Save 'dying' Carmans River,
Newsday May 14, 2012
By WILLIAM MURPHY
Two species of invasive plants
have choked two lakes on the Carmans River during the
summer months, and neither the Town of Brookhaven nor
Suffolk County are acting fast enough to stop the slow
death of the waterway, local residents, civic
organizations and environmentalists said Monday.
"We don't want the lake to be a bunch of vegetation we
can walk on," Adrienne Esposito, executive director of
the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said on the
banks of the 25-acre Lower Lake just off Main Street
near River Road in Yaphank. The 19-acre Upper Lake to
the north, she said, is even more clogged with the two
invasive plants, Cabomba and Variable Leaf Milfoil.
She and others blamed both Suffolk
and the Town of Brookhaven for failing to dredge and
clean the lakes. "The bottom line is that the
Yaphank lakes are dying and every year the county drags
its feet, the lakes degrade even more," Esposito said.
"The lakes no longer look like an open water body, but
rather like a meadow . . . We've been dealing with this
issue for almost a decade now."
A top Suffolk official said County
Executive Steve Bellone, who took office Jan. 1, had
pushed up the timetable for taking the sediment samples
that are required before dredging can begin, and those
samples were being examined by a private laboratory.
"I know this project has had a relatively long shelf
life, but we're doing everything we can to expedite the
project and allow it to move forward as quickly as
possible," Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider said in
Town Councilwoman Connie Kepert,
who represents Yaphank, said the delay had been caused
by the county's failure to finish testing the sediment
by January. "We met with the county in January and the
county said it had not done the entire lake," Kepert
said. "This was a great surprise to me, and I think a
surprise to everyone."
Chad Trusnovec, president of the
Yaphank Taxpayers and Civic Association, said his family
has lived along the river for 200 years, and his
children are not able to enjoy it as earlier generations
did. "I've sat here watching this deteriorate year
after year after year, and my children can't use the
lakes the way I did," he said.
Variable Leaf Milfoil and Cabomba
are common aquarium plants sometimes brought in
accidentally by boats from other areas. They spread
rapidly in open waters, forming dense mats that choke
native plants and slow boaters and swimmers.