10. All the closures will continue until a determination is made that conditions no longer exist that may make shellfish hazardous for use as food.
The following areas are designated as uncertified and the harvest of shellfish is temporarily prohibited:
- Towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay (south shore): All that area of Hempstead Bay, East Bay and South Oyster Bay and their tributaries in the Towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay.
- Town of North Hempstead: All of Hempstead Harbor lying south of a line extending from Prospect Point to Matinecock Point.
- Town of Oyster Bay (north shore): All of Oyster Bay Harbor and all of Cold Spring Harbor lying southerly of a line extending easterly from the stone house on Plum Point (Centre Island) to the northerly side of the beach pavilion at West Neck Beach (Town of Huntington) on the eastern shore of Cold Spring Harbor; and all of Hempstead Harbor lying south of a line extending from Prospect Point to Matinecock Point.
- Towns of Babylon and Islip: All that area of Great South Bay and its tributaries lying westerly of the northbound span of the Robert Moses Causeway bridges.
- Town of Huntington: All of Northport Bay, Duck Island Harbor, Centerport Harbor, Lloyd Harbor and Huntington Bay lying southerly of a line extending easterly from the southernmost point of East Beach to the southernmost point of West Beach (also known as Sand City Beach), and, Cold Spring Harbor.
- Town of Southampton: All of Sag Harbor and its tributaries and a portion of outer Sag Harbor.
- Town of East Hampton: All of Northwest Harbor lying easterly of a line extending northeasterly from the westernmost point of land at the entrance to Northwest Creek, to the foot of Mile Hill Road; all of Northwest Creek; and a portion of outer Sag Harbor.
DEC will re-open areas as soon as possible based on the results of water quality testing to be conducted on samples that will be collected from the affected areas over the next several days.
A recorded message that advises harvesters of the status of these shellfish areas may be heard at (631) 444-0480. The message will be updated during the course of the temporary closures. For a more detailed description of the closed areas please call DEC's Marine Resources office during normal business hours at (631) 444-0492. Additionally, information about temporary shellfish closures will be available on DEC's website.
Photo by Gary Cowles via Free Images