Wants civic input in Carmans River Study Group
Long Island Advance  March 31, 2011

Dear Editor:

This statement is from the Yaphank Taxpayers and Civic Association regarding the Carmans River Watershed Protection Study. While the YTCA and the community it serves applaud the efforts to protect our environment, there are many aspects of the plan that should give us all pause.  First and foremost, this plan has been drafted with absolutely NO community involvement whatsoever.  In fact, the YTCA was not even invited to a press conference taking place on the bank of the river, in the middle of our beloved Hamlet.

This extensive study has been drafted in 100 days. In less time than it would take for an average homeowner to obtain a building permit, the committee has written a detailed plan that may have unintended and very negative consequences to the residents, homeowners, taxpayers, businesses and active farms and agricultural establishments throughout the area. The aggressive timeline of this plan certainly gives the impression of a rushed product.

In October of last year, the Carmans River Study Group, a committee enacted by town law in December of 2007 to find a solution to the invasive weeds in our lakes, presented its findings to the town board. After nearly three years of study, and over $200,000 of taxpayer money spent, the new Watershed Protection Study claims that the initial Study Groupís findings are flawed and should be disregarded.  Furthermore, the new study claims that nitrogen levels are on the rise at alarming rates, but makes NO mention of the nearly 200,000 cubic yards of decaying sediment in our lakes potentially contributing to the problem. This revelation defies logic, and we believe shows this study has been conducted in a hurried and haphazard manner.  Possibly worse, the members of the Watershed Protection Study Group and its contributors may have intentionally omitted this information in an effort to divert attention to fish ladders and dam removal. In either case, this is extremely troubling, and a direct assault to the community and an insult to the original members of the Study Group.

The Yaphank Taxpayers and Civic Association hereby make the following requests:

1.            Adoption of the Carmans River Study Groupís proposal of herbicide and dredging for upper and lower Yaphank Lakes. We believe the community has suffered long enough without the use of its once beautiful and recreational waterways. We further believe the removal of many thousands of cubic yards of decaying organic material is the only way to get an accurate measurement of nitrogen levels.

2.   The Brookhaven Town Board hold the Public Hearing open until ALL reports pertaining to the Watershed Protection Plan are made public.

3.   No official position be adopted by the town board until ALL affected landowners are notified by certified mail, giving these parties enough time to read, review and research the proposal.

4.   Insure that nothing of this significance can be done without all local residents knowledge or input, large public notice signs be posted, similar to what residents are required to display when proposing changes to their property, for all government projects including studies and regulatory and zoning changes.

5.      And finally, a Brookhaven Town Board Resolution requiring a local civic representative be a voting member of ALL groups assembled to review, study or otherwise advise on any matter involving projects within their local community.

Chad Trusnovec
President, Yaphank
Taxpayers and Civic Association