The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council and Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams joined Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) last week to announce the first stages of the $182,900 award CCE received as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative. These resources will help the expansion of the Peconic Bay Scallop Restoration Project in Suffolk County.
In 2005 Cornell Cooperative Extension's Marine Program and Long Island University partnered with Suffolk County to create the largest scallop spawner sanctuary. The economy of Suffolk County derives hundreds of millions of dollars from marine-related industries. “Thanks to the support of the Long Island Regional Economic Council and the Empire State Development Corp, CCE of Suffolk can continue to play a vital role in sustaining this heritage industry," said Vito Minei, Executive Director of CCE of Suffolk. The Peconic Bay Scallops Restoration Project was identified and supported by the Long Island Regional Council as a Transformative Project in recognition of the importance of increasing the scallop stocks in the Peconic Bay of Long Island. Efforts by CCE have resulted in increased scallop landings, numerous jobs in the industry and $3 million in annual regional economic activity.
Prior to the mid-1980s, Peconic bay scallops supported a commercial fishery valued at $2-4 million. Including economic multipliers, the fishery contributed more than $10 million to the local economy. For 400-600 full-time baymen, bay scallops were their primary source of income. In 1985, and again in 1995, a series of brown tide algal blooms destroyed the Peconic bay scallop populations and pushed them to the brink of extinction. Cornell Cooperative Extension and Long Island University have been leading successful restoration efforts for over 20 years. LIU and Cornell scientists have documented a 1300% increase in scallop populations in Orient Harbor, the site at which we have concentrated our scallop plantings, as well as large increases in other nearby areas.
Last year, a total of $785 million was awarded through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) for job creation and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans. As part of that process, the Cornell Cooperative Extension was awarded $182,900 from Empire State Development’s Economic Development Fund. CCE helps preserve Suffolk County’s vast heritage, protect its sensitive eco-systems, promote healthy lifestyles and promote education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). CCE programs impact thousands of businesses, schools and individuals each year with the help of more than one thousand volunteers. CCE Suffolk is supported in part by county, state and federal contracts and agreements with Cornell University.