Yes We Can—Paddle Our Way to Cleaner Waters

Volunteer paddlers spreading 100,000 juvenille hard clams in 3 Mile Harbor, East Hampton.

You hear it all the time: To stay healthy, you have to stay active. It’s true for our bodies, and now—thanks to a new series from the Great Peconic Race Committee and Cornell Cooperative Extension—it’s true for our bodies of water, too.

On August 1, the two organizations teamed up with the East Hampton Town Shellfish Hatchery to host the first event in their Back to the Bays Stewardship Paddle Series, which invited participants to paddle in Three Mile Harbor from Gann Road to Sedge Island and seed 100,000 juvenile hard clams into the waters at the designated planting site. The event was free—as are all of the events in the series—and offered locals a rare opportunity: The chance to play an active role in restoring the health of our bays while getting to enjoy an outdoorsy afternoon of activity themselves.

Barley Dunne, who heads the East Hampton Town Shellfish Hatchery, works to seed waterways with juvenile scallops, clams, and oysters each year.

Post-paddling provisions were provided by Bay Kitchen Bar, while Paddle Diva supplied board rentals to all who needed them.

The next event in the series is slated for Monday, August 21, and will involve building new oyster beds off of Havens Beach. The third event—on Thursday, September 9—will feature an eelgrass habitat restoration workshop on Wade’s Beach, Shelter Island during the Great Peconic Race.

A sampling of the 100,000 juvenille hard clams spread by volunteer paddlers in 3 Mile Harbor.

All events in the Back to the Bays Stewardship Paddle Series are free and open to paddlers of all levels. They are designed to be fun for participants and cleansing for our waters. It’s hard to imagine a better win-win than that.

For more information on the Back to Bays Stewardship Paddle Series, please visit the Cornell Cooperative Extension website.