Yes to Water Quality Index

The weekly report includes explanations of adverse conditions that can appear in waterways such as red tide

The East Hampton Town Trustees’ water-quality monitoring program, conducted in conjunction with Christopher Gobler of Stony Brook University, will soon gain greater exposure. At their meeting on Tuesday, the trustees voted to approve Dr. Gobler’s request to include trustee-managed waterways in the Long Island Water Quality Index, a weekly report issued by his laboratory and featured on News 12 Long Island and in Newsday.

Stephanie Forsberg, who has a doctorate in marine science from Stony Brook University, told her colleagues that the report is featured on Thursdays and Fridays. Along with a map depicting waterways and indications of algal blooms or toxins, if any, is a verbal or written summary that would state the trustees’ role in the monitoring program, she said.

The weekly report, she said, includes explanations of adverse conditions that can appear in waterways such as red tide — or cochlodinium, an algal bloom that kills marine life — and fecal coliform bacteria. A forecast for the coming week is also included.

The trustees agreed that participation will help to educate the public as to their role in the town and voted unanimously to approve their inclusion in the report.

At present, the ecological health of trustee-managed waterways is “very good,” Dr. Forsberg said.

The body also voted to approve a conditional permit for students in the Project Most program to take up to 12 clams each during an educational trip with John Dunne, the director of the East Hampton Town Shellfish Hatchery. That outing is scheduled for today.

The trustees’ frustration with the town’s effort to control unruly behavior at Indian Wells Beach continued. At Tuesday’s meeting, they agreed to submit a letter to the town reiterating their insistence on a sunset clause for any code amendment prohibiting alcohol during lifeguard-protected hours.

The town board and the trustees have clashed over the beach, the former body responding to residents’ complaints of large, alcohol-fueled gatherings and poor behavior, including public urination, the latter insisting that the beach is under their jurisdiction and the problems greatly exaggerated.

Changes implemented by the town, including an attended booth on Indian Wells Highway where nonresident vehicles, taxis, and buses are turned away, are seen to have improved the situation. The town board has scheduled a public hearing for next Thursday at which a ban on alcoholic beverages to a distance of 1,000 feet east and west of the road end on weekends and holidays would apply to the beaches at both Indian Wells Highway and Atlantic Avenue. The trustees, while mostly opposed, have agreed to the prohibition at Indian Wells Beach only, and sought a 500-foot distance.

Diane McNally, the trustees’ clerk, said that Supervisor Larry Cantwell, Councilman Fred Overton, and Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez “seemed to agree that although it is going to be late in the season,” a code amendment put in effect this summer “would at least give them something to look at when the season is done.”

Sean McCaffrey, a trustee, said that he had spoken with Chief Michael Sarlo of the East Hampton Town Police Department last Thursday. “He said, ‘So far, so good,’ ” Mr. McCaffrey said. “Nothing had been reported.” He felt that the public awareness that has been raised by the debate has had the effect of discouraging the large gatherings blamed for a deteriorating quality of life at the beach.

A budget meeting will be held with town officials on Aug. 13, Ms. McNally told her colleagues. The trustees’ budget committee, she said, will meet beforehand to prepare for the discussion. “They are looking for zero growth,” she said.