Supervisor Mark Lesko and Leading Environmentalists Announce Groundbreaking Accord Involving the Carmans River

October 20, 2010

Farmingville, NY -
On Wednesday, October 20, 2010, Supervisor Lesko and leading environmentalists joined together on the banks of the Carmans River to announce a breakthrough agreement involving the River, which could be the most important environmental development in the Pine Barrens region since the seminal Pine Barrens Act of seventeen years ago.

The landmark announcement was a historic consensus among Supervisor Lesko, government officials, non-governmental organizations and environmentalists, including Dick Amper of the Pine Barrens Society, who only months ago publicly disagreed on the plan for the Carmans River.

Town officials have agreed to a 90-day suspension of final decisions regarding any applications within the potential watershed so that such applications can address the relevant aspects of the final Protection Plan. “When the history of the Town of Brookhaven is written, it will say that all interested parties came together to preserve and protect the jewel of a natural resource that is the Carmans River,” said Supervisor Lesko, “After discussions and meetings with the Pine Barrens Commission, scientists and stakeholders, I concluded that only a science-based collaboration would bring us a successful plan to guarantee the preservation and protection of the Carmans River.” Supervisor Lesko will present this agreement to the Pine Barrens Commission at their monthly meeting later today.

“The environmental community was concerned that we couldn’t get a scientifically defensible watershed boundary, that the Carmans River corridor would be developed before a plan could be put in place and that environmental and civic leaders would be excluded from the planning process. Supervisor Lesko has assured us that the watershed will be scientifically defined, that development approvals will be suspended throughout an expedited study and that stakeholder involvement is welcomed and necessary,” said Dick Amper, Executive Director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society.

“I’m happy to see this committee made up of leading scientists, environmentalists and builders come together to develop a plan that will ensure the protection of the Carmans River and allow us to proceed with sensible development,” said Councilwoman Constance Kepert.

"I look forward to chairing the extremely important Carmans River Study Group and applaud Supervisor Lesko's call for a science-based analysis and collaborative process that will preserve this vital body of water for all posterity," said Lee Koppelman, Chair of the Carmans River Study Group.

"Long Islanders have learned the hard way about the devastating environmental damage that can result when inappropriate development is allowed to occur too close to a river system," said Peter A. Scully, Regional Director of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. "There will be no second chance to save the Carmans, so it is critically important that this effort succeed, and that its findings be based on good science, not on political expediency."

The agreement included the formation of a Carmans River Study Group comprised of Town officials, Pine Barrens Commission members, and members from non-governmental organizations tasked with completing the Carmans River Watershed Protection Plan within 90 days. When developing the Protection Plan, the Study Group will define the watershed and analyze all scientific data currently available.

The Study Group will be able to draw upon the technical expertise of the Technical Advisory group, comprised of representatives from the Suffolk County Department of Health, the New York State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation, the engineering group CDM, the Suffolk County Water Authority, and other scientific and groundwater experts, with any questions they may have. This group has been meeting consistently to discuss the scientific data on the Carmans River Watershed. In addition, the Study Group will consult with the Invasive Species Committee on the Carmans River, which also has been conducting research on the River, through its Chair Adrienne Esposito of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. All decisions and recommendations in the Protection Plan will be made solely by the Study Group.

The members of the Study Group include:

Lee Koppelman, Center for Regional Policy Studies, Stony Brook University

Town members
Tullio Bertoli, Planning Commissioner
Matt Miner, Chief of Operations and Commissioner of Waste Management
Eva Greguski, Executive Assistant to the Planning Commissioner
Jeff Kassner, Assistant Director of Environmental Protection
John Turner, Director of Environmental Protection
Liz Krolik-Alexander, Legislative Secretary to Councilwoman Kepert

Pine Barrens Commission Members
John Pavacic
Julie Hargrave

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Peter A. Scully, Regional Director
William Spitz, Regional Water Manager

Non-Governmental Organization Members
Dick Amper, LI Pine Barrens Society
Jim Tripp, Carmans River Partnership
Tom Williams, Carmans River Partnership
Kevin McDonald, Nature Conservancy
Kevin McAllister, Peconic Baykeeper
Bob Wieboldt, Long Island Builders Institute
Mike Kelly, Long Island Builders Institute
Charles Mancini, Long Island Builders Institute
Pelly Damianos, Association for a Better Long Island

The Carmans River is ten miles long and is located in the Central Long Island Pine Barrens Region, which is publicly protected and managed land. Sections of the Carmans River are designated by New York State as a wild, scenic, and recreational river.
The Pine Barrens Commission was created in 1993 by the New York State Legislature through the Long Island Pine Barrens Protection Act. The Act defined the Pine Barrens Region and created a five member Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission, an Advisory Committee, and mandated the production and implementation of the Central Pine Barrens Comprehensive Land Use Plan, adopted in June 1995.
The Commission Chair is Peter A. Scully and the Suffolk County Executive and the Supervisors of the Towns of Brookhaven, Southampton, and Riverhead serve as Commission members. The Pine Barrens Commission meets on a monthly basis at venues which include Brookhaven Town Hall.


Division of Public Information * Office of the Supervisor
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