The 20th anniversary of the Peconic Estuary’s being named an estuary of national significance by the federal Environmental Protection Agency will be celebrated on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Long Island Science Center, 11 West Main Street in Riverhead. The estuary also has been called “One of the Last Great Places in the Western Hemisphere” by the Nature Conservancy.
Live music, chances at ll a.m. and at noon to paddle the Peconic with Mike Bottini, a local naturalist and writer, and hourly educational programs on river ecology with the center’s staff will take place from 11 a.m. through 2 p.m. Tours of the Grangibel Park fish ladder, with Byron Young, who is on the State Department of Environmental Conservation staff, will take place at 1 and 2 p.m.
Estuaries are the most productive ecosystems on earth, containing more life per square inch than a lush rainforest. The Peconic Estuary starts at the headwaters of the Peconic River near Brookhaven National Laboratory and stretches through the bays and inlets to Montauk Point. Some 111 rare species have been identified on its 125,000 land and 158,000 surface water acres.
The Peconic Estuary Program was created by activists to protect and restore the environmental quality of the extraordinary resource. Opportunities to speak with the staff, volunteers, and others involved in the program will be available during Saturday’s celebration, and the first 150 attendees will be offered a free water bottle, with the Suffolk County Water Authority on hand to fill them.