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Peconic Estuary Rewards Program

Peconic Estuary Rewards Program Money Available; Demonstration Project Being Developed with Help of Local Girl Scout Troop

April 15, 2014 – The Peconic Estuary Program (PEP), one of 28 National Estuary Programs, has been working to protect and restore the Peconic Estuary for over 20 years. One of the factors negatively impacting water quality in the estuary, along with nitrogen from sewage, is stormwater runoff.  This is water that picks up pollution and travels toward the bay bringing contaminants with it. Two good ways to deal with stormwater runoff include: eliminating/reducing the use of potential contaminants (i.e. pesticides and fertilizers) and giving stormwater a chance to be used by plants or be absorbed into the ground.

In order to address this stormwater runoff issue, PEP with the support of Group for the East End (GFEE) and New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission is offering a unique rewards opportunity for residents in the Hashamomuck Pond watershed in Southold (as well as residents in the Reeves Bay watershed in Flanders). This educational project will help homeowners reduce runoff from their property, which will decrease the amount of pollutants ending up in nearby waters. Rebates are being provided to eligible homeowners who use native plants by installing rain gardens or conservation landscaping on their properties.

This Saturday PEP and GFEE will be working with local Girl Scout Troop, Service Unit 60 of Cutchogue, to develop a demonstration rain garden at Downs Farm Preserve in Cutchogue. These types of landscaping projects reduce runoff by reducing the amount of water leaving your property after a storm, and reduce fertilizer use often associated with turf grass. This demonstration garden as well as the rebate program will be available for viewing and will provide an opportunity for residents to learn more about the Peconic Estuary and ways they can help protect and restore this local treasure. Also eligible for a financial reward (and available for viewing at Downs Farm Preserve) is the installation of a rain barrel. Rain barrels catch water that would otherwise run off your property and put it to good use, like watering your flowers or vegetable gardens. This program was launched last fall and there has been quite a bit of community interest. However, there is some funding remaining, and more applications are being accepted. Spring gardening season is upon us, so send in your application today!

For more information please visit or contact Jennifer Hartnagel at Group for the East End (

Jennifer Skilbred
631-899-3651 •