State Senator Owen H. Johnson (4th Senate District, Babylon), Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on the Long Island Marine District, announced that his legislation to create the New York Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Act has passed the Senate. The bill (S. 8380) would ensure the coordination of the state’s programs, institutions and activities which affect the protection, conservation and restoration of New York's coastal ecosystems. Specifically, the legislation creates a New York Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Council to integrate and coordinate the state’s programs. "Our coastal ecosystem is critical to the state’s environmental and economic security and contributes greatly to our quality of life," said Senator Johnson. "This legislation ensures that our ecosystems remain healthy and vibrant and that future generations will continue to benefit from our vast marine resources."
Senator Johnson explained that over 80 percent of New York’s population lives in the State’s 23 coastal counties and that coastal ecosystems embrace over 25,000 acres of tidal wetlands, 2,000 square miles of bays and estuaries, and 3,200 miles of shoreline. The coastal area is home to over 800 public beaches, parks and sites with over 700 miles of scenic byways. Coastal tourism accommodations generate over $6 billion annually in sales, providing over 65,000 jobs with over $1.7 billion in wages. More than 100,000 New Yorkers are directly employed by the fish and seafood industry and an additional 64,000 jobs are created by economic activity generated by these industries, contributing $12 billion to the economy annually.
" I am pleased that this bill, which will go a long way toward achieving healthy, diverse and productive ocean resources has passed the Senate," said Senator Johnson.