On Georgica Pond

Posted in the Letters to the Editor of the East Hampton Star,

On Georgica Pond

East Hampton
May 16, 2016

Dear David,

The Friends of Georgica Pond Foundation would like to clarify and respond to concerns that were raised in the article “Trustees Fret About Blue Crabs.” The aquatic weed harvester that is now on Georgica Pond is designed to and will remove floating macroalgae from the surface of the pond. While the harvester will collect some algae growing below the surface, it will not touch the bottom of the pond. Therefore, it is not expected to disturb blue crabs and other marine life.

The harvester will move around the pond very slowly, covering about three acres per day of the 292-acre pond. The collected algae will be offloaded to several sites around the pond, where the town trustees will be able to inspect it before it is taken to the East Hampton Town compost facility. We will address any concerns they have. We hope to determine whether composted nutrient-rich macroalgae can be use for organic fertilizer in the future.

The project has been designed in collaboration with Dr. Christopher Gobler of Stony Brook University. It is a strategy to reduce the amount of nitrogen-rich macroalgae that would otherwise fall to the bottom of the pond, adding to the already overloaded sediments. Dr. Gobler reported at his May 8 East Hampton Library presentation that excess nitrogen and phosphorus are major contributors to the water quality problems of Georgica Pond. Dr. Gobler’s team will analyze a sampling of the collected macroalgae and report his findings to the public at the end of the summer.

The harvester has been used successfully on Nantucket, in Central Park, New York City, and many other places. We welcome the active involvement of the town trustees in this effort and look forward to sharing our results with them.

Executive Director
Friends of Georgica Pond Foundation