In the aquaculture report she delivered to her colleagues at the East Hampton Town Trustees’ meeting on Tuesday, Stephanie Forsberg said that levels of cochlodinium, or rust tide, had decreased from the levels measured in local waters two weeks earlier.
As reported previously, the algae that can be fatal to shellfish and finfish were discovered earlier this month in Three Mile Harbor, Northwest Harbor, and Accabonac Harbor. The trustees, in cooperation with Christopher Gobler of Stony Brook University, have been monitoring the waters under the trustees’ jurisdiction.
“We still have rust tide — cochlodinium bloom — however, at decreased levels,” Ms. Forsberg told her co-trustees. “It’s not a full, intense bloom.” In the densest concentrations, she said, the cells-per-liter count of the algae is declining. Falling temperatures, she said, account for the decreasing concentration.
Testing has turned up no cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, in Georgica Pond, Ms. Forsberg said, adding that the trustees will issue a statement in the coming weeks regarding “last year’s alleged event.” She was referring to the death, last September, of a dog that apparently drank water from a pond adjacent to Georgica Pond.
Personnel at Dr. Gobler’s laboratory will continue biweekly testing of local waters through November, Ms. Forsberg told her colleagues, depending on weather conditions. Data from the testing will be compiled and presented to the public next year, she said.
In other news from the trustees’ meeting, Sean McCaffrey, a trustee, asked that the group approve the opening of Georgica Pond to the Atlantic Ocean on or around Oct. 15. His colleagues were unanimously in favor.
Billy Mack of First Coastal, a coastal engineering firm based in Westhampton Beach, who was attending the meeting on behalf of clients with applications before the board, asked that the trustees consider awarding a contract for the work to his company. Diane McNally, the trustees’ clerk, agreed to consider First Coastal but advised Mr. Mack that the project was not an excavation but the standard biannual opening of the pond.
Ms. McNally told the trustees, who own and manage beaches, waterways, and bottomlands on behalf of the public, that Fred Overton, the town clerk, had received a request for permission to film a commercial on Friday evening at Atlantic Avenue Beach. As part of the project, she said, “They want a bonfire with a truckload of wood.”
“I make a motion to deny,” Ms. Forsberg said. Her colleagues seconded the motion.
The meeting started with a presentation by local girl scouts. Lisa Schulte Brown, a troop co-leader, told the trustees that 13 scouts, all students at the John M. Marshall Elementary School and two of whom were in attendance, are to donate 20 hours’ community service in pursuit of a bronze award. She felt that the scouts’ service should involve local history and the environment.
“Thirteen active girls at your disposal,” Ms. Schulte Brown announced. “It should be something of value.”
Deborah Klughers, a trustee, suggested that the scouts interview past, or currently serving, senior trustees. “Some have outstanding environmental stories,” she said. Raising awareness of not only the monetary value of shellfish, but its historic value, might be a worthy goal, she added, suggesting that such a project take the form of an educational video, literature, or public service announcements. A similar study of eelgrass, beach grass, dunes, or marshlands would also be valuable, she suggested, as would a beach cleanup.
Ms. Forsberg advised Ms. Schulte Brown to take these ideas to the troop and determine which would be of greatest interest to the scouts and value to their community-service project.