SoMAS Fieldwork Results in World “Hope Spot” Designation for Shinnecock Bay |

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Shinnecock Bay has been named a worldwide Hope Spot after profitable restoration efforts over the previous decade. Photograph credit score: Christopher Paparo/Fish Man Photographs

Shinnecock Bay is being named a brand new “Hope Spot” by Mission Blue, a global group that helps the safety of oceans worldwide. The excellence is the results of a decade of restorative and scientific work co-led by Ellen Pikitch, Christopher Gobler, and Bradley Peterson in Stony Brook College’s College of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS).

Hope Spots are iconic ocean areas that stand out as a few of the most pristine on the globe. This locations Shinnecock Bay, positioned on the East Finish of Lengthy Island, in a league with internationally-recognized areas such because the Galapagos Islands, the Sargasso Sea, and the Ross Sea in Antarctica. The bay is the primary Hope Spot in New York State, the one one close to a serious metropolitan area, and one in every of solely three others on the Japanese Seaboard of the U.S.

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Bottlenose dolphins swimming from the Shinnecock Inlet into the bay. Photograph credit score: Christopher Paparo/Fish Man Photographs

Dr. Sylvia Earle, founding father of Mission Blue, saids, “What a concept, in the shadow of one of the most densely populated parts of the planet – New York City! While New York conjures up visions of skyscrapers and crowded streets, it is a great ocean state with a significant coastline, a rich maritime heritage and growing opportunities to view ocean wildlife from the shores and in the water.”

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Mission Blue and its founder, the internationally famend marine biologist Sylvia Earle, formally named Shinnecock Bay as a Hope Spot on June 6 in an occasion at The Explorers Club in New York Metropolis. Pikitch, on behalf of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science, nominated the bay for this international recognition and Ted Janulis, on behalf of The Explorers Membership, served as second nominator.

The Explorers Membership acknowledged the work of Pikitch and her colleagues at SoMAS, the place a workforce of scientists, educators and college students have labored collectively to revive the well being, biodiversity, and aquaculture potential of Shinnecock Bay.

“The Hope Spot distinction for this unique bay on Long Island is the result of meticulous work and proof that the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program has succeeded in bringing  the bay back to the healthier state  it was in many decades ago,” mentioned Pikitch, the Endowed Professor of Ocean Conservation Science and director of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science.

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Ospreys are thriving alongside the shores and within the lands round Shinnecock Bay. Photograph credit score: Christopher Paparo/Fish Man Photographs

“Shinnecock Bay is arguably the healthiest bay in New York State, and our work demonstrates that people can reverse the damage done through nature based, scientifically guided restoration,” Pikitch continued. “We hope and expect that designation of Shinnecock Bay as a Hope Spot will inspire others  to take action to restore other places  to their original beauty, biodiversity, and health.”

Shinnecock Bay is a extremely productive estuary that’s roughly 122 kilometers from New York Metropolis. The bay is a hidden gem of biodiversity that covers an space of 40 sq. kilometers and consists of 9,000 acres of open water, salt marshes, intertidal flats, and seagrass beds. These habitats function essential nursery, feeding, and breeding grounds for a lot of species.

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Moreover, the Shinnecock Bay space and surrounding lands has an extended historical past to the Shinnecock Nation, whose reservation is positioned on the far japanese a part of the bay. Leaders of the Shinnecock Nation have endorsed the designation of Shinnecock Bay as a Hope Spot.

The creation of “hard clam sanctuaries” in western Shinnecock Bay is a pivotal a part of the restoration effort of the SoMAS Stony Brook College workforce. Because of this work, the harmful brown and purple tides that had been occurring yearly haven’t been noticed for a number of years. Landings of exhausting clams exterior the sanctuaries have elevated dramatically and are at a degree not seen because the mid-1980’s. And, numbers of fish within the bay, most notably forage fishes resembling bay anchovy and menhaden, have escalated.

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