Georgica Pond is a coastal pond located between East Hampton Village and Wainscott on the south shore of Eastern Long Island. It is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by an approximately 100 foot wide sandbar. The pond itself and the ocean beach are managed by the East Hampton Town Trustees who oversee a cycle of opening the pond to the ocean approximately twice a year in mid-March and mid-October to flush out nutrients and sediments, and regulate the water level. This historic tradition dates back to the 1600’s when Native Americans dug the opening manually. Today it is done by heavy equipment.
With a surface area of 290 acres and a maximum depth of 6 feet, the pond is fed by springs and groundwater, which mix with ocean water to form a brackish ecosystem whose salinity can vary tremendously depending on whether the pond is opened or closed to the ocean.
The Georgica Pond Watershed
The Watershed of Georgica Pond is a large drainage area where surface and groundwater eventually drain into Georgica Pond and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean. The Georgica Pond watershed consists of a mix of land uses including industrial (including the East Hampton airport), the Wainscott business district, residential, farmland and preserved open space. Habitats include mixed oak forest with a large area of Pine Barrens habitat near the airport. The watershed is approximately 4,000 acres, 59% of which is developed, 34% of which is undeveloped and 8% is water. There are approximately 2,000 homes in the watershed of which approximately 75 front directly on the pond.
Wildlife, Fishing, and Crabbing
Georgica Pond provides vital habitat to snapping turtles and both resident and migrating birds. Two species of concern, including the endangered Piping Plover and the threatened Least Tern, nest between the pond and the ocean. Ospreys fish regularly and ducks are abundant in winter. Baymen still harvest blue crabs and trap eels, white bait and perch.
Residents and Visitors
Georgica Pond is home to many high profile residents from the entertainment, media and creative communities, as well as from the financial world. As a result, colorful articles have been written about the pond, its residents, and various legends.
Residents and visitors alike enjoy boating as a favorite summer activity. There are sailing races on the pond every Saturday, and canoes, kayaks and paddleboards are available to rent at the rest stop on Route 27 in Wainscott.