SoMAS Dean Minghua Zhang, Prof. Chris Gobler, Prof. Ellen Pikitch, Co-chair Roz Edelman, Committee member Nancy Hebert, and Co-Chair Maureen Sherry Klinsky enjoy an evening at the new Marine Sciences Center at an event to benefit the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program.
More than 50 friends of Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) took part in the first annual “Clams for Clams” fundraiser on September 7 to support its Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program (ShiRP), launched with a $3 million gift in 2012 from the Laurie Landeau Foundation and the Simons Foundation.
Proceeds from the event will develop five new clam spawner sanctuaries in the Bay, which have been proven to increase water quality and control harmful algae while strengthening the clam population.
Event co-chairs Roz and Richard Edelman, and Maureen Sherry and Steve Klinsky, both of Southampton, hosted the event at Stony Brook’s new Marine Sciences Center at the University’s Southampton campus, raising more than $55,000 in tickets and sponsorships to fund five spawner sanctuaries.
“The water here is like nowhere else, whether you like to simply look at it, paint it, play in it, or make your living fishing it,” said Maureen Sherry Klinsky who with her husband Steve funded two clam spawner sanctuaries. “I don’t want to look out across Shinnecock Bay 20 years from now, the tipping point, and wish I’d done something.”
Research by Stony Brook’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences faculty shows that increasing the clam population in Shinnecock Bay can reinvigorate this fragile ecosystem. What makes the ShiRP project unique is its emphasis on collaboration among all stakeholders: area residents, Southampton Town Trustees, local fishermen and even other community non-profits. In fact, the Peconic Baykeeper also donated a clam spawner sanctuary at the fundraiser.
“The event was a great success and hopefully it is the first of several,” said Bradley Peterson, SoMAS Associate Professor and one of the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program (ShiRP) researchers.
“A number of people voiced their surprise about how clams can help with the Bay’s restoration, and left excited about how the clam sanctuaries will improve water quality in western Shinnecock Bay.”