From the August 2010 issue
Boat Launches and Reef Program to Benefit from Saltwater Fishing License Sales
DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis recently joined Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chairman Robert Sweeney to announce the planned restoration of New York's artificial reefs program and the improvement of fishing and diving at 12 sites around Long Island. In addition to the reef program, three boat launch sites are benefiting from major rebuilding this year.
Reef Program Improvements
The reef restoration will be paid for with funds from both New York's new saltwater fishing license sales and the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act. The restoration will enhance 11 previously identified reef sites and one new site using a variety of reef-making materials, including rock provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from its dredging operations in New York Harbor.
Reefs provide habitat for crustaceans and marine fish such as tautog, fluke and black seas bass. (Photo: Chris LaPorta)
Reef structures provide valuable marine habitat for species such as tautog, fluke, black sea bass, scup and bluefish, as well as crustaceans. The structures also provide new opportunities for recreational divers and commercial dive boats.
Assemblyman Sweeney said. "The artificial reef program has always been popular, and I am delighted that it is being revitalized. There is also a continuing need for improved boat launching sites on Long Island. I appreciate the Commissioner committing resources here for this purpose."
"By keeping saltwater license fees in-state, New York can improve an array of conservation programs for the benefit of anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts," Commissioner Grannis said. "With the partnership developed by the state legislature, the Army Corps of Engineers, DEC and the fishing community, this popular initiative can move forward."
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its local sponsor, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, have multiple harbor dredge projects continuing through 2015 that could yield acceptable rock material for placement at several of the above-mentioned reef sites. Not only would the restoration plan create valuable marine habitat and recreational opportunities, but the interagency partnership will save on project costs.
The reef and boat launch improvements are supported in part by sales of recreational marine licenses. Sales total $2.5 million to date. (Photo: Chris LaPorta)
Support of the DEC's Bureau of Marine Resources reef program is directly linked to revenue from the sale of recreational marine fishing licenses. To date, the state has sold approximately 137,000 lifetime, annual, weekly and daily resident and non-resident saltwater licenses, with sales totaling $2.5 million. This funding not only supports important marine resource programs, but is matched with federal sport fish restoration funding. New York has received $9.5 million from the federal program for licensed freshwater and saltwater anglers in this year's budget, of which approximately $3 million will be for projects in the New York's marine area. The state will get an additional $9 for each newly licensed angler in future years' funding allocations.
See the map (PDF, 72 kB) showing the location of the reef sites. The new site is Twelve Mile Reef, located south of the Moriches and Shinnecock reefs.
Boat Launch Improvements
The three boat launches that will see improvements include:
At Moriches in Suffolk County, the shoreline is being stabilized around the boat ramp, and the parking area is being improved. The site will be available for this year's fishing season. The $180,000 estimated funds for the project came from the federal sport fish restoration program. The area will be revegetated in the fall.
Work on the second boat launch project at Mattituck in Suffolk County began in the fall of 2009; it opened on June 5, 2010. Additional habitat, recreational and operational improvements include a new two-lane concrete boat ramp and parking for 60 vehicles and trailers, marine pump-out stations and a boat wash-down area. Attractive and environmentally suitable landscaping, observation areas, benches and picnic tables are among the list of new amenities. The removal of a dilapidated sunken barge also improved marine habitat at the site. Future work will include creating more tidal wetlands and a buffer habitat, as well as universally accessible recreational opportunities for launching canoes and kayaks.
DEC will also assist the Town of Babylon in updating the existing boat launch ramp and boat slips at the Venetian Shores Park in Lindenhurst. The project will refurbish approximately 4,000 square feet of wood decking on either side of the 60' x 40' ramp, as well as 300 feet of breakwater. This popular site is heavily used and is one of the few public launch ramps providing access to Great South Bay.
See the complete press release from which this story was excerpted for more information.