The mission of the Peconic Estuary Protection Committee is to achieve improvements in water quality and habitats of the Peconic Estuary by leveraging the resources of municipalities and agencies on eastern Long Island. The vision is to improve the ecological health of the Estuary by addressing pollutant sources including stormwater runoff, septic system discharges, agricultural and residential fertilization, groundwater flows, illegal dumping, floatable debris and boat waste. As a unified group of stakeholders, the Committee believes that the future health and productivity of the Peconic Estuary requires a coordinated effort. The Committee members also recognize that intermunicipal cooperation is an effective and resource-efficient means to comply with EPA’s Clean Water Act and New York State’s Phase II stormwater regulations for municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s). The Committee seeks to work collaboratively towards improved water quality by sharing information and technical resources, coordinating regulatory and enforcement activities, jointly conducting outreach and education initiatives, and cooperating on planning and infrastructure programs.
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The Goals of the Peconic Estuary Protection Committee are to:
i. Improve water quality in the Peconic Estuary to help assure that all waters of the Estuary consistently meet water quality standards for bathing, swimming and fishing;
ii. Improve water quality in the Peconic Estuary to help assure that areas currently closed to shellfishing, once again be classified as suitable for the harvesting of shellfish for human consumption;
iii. Help restore and enhance tidal wetlands in the Peconic Estuary that serve to: cleanse ecosystems; provide marine food production and wildlife habitat; offer opportunities for education, research and recreation; provide flood and storm control; and offer open space and aesthetic appreciation;
iv. Help control and reduce point and nonpoint source pollution affecting the Peconic Estuary and its environs;
v. Assist in the achievement of compliance with federal and state statutes and regulations which affect the Peconic Estuary in a coordinated and cost effective manner; and
vi. Help coordinate local coastal regulations so as to maximize protection and enhancement efforts in the Peconic Estuary, its tributaries and wetlands.
In 2015, the Peconic Estuary Partnership, having recognized the success of similar intermunicipal water quality coalitions on Long Island, initiated the creation of the Peconic Estuary Protection Committee. The PEPC is envisioned to act as part of the PEP’s Local Governments Committee in the PEP Management Conference. The Committee focuses efforts on compliance with EPA’s Clean Water Act and New York State’s Phase II stormwater regulations for municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) to achieve the Goals of the Peconic Estuary Program’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan and is dedicated to achieving improvements in water quality and habitats of the Peconic Estuary by leveraging the resources of municipalities and agencies within the watershed. Due to the strong connection between the PEPC and the PEP, some of the information and links on the PEPC website direct the user to webpages on the PEP website for further information.