21 good things about 2021

21 Good Things About 2021

scallop
Image by Mike Patricio

Peconic Bay Scallop

CCE Marine Digital Education header new

See our new Digital Education page!

horseshoe crab

Horseshoe Crab Monitoring Network

oysters
Image by Kimberly Manzo

Oysters are one of the species of shellfish raised by CCE's Aquaculture Program.

eelgrass restoration
Image by Kimberly Manzo

Eelgrass Restoration

Lady crab in a Peconic Estuary eelgrass meadow.
Image by Kimberly Manzo

A lady crab protects her clutch in a Peconic Estuary eelgrass meadow.

cedar beach seining

Youth Education - Seining at Cedar Beach, Southold

stormwater water quality

Stormwater/Water Quality

fisheries trawler

Fisheries

Winter flounder in a Long Island Sound eelgrass meadow.

A winter flounder swims through a Long Island Sound eelgrass meadow.

Atlantic silversides.
Image by Christopher Pickerell

Atlantic silversides are important prey items for larger predatory fish and shorebirds.

Marine

Welcome 2022! Let's take a look at 21 GOOD THINGS ABOUT 2021! 

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21 - We were able to bring back in-person camp experiences this summer and engaged nearly 1,600 kids in marine science exploration and nature-based activities.

Youth Education is a key Program Area of ours, and our popular summer camp experiences are enjoyed by kids throughout Suffolk County. Our Sea Stars (Northport), Sea Explorers (Babylon), Peconic Dunes (Southold), Bayside Adventures and ArtSEA Summer Sessions (Hampton Bays) were BACK this year, and so much fun was had! Looking forward to Summer 2022, registrations will be open in early 2022 and you heard it here first, Sea Adventures in Southold will return in 2022. More information on camps can be found  here

20 - Our Marine Meadows Program had an impressive year! With the support of @nfwf , the Southampton Town Community Preservation Fund, @longislandcommunityfoundation and the @nysdec , we were very busy this fall having workshops and planting eelgrass throughout Long Island’s estuaries! Currently we have several test sites in Long Island Sound, a long-term restoration site we continue to expand in the Peconics, and a large recipient area in Shinnecock Bay! With COVID-safe measures in place, we were able to host seven workshops, and engage over 100 volunteers in this important work. 

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19 - We made so much progress in our efforts to identify candidate locations, install, and study permeable reactive barriers in support of water quality improvement! With funding from the Towns of Southampton, East Hampton and Brookhaven, along with private donors through the Accabonac Protection Committee and the Peconic Land Trust these efforts will continue in 2022. We’re actually presenting at a virtual public meeting about our Sagg Pond project in partnership with @peconiclandtrust tomorrow at 7pm! Link in bio to register for the free event.   

18 - CCE Marine’s Long Island Coastal and Marine Field guide is in the process of being created! Our artist, Carolyn Munaco is creating original paintings of 250 local species to be featured in the guide. The field guide will help aid in the exploration, identification, and appreciation of our local coastal and marine habitats. Plans are in the works to have a few gallery showings of the species art, with the release of the guide coming later in 2022! 

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17 - This year we partnered with the Oyster Bay-Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee and the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District to study sources of pathogens in the watershed. By using microbial source tracking techniques (MST), microbes from stormwater samples can be traced back to specific sources such as dogs, Canada geese, and humans. This can inform stormwater management in a local watershed.  

16 - 33.5 million spat-on-shell oysters and 11 million clams were produced and planted in support of LISRP goals!

It was another great year for the Long Island Shellfish Restoration Project (LISRP)! This year, with funding from NY State we planted these oysters and clams in various @nydec designated sanctuary sites throughout Long Island. These shellfish will go on to improve water quality and help restore native shellfish populations in our waters.

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15 - ArtSea Sessions Returned!

ArtSea was developed to support our educational efforts in a creative way by connecting students and adults with integrative art and science programming. We learned about and were inspired by many species during 2021 but there are several favorites that everyone seems to love: seahorses, horseshoe crabs, scallops, and oysters!

The benefits of merging art and science are proving successful as more schools adopt STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Math) programs! Our ArtSea offerings are designed to educate and connect children and adults with marine education while providing a creative avenue to communicate findings and observations. 

14 - Our Coastal Plant Nursery at Tiana Bayside Expanded!

We keep growing! In addition to thousands of beachgrass plants, we added wetland roses, Virgina roses, beach plum, and bayberry to our nursery site on the grounds of the Town of Southampton Tiana Bayside Facility.

Cornell Cooperative Extension has been working to restore Long Islands coastal marine habitats for well over 20 years to ensure that these habitats continue to support our fragile and invaluable marine life. Our habitat team typically works with marsh grass (Sporobolus alterniflorus once known as spartina alterniflora) and beach grass (Ammophila breviligulata) but this year we’re happy to have expanded to include coastal shrubbery and have plans in place to construct demonstration gardens with educational signage on property in 2022!  

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13 - We continued our role in the United Water Study (UWS), and had an epic dolphin sighting while out sampling!

By partnering with @cfe.savethesound we helped implement the Unified Water Study in the Huntington-Northport Bay Complex for the 5th year! This @lisoundstudy -funded work will further our understanding of the water quality of the Sound and inform and support our actions to preserve and protect it. This year, while monitoring in Northport Bay, a large pod of dolphins was seen feasting on bluefish and menhaden. We feel lucky and privileged to have had these visitors to our shores! 

12 - Our jewelry collab with @manamadejewelry continued to bring in revenue for our Back to the Bays Initiative!

Thousands of dollars in proceeds have been generated through various pieces in this talented NY artist’s jewelry line over the past 5 years! Hand-castings of various species from our hatchery and local waters have been transformed into wearable art that helps support our work! Link in bio for more info on the pieces currently available! 

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11 - Our Western Suffolk Aquaculture Team grew 2 million clams and 500k oysters, established the Northport Community FLUPSY Program, and launched the Shellfish CARE Program!

Our Western Suffolk Aquaculture Team had a great year growing out 2million clams and 500k oysters at our Gold Star location to enhance existing populations and improve water quality in the Huntington-Northport Bay complex! Other accomplishments include the Northport Community FLUPSY Program that engages high school students in growing 150k oysters per year, and the launch of Shellfish CARE Program, that involves community participation in the grow out of spat-on-shell oysters to re-establish oyster reefs! Check out the segment that showcases some of this work in the latest episode on On the Water + In the Field, link in bio! 

10 - We created CCE Marine SEAd bomb kits as an educational and hands on activity as an expansion of our Marine Meadows Program!

These kits guide you through the process of creating SEAd Bombs that ultimately help restore wildflowers and coastal grasses that provide habitat to native marine and land animals! For every 20 kits we sell, we donate a SEAd bomb educational program to a local classroom. In our largest SEAd Bomb educational program to date this year we worked with 632 Hampton Bays Middle and Elementary Schools students and made over 12,000 SEAd Bombs! Link in bio to learn more about our kits! 

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9 - Our Fisheries Program’s Educational F.I.S.H. Dinners series was a hit!

Working with numerous local chefs and restaurants this year, including @fiveoceanrestaurant and @snapperinn, we were able to advance the goals of @long.island.fish initiative in a fun and informative way. Thanks to all who came out to learn about, and taste, all of the delicious preparations of some of the lesser-known local fish species! We hope you incorporate some sustainable seafood options into your holiday menus! Check link in our bio for recipes, fish market directories, cooking tutorials with @stefaniesacks and other expert chefs, and more! 

8 - CCE Marine continued to play an instrumental role this year in helping to make kelp farming a viable commercial industry here on Long Island!

From the collection and distribution of reproductive kelp earlier than ever, to troubleshooting timing and contamination issues with seed spool production, CCE’s seaweed expert Steve Schott has been busy preparing for this exciting moment. Several seed strings have been deployed and others will be deployed in the coming weeks to test sites throughout our area! Kelp will grow out over the next 4-5 months, and we can’t wait to see the results in the spring! 

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7 - After a bit of a filming hiatus, Our On the Water + In the Field Show made its return!

We enjoy sharing the latest in CCE Marine Program happenings via our news magazine show and it was great to produce an episode in 2021 and celebrate our community partners at the Screening Party at @windamerenofo @strongswaterclub last month! We have big plans for more shows next year, but for now we welcome you to enjoy the current episode by heading to our YouTube Channel! The link is in our bio! 

6 - We now have a Native Garden at our Fuchs Pond Preserve location!

Thanks to the generous donations from the @northportngi and all the amazing volunteers, we created our first Native Garden at our Sea Stars Marine Camp site!! These native plants have strong root systems that will help with collecting Stormwater and keep all our pollinators very happy!! We are looking forward to next year when everyone can enjoy the garden and native plants. 

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5 - This year marked the second year we undertook pioneering field and laboratory work related to the recruitment of larval ribbed mussels to artificial substrates!

Understanding when, where and how these little guys show up will be key to our work moving forward as we seek to increase the number of ribbed mussels in local waters through hatchery production and encouraging natural recruitment. More ribbed mussels mean cleaner water and healthier and more erosion resistant marshes! 

4 - We pulled up 894 derelict lobster pots!

With funding from the @nfwf we continued our incredibly successful Long Island Sound Lobster Pot Removal Program out of the ports of Mt. Sinai and Northport. While these abandoned traps not only contribute to the ongoing problems associated with marine debris, a significant number of them are still catching lobsters and are thus adding to the “fishing effort” for lobsters in Long Island Sound. CCE data shows that 20% of the derelict lobster traps recovered had one or more lobsters in them and of this 20%, 4% of the lobsters were dead. This is known as “ghost fishing”. We have recovered and recycled over 20,000 lobster traps over the past several years! Click the link in the bio to learn more! 

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3 - Over the summer we had our most successful seahorse seining experience ever!

A few very dedicated and passionate high school students had an unforgettable experience this summer on a special expedition and identified 8 seahorses in one day! Although this elusive fish can be almost impossible to see when hanging onto their favorite underwater habitat, eelgrass, we were able to get up close and personal, photographing, measuring, and determining sex and maturity of these beauties by using a special seine net! They were all released in the immediate area that they were found, as to not disrupt any social bonds between the males and females which were just starting to reach maturity. We hope to have more of these amazing experiences in 2022!

Check out the link in our bio to learn more about our Seahorse Conservation Initiative! 

2 - We were able to involve volunteers in our Horseshoe Crab Monitoring Network efforts again, after putting a pause on things in 2020!

While our staff and partners at @nysdec still maintained our Horseshoe Crab Monitoring Network as best we could in 2020, it just wasn’t the same without engaging all of our volunteers! We were so excited to welcome back volunteers this year, and for the first time ever at Tiana Bayside! There were moonlit nights when we counted over 1,000 horseshoe crabs at Tiana, coming into the marsh and beach to lay their eggs - a major hub in the local marine food chain. This annual population data helps inform state and local regulations.

We’re grateful to all the wonderful individuals and organizations who help each year with this annual project-if you want to get involved or help our local horseshoe crabs see stories, and link in bio.  

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1 - We lined up our 2022 Back to the Bays featured artist and will be launching our 2022 Membership Drive early in the New Year!

We are so excited to announce that we will be working with the incredibly talented, local North Fork artist @melissajanehyatt ! Melissa will be designing our membership decals and we’ll be featuring her artwork on our various outreach and event materials in 2022. Learn more about Melissa in today’s stories.  

Click here for Marine Events

Our waters are an integral part of life for us, making Long Island a desirable place to live. The Marine Program, which became part of CCE in 1985, is known and respected nationally and internationally. Its mission is to protect our waters, providing a clean environment for our fish, fowl and plants.

Our researchers and educators are busy working to inform Long Islanders how we can each do our part to safeguard our environment. Projects have been designed to bring back our once thriving eelgrass and shell fish populations, ensure our commercial fishing industry continues to thrive while limiting bycatch, provide public education about environmental consequences of storm water runoff, and introduce our young people to marine sciences and marine life on Long Island.

BACK TO THE BAYS BLOG

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We have officially launched the On the Water + In the Field Blog! This is where we'll be showcasing the many projects and initiatives of the CCE Marine Team, and providing the most recent updates on our applied research, restoration, and education activities.

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A Special Message from CCE Marine

In these uncertain times we want you to know that CCE Marine Program is here for you and we’re excited to announce our new  Digital Education Initiative

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Contact

Darci Bielenda
Marine Program Sr. Administrative Assistant SCMELC
db695@cornell.edu
631-852-8660 x 21

Last updated January 11, 2022