BILL NUMBER: S305
TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to
enacting the "Peconic Bay estuary protection act"
To provide for the implementation of the recommendations of the
Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (the "Plan") created
for the Peconic Bay estuary system pursuant to the National Estuary
Program (the "NEP")
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS :
The bill (the "Bill") amends the Environmental Conservation Law by
adding a new Article 58 thereto, which establish the Peconic Bay
Estuary Protection Act (the "Act"). The Act establishes the Peconic
Region Maritime Reserve Council, which shall assist federal, state and
local governments coordinate their efforts to implement the Plan.
This Act also establishes the Peconic Bay Regional Conservation
Partnership Program within the Department of Environmental
Conservation (the "Department") to administer partnership agreements
between the Department and (i) Suffolk County and/or (ii) local
governments located within the Long Island Pine Barrens Maritime
The Act provides for the implementation of Peconic Bay Estuary
implementation projects. Under the Act, "Peconic Bay estuary
implementation projects" means those projects recommended as part of
the Plan or an action plan for the Peconic Bay estuary, which serve a
public purpose designated to improve or maintain surface water
quality, undertaken by the state, municipality or a not-for-profit
corporation, which demonstrates to the Commissioner's satisfaction
that it is financially and otherwise capable of completing such
The Peconic Bay Estuary (the "Estuary") is a remarkable resource of
national significance. It supports the economic, recreational and
quality of life pursuits of the more than one million visitors to the
East End of Long Island each year as well as its year end population.
Estuaries are where land and sea meet with both contributing to an
ecosystem of specialized plants and animals all interacting within the
complex food web. Beaches, dunes, salt marshes, intertidal mud and
sand flats, tidal creeks and eelgrass meadows provide shelter and
nursery areas to a wide range of animals. People are attracted to
estuaries because of their recreational use and the potential to make
a living from the rich resources estuaries provide.
The Estuary is on the brink of being seriously impacted by overuse. By
setting management actions that foster commercial and recreational use
that is sustainable and compatible with protection of biodiversity, we
can ensure a balance between preservation and the wise use of the
Estuary's natural resource is struck.
The Estuary is one of twenty-eight estuaries across the country
designated as an estuary of national significance under the NEP and
was formally accepted into the NEP in 1992. The purpose of the NEP is
to develop water,..based comprehensive management plans for estuaries
of national significance which are threatened by pollution,
development or overuse. Since 1992, the State, Suffolk County and the
EPA, together with local governments, citizen, business and
environmental groups, and other stakeholders within the Peconic Bay
region have worked together as the Peconic Bay Estuary Program
Management Conference to create a comprehensive management plant to
protect the Estuary.
The Plan has been completely approved by the Governor and the EPA. It
is the purpose of the Bill to provide for the implementation of the
recommendations made in said Plan.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
S.554, 2007-08; S.1632, 2005-06; S.1662-B, 2003-04; S.5011-B, 2001-02.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
To be determined.
EFFECTIVE DATE :
The Bill takes effect 180 days after the date on which it shall have
become a law.