In 2009, the Suffolk County Legislature adopted Local Law 25-2009, which established the Suffolk County Shellfish Aquaculture Lease Program in Peconic Bay and Gardiners Bay (Lease Program). As required by Chapter 475, Article II of the Suffolk County Code, under Capital Project No. 7180.110, the Department of Economic Development and Planning (Department) initiated the Ten Year Review Project and secured the services of environmental consultant - Cashin Associates, P.C. in 2018. The purpose of the Ten Year Review Project was to conduct an administrative review of the Lease Program, evaluate the Shellfish Cultivation Zone and determine if and/or how the program and Zone may be revised and implemented in 2020 and beyond.
Due to the heighten interest in the Lease Program not only from prospective lease applicants but other bay users, the Department also sought input from existing shellfish aquaculture operations, bay users, relevant regulatory agencies, municipalities, etc. In effort to reach interested constituents in the surrounding towns, Suffolk County participated in informational meetings hosted by each the five East End Town’s or Town Trustees to gather information and feedback from the residents who live in the area and utilize the local waters. The Department also established, Ten Year Review Advisory Group; members of the Advisory Group consisted of public officials, representatives from regulatory agencies, local municipalities, stakeholders and various interest groups. Advisory Group meetings were open to the public and covered a range of topics regarding the review and redevelopment the shellfish cultivation zone, Lease Program maps and revisions to the procedural requirements outlined in the existing and adopted SCALP Program Management Plan.
Given the large range of topics and concerns discussed during the public meetings hosted by the Towns/Town Trustees and the larger Advisory Group meetings, the Department also commenced four focus groups meetings. While these meetings were open to the public, the Focus Group meetings were meant to bring together user groups with similar/shared activity types, which allowed the meetings to be geared to their specific concerns, requests and needs.
As a result of the meetings discussed above the Department and the project consultants, Cashin Associates, P.C., were able to transpose comments that were made during these meetings and map out areas of concern, environmental significance, potential conflict, etc.; all of which helped inform the redevelopment process and resulted in the Revised Shellfish Cultivation Zone map and Revised Aquaculture Lease Sites Map. For more information on the review of the Shellfish Cultivation Zone Review please select the Shellfish Cultivation Zone Review & Redevelopment link below.
In addition to the review of the Shellfish Cultivation Zone and respective program maps; the Ten Year Review Project included an evaluation of the current Lease Program and the development of recommendations regarding potential limits during the next ten years of the Lease Program. In addition to the Department’s operational experiences during the first nine years of implementation and administration of the Lease Program, the Department also considered the comments and feedback from the Advisory Group on proposed revisions to requirements outlined in the Administrative Guidance document; as well as the proposed acreage cap limit.
Suffolk County Local Law 9-2021, which was approved by the Suffolk County Legislature on March 2, 2021, adopted the amendments to Chapter 475, Article II of the Suffolk County Code; the Map 1: Revised Shellfish Cultivation Zone and Map 2: Revised Aquaculture Lease Sites; and the Revised Administrative Guidance document. For more information regarding the review and approval of Suffolk County Local Law 9-2021 please select the Legislative Approval link below.