Address the Source
While I laud the Sag Harbor Express editorial on water quality (“Ticking Clock,” September 12, 2013) and its call for all concerned to band together to develop strategies to deal with the issue, I believe it misses the most crucial point — the ultimate cause of the problem.
For more than 60 years I have been boating on, swimming in and diving under the waters of Shelter Island Sound ( Sag Harbor Bay ). You get a pretty good perspective looking at the same water from top to bottom over that span of time. Unfortunately, this year marks the worst water quality I have seen during the summer since the brown tide of the 80s, which killed almost everything in the bay. For most of the summer the visibility was near zero, with few signs of life. In areas near shore where there were crucial eel grass beds two years ago, there are none today, along with the numerous species that depend on them. Long gone are the days when minnows and blowfish would nip at your toes when wading along the water’s edge in the summer and scallop shells would cover the beach following fall storms. Numerous scientific studies document the issues and confirm these observations.
But there is a good sign. As soon as Labor Day passed and people started leaving the water quality improved. In the two weeks since Labor Day visibility has gone from inches to feet in some areas. If it is not already evident, this should tell us something. It’s the increasing number of people burdening a finite resource that is the problem.
Every additional house, lawn, toilet, cesspool, boat, mega yacht, condo and restaurant puts an additional load on already stressed finite water resources. Though there are certainly ways to lessen the impact of a growing population, both near and on the water, and efforts to do this must be explored and implemented as vigorously as possible, there is no way to eliminate the impact of unrestrained growth. This issue must be addressed directly
Various village and town boards spend a great deal of time formulating and enforcing building and environmental regulations designed to minimize the impact of new construction, while at the same time seemingly avoiding the ultimate issue – that each project approved has a cumulative impact and is another nail in the coffin of our most precious resources. And sadly they do so with little or no understanding of how close they are (the ticking clock) to approving the final nail.
This letter is in response to last week’s article, “Overcoming a Turtle Hurdle.” The article states that the environmental groups, the South Fork Natural History Museum (SoFo) and the Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt (FLPG) have raised concerns about the impact the sidewalks have on wildlife crossing. I would like to make it clear to everyone that the sidewalks are not the issue here and are necessary to be in place for the well-being of everyone in the community. The concern we are presenting is for the improper curbs and drains built into the sidewalk plan, which poses a threat for safe wildlife crossing.
I’m thankful to Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman and the County DPW employees for responding quickly to our concerns; however the resulting modification of the 400 feet of curbing, on both sides of the turnpike adjacent to Slade Pond needs to be monitored thoroughly before it can be determined to be an answer to the problem. Only time will tell if it works as a solution for safer wildlife crossing, and if it does we would like to see the asphalt ramps implemented lengthwise along the entire sidewalk project. This recent modification must be proven to work first, and perhaps act as a model for future highway projects to protect both humans and wildlife.
Frank C. Quevedo
The South Fork Natural History Museum (SoFo)
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
The other day, as I was driving through Sag Harbor, I saw two female senior citizens struggling with their suitcases, trying to get them on the bus. I parked my car behind the bus and helped them put their luggage in the bus. I felt real good about helping these two ladies until I got back to my car. A traffic officer was writing up a ticket for the illegal parking of my car. I got so mad, I thought to myself, “I’m going to sell my waterfront house and get out of this one horse town!”
After a while, I began to settle down after climbing a few trees (I’m a tree surgeon and a writer). It finally dawned on me that “The law is the law.” It doesn’t matter why you break the law. Although if you have money, you can hire a lawyer and try to beat the law. If there was no punishment for breaking the law, there would be total chaos. So obey the law, no matter what and you won’t have to worry about the men and women in blue coming after you. So, “keep the faith” and “follow the path of righteousness” and you will end up dwelling in the Man’s House upstate forever!
P.S. The next time you see a police officer, thank him or her for protecting and serving you!