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Sugar Kelp Project Coming to East Hampton Trustee Waters

Thu, 01/25/2024 - 11:27
The East Hampton Town Trustees met on Jan. 22.
LTV East Hampton

The East Hampton Town Trustees voted unanimously on Monday to grant a request from Christopher Gobler of Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences to grow sugar kelp in waters under trustee jurisdiction between Barcelona Point and Little Northwest Creek.

John Aldred told his colleagues that Dr. Gobler’s lab is involved in a project funded by the Peconic Estuary Program focusing on acidification reduction, nitrogen bioextraction, guarding shorelines, ecosystem longevity, and sequestration of carbon.

Kelp is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, takes in five times more carbon than most plants on land, and sequesters more carbon than eelgrass, mangroves, and salt marshes combined based on biomass, countering the acidification of the oceans resulting from their absorption of carbon dioxide from greenhouse gas emissions. Seaweeds also extract nitrogen and phosphorus from the water.

Dr. Gobler contacted Mr. Aldred seeking information on access to the area, Mr. Aldred said. “I pointed out to him that the trustee road that goes through the [Sag Harbor] Golf Course on the west side of Barcelona goes down to the beach right in between those two points, which he thinks is a good place to do his project.”

The project will see an effort to grow sugar kelp in shallow water, which Mr. Aldred noted has worked well in Great South Bay.

In the motion to grant permission to conduct the study, the trustees agreed to waive a permit fee and the requirement that the permit application be notarized.


Committee Assignments

Also at the meeting, the trustees’ committee assignments for 2024 were issued. There are 18 committees, on which one to three trustees serve, including either the clerk, Francis Bock, or one of the deputy clerks, Bill Taylor and Jim Grimes.

Mr. Aldred serves on the aquaculture, harbor management, Northwest Creek, and Three Mile Harbor committees. He is also liaison to the Peconic Estuary Program and the town’s water quality technical advisory committee.

David Cataletto is on the Accabonac/Hog Creek, education, Georgica and other ponds, and Northwest Creek committees, and is liaison to the town’s nature preserve committee.

Patrice Dalton, who was elected in November, serves on the Accabonac/Hog Creek, education, and roads committees, and with Mr. Aldred is liaison to the Peconic Estuary Program.

Ben Dollinger is on the Georgica and other ponds, harbor management, and Three Mile Harbor committees.

Tim Garneau serves on the beaches, Napeague/Lazy Point, records/internet/website, and roads committees.

Celia Josephson, also elected in November, is on the aquaculture, beaches, education, and Napeague/Lazy Point committees, and is liaison to the town’s energy and sustainability and recycling and litter committees.

Mr. Bock is assigned to the Accabonac/Hog Creek, education, finance, pumpout boats, and records/internet/website committees, and is the trustees’ liaison to the town’s Coastal Assessment Resiliency Plan, known as CARP.

Mr. Taylor is assigned to the aquaculture, finance, Northwest Creek, pumpout boats, roads, and Three Mile Harbor committees.

Mr. Grimes is assigned to the beaches, finance, Georgica and other ponds, harbor management, Napeague/Lazy Point, and pumpout boats committees, and with Mr. Cataletto is liaison to the nature preserve committee.



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