Save the bays

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I am a fifth grade home-schooled student and I am part of a science group called First Lego League. We build and program robots, as well as research the theme of the year. This year’s theme was a problem caused by the climate. My team picked stormwater runoff because we have an average amount of rainfall on Long Island and stormwater runoff is the single greatest threat to our waters.

My team and I already found out a lot of information on stormwater runoff when I just happened to pick up The Southampton Press and read the article about the “Bays’ Water Quality Declining” [December 11] with quotes from Kevin McAllister, the Peconic Baykeeper. I also read the enclosed Baywatch Report. I found a lot of information that I did not already know.

I contacted Mr. McAllister and planned a meeting with him and my team. I am very thankful that Mr. McAllister was able to come and teach us more about runoff. He is passionate about saving our environment and protecting our bays and rivers.

The best way to help fight runoff and protect our bays is to educate people about runoff and ways to prevent it. Mr. McAllister encouraged us to look at our homes and try to put the following ideas into practice:

We must try to limit or discontinue the use of pesticides and fertilizers. When fertilizers must be used, use slow-release fertilizers.

Try to prevent property erosion by covering bare soil with vegetation and mulch. If you have waterfront property, create natural buffers of grasses and plants to filter runoff instead of building bulkheads.

Make sure septic tanks work properly.

Downspouts need to be directed to lawns or plantings, not driveways or roads.

Dispose of garbage in garbage cans or in recycling bins.

Recycle glass, aluminum, plastic, paper, motor oil and newspapers.

Never intentionally dump anything into a storm drain. Storm drains send water directly to our bays and rivers.

These are only some of the ways that we can prevent stormwater runoff and protect the health of our bays. I want to be able to enjoy our bays, the views and wildlife forever.

For more information, you can go to peconicbaykeeper.org.

ELLIE LA DU Westhampton Beach

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