We envision a Town of East Hampton with productive waters that are naturally fishable, swimmable, and free of harmful algae blooms (HABs) and have a healthy diversity of native life and a proper balance of nutrients, an East Hampton like many can still remember from the days before brown and red tides.
The key to this is achieving a balance of nutrients in each watershed by addressing the chief sources of nitrogen and phosphorous pollution, (septic systems, overuse of fertilizers and road runoff), and developing and implementing individual management plans for each unique water body that effectively prevent or control the onset of HABs.
Once the amount of nitrogen entering a given water body is reduced to equal the amount used up by the living things in that water body, the fuel for harmful algae blooms will have been eliminated. Increasing the health and diversity of life in our waters can increase the capacity of the system to process and store nitrogen and phosphorous in healthy ways that don’t trigger algae blooms.
Removing or updating septic systems within the 10 year groundwater travel time zone around each water body will focus financial and energetic resources to greatly reduce nitrogen inputs within the next 10 years.
We strongly believe that we can solve the HAB problem by simultaneously reducing nitrogen and phosphorous loading and implementing HAB management techniques such as dredging to increase circulation, shellfish seeding, and algae and plant harvesting.