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For Release: Thursday, September 17, 2015

DEC Reopens Several Shellfishing Areas in Nassau and Suffolk Counties

Closures Last Week Followed Widespread Heavy Rainfall and Runoff

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has reopened shellfishing areas in several Long Island towns that were shut down last week. DEC's Bureau of Marine Resources tested water samples from the affected areas which indicate the water quality in the reopened areas meet the standards for certified (open) harvesting areas.

All shellfishing areas on the south shore of Nassau County were designated as temporarily uncertified (closed) last Thursday, September 10. Several areas in western and eastern Suffolk County were also designated as temporarily uncertified on Friday, September 11 following the heavy rainfall event and excessive stormwater runoff that affected many areas around Long Island. Rainfall in all the affected areas exceeded three inches, with some areas receiving well over four inches.

DEC temporarily closes shellfishing areas to protect the public health. Stormwater runoff caused by heavy rainfall carries bacteria and other pathogens into adjacent surface waters. When water quality in the enclosed creeks, coves, harbors and bays is adversely affected by extraordinary amounts of runoff, shellfish in those areas have an increased potential to be hazardous for use as food.

The following areas will reopen to shellfish harvesting at sunrise on Thursday, September 17:

Town of Southold: All the normally certified areas in the creeks and coves lying west of New Suffolk Point.

Town of Southampton: All the normally certified areas of Sag Harbor and its tributaries.

Town of East Hampton: All the normally certified areas of Sag Harbor, Three Mile Harbor, Hog Creek and Acabonac Harbor.

Town of Hempstead: All the normally certified areas of Hempstead Bay (East Bay) lying west of Wantagh Parkway.

The following areas were reopened to shellfish harvesting Wednesday, September 16:

Town of Huntington: All the normally certified areas of Duck Island Harbor, Centerport Harbor and Northport Bay.

Town of Southampton: All the normally certified areas of Noyac Creek and the normally certified areas of Shinnecock Bay lying west of the new Ponquogue Bridge.

Town of Southold: All the normally certified areas in the creeks, coves and harbors lying east of New Suffolk Point, including the normally certified areas in Cutchogue Harbor and its tributaries.

The following areas remain closed until test results show that water quality meets certified area criteria:

Town of Hempstead: That portion of South Oyster Bay within the Town of Hempstead.

Town of Oyster Bay: All of South Oyster Bay and its tributaries.

Towns of Babylon and Islip: All of Great South Bay and its tributaries lying west of the northbound span of Robert Moses Causeway.

A recorded message advising harvesters of the status of these shellfish areas may be heard at (631) 444-0480. The message is updated during the course of temporary shellfishing closures. For more detailed descriptions of the closed areas please call the office during normal business hours at (631) 444-0492. Additionally, detailed descriptions and a map showing temporary closures are available on DEC's website.

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