Old Field Nets Grant for Conscience Bay Cleanup

Money will fund planning for project to thwart road flooding and bay pollution.

The Village of Old Field has scored a $60,000 grant from the Long Island Sound Futures Fund to support a project related to road flooding along Conscience Bay.

The grant, unveiled Tuesday at the municipality's regular board meeting, is backed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Environmental remediation firm Energy & Environmental Analysts, which has an office in Stony Brook, will handle the work.

The Conscience Bay Stormwater Control and Habitat Enhancement Project hopes to tackle the problem of stormwater swelling the bay to the point that it flows over the roads, which not only pollutes the water but causes a safety hazard for motorists. Old Field Road, for example, is highly flood-prone.

Erin Brosnan, restoration ecologist with EEA, said planning for the project will begin in the fall.

The project is looking to "take that water off of the road, detain it and treat it," said Bronson. More specifically, the project aims to eliminate pollution caused by runoff when the roads flood, as well as set up a community planting and education program.

Conscience Bay, Little Bay and Setauket Harbor make up one of the largest mudflats on the North Shore of Long Island, an ecosystem that plays a significant role for commercial and recreational fishing and foraging areas for a variety of migratory birds.

The area that is targeted for research is approximately 560 acres, which includes mudflats, a salt marsh and shallow open water areas. Both Bronson and Old Field mayor Mike Levine said the village will apply for a larger, six-figure grant after the planning finishes up in the fall.

"If we got approval, then we could implement all of the hopeful changes," said Levine.


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