October 22, 2019 2019
Contact: Connie Conway
The Southampton Town Board has approved funding to match fundraising efforts by local residents to implement a water quality improvement project plan for Sagg Pond and Sagg Inlet. Sagaponack Inlet is located at the south end of Sagg Pond. The inlet, known as the Sagaponack Cut, is an intermittent channel connecting Sagg Pond to the ocean. It’s located near 25 acres of dunes and is known as a nesting ground for shorebirds and recognized as a significant Coastal Fish & Wildlife Habitat by both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the New York State Department of State (NYSDOS).
The Town Board approved $182,000.00 to be sourced from the Community Preservation Fund for water quality projects. The money matches $224,000.00 raised by local residents, through the Peconic Land Trust and Stony Brook Foundation, to fund several critical tasks as part of a four year study by Dr. Christopher Gobler from Stony Brook University.
“The Sagaponack cut is recognized as an important natural resource by both the Federal and State agencies as a significant habitat for both marine and wildlife. I am proud that the Town of Southampton, in conjunction with other public and private partners, is able to support this project and the areas around Sagg Pond, and the pond itself, by managing the cut that exchanges water through it to the ocean,” said Councilman John Bouvier.
“To impact the crisis facing our coastal ponds and bays requires public and private funding to understand the sources and to implement the best course of action to address them. The Trust is proud to be part of this partnership that includes the Town, Trustees, SUNY Stony Brook, the Village of Sagaponack, and, of course, the neighbors and residents who have generously contributed to this effort,” said John V.H. Halsey, President, Peconic Land Trust.
The study will help the Town Trustees manage a cut in Sagg Pond to provide periodic inlet flushing to rid contaminants and restore conditions favorable to shellfish, certain wetland vegetation and wetland dependent wildlife.
In effect, the Town’s award plus the private contributions of local residents underwrites 3 years of Dr. Gobler’s research program. The information gathered for the Trustees will be turned over to an ecological consultant to formulate the basis of the scientific rationale for the timing of opening the cut and a series of recommendations to manage this water body for many years to come.