- At least 23 old, polluting septic systems have been replaced in the Georgica Pond watershed by state-of-the-art nitrogen-reducing ones and approximately 13 are in the planning stage. These new septic systems remove almost 80-90% of the nitrogen from wastewater entering the pond. We applaud all the homeowners who have installed the new systems and encourage everyone else to make this their number one New Year’s resolution!
- The upper bottleneck at Georgica Cove was removed using a micro dredging technique. Water can now flow up and down the Cove more freely, improving tidal flushing and habitat quality. As a side benefit, access to the pond was greatly improved.
Access to Georgica Cove and tidal flushing was almost completely blocked by the thick growth of Phragmites in 2015. The completed micro dredging project in 2020 restored tidal flushing and access to the Cove.
- Stormwater runoff from roads is a serious threat especially in Georgica Cove and Talmage Creek. Two studies are underway to design better catchment and drainage in these areas and reduce stormwater entering the pond which brings with it bacteria, nitrogen, chemicals and metals. Friends received a $75,000 matching grant from Suffolk County to engage engineering work for the Rt. 27 Rest Stop at Talmage Creek and the East Hampton Town Community Preservation Fund and the Village of East Hampton is funding the Georgica Cove study.
- A magnificent open space purchase of the former Il Mulino restaurant property by the Peconic Land Trust now removes the only non-residential use on the pond and with it a significant source of runoff and groundwater contamination. The 1.4-acre parcel will become a passive park from which to enjoy the beautiful views of Georgica Pond.
- Our experimental oysters survived their second year in the pond and a third young cohort was added. The oysters are healthy and spawning. How many oysters are needed to make a difference to Georgica Pond’s water quality? Stay tuned.
- A new park named the Wainscott Green—Richard Del Mastro Memorial Park was completed with a loop trail, parking and teak benches. In 2017 Friends lobbied for the protection and made a grant towards the purchase of this land. The park is a greatly appreciated alternative to what might have been—a car wash.
- A new telemetry buoy was launched by the Gobler Lab in June and additional oxygen and temperature sensors were deployed around the pond to increase our understanding of the different microclimates in the pond and in its coves and creeks.
All of these accomplishments were achieved because of your support. Despite the pandemic, our work at the pond has continued unabated. Restoration of Georgica Pond’s water quality is a long-term project. As new approaches and technologies emerge, our work will continue to evolve.
Improving the health of the pond is a collaborative process and the accomplishments of 2020 would not have been possible without our partners, including the East Hampton Town Trustees, the Town of East Hampton, the Village of East Hampton, Suffolk County, The Nature Conservancy, Peconic Land Trust, Surfrider Foundation and the Gobler Lab at Stony Brook University.
2020 is a particularly advantageous year to make charitable gifts. According to Fidelity, the CARES Act provides increased tax incentives for charitable giving for both individuals and corporations. Individuals who itemize their deductions can now elect to deduct up to 100 percent of their AGI (adjusted gross income) up from 60 percent. For individuals who don’t itemize, the CARES Act allows for an additional, “above-the-line” deduction for charitable gifts made in cash of up to $300. Please consider making a year-end charitable gift today! Your continued support of Friends of Georgica Pond Foundation is greatly appreciated.
Our best wishes to you and your family for a safe and healthy New Year.