10/07/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/07/2021 09:40
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the opening of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's new Marine Resources headquarters located in the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation's Nissequogue River State Park, Kings Park, Suffolk County. The new building, which features a range of sustainable green features, will serve as a central hub for DEC's Division of Marine Resources and its essential work to manage and conserve New York's marine fisheries, shellfish, and other protected marine life habitats.
"From recreational anglers out for a day to commercial shellfish harvesters who have fished our state's waters for generations, the health of New York's marine ecosystem is critical to the economic health of our coastal communities," said Governor Hochul. "This new facility is evidence of our ongoing commitment to protecting New York's diverse marine life while leading the way in the development of sustainable infrastructure."
"New York's sustained commitment to the protection and preservation of the region's marine environment is evident in every feature of this new, state-of-the art green building that will enrich DEC's work to conserve and protect our shared natural resources," Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "With this new sustainable facility, DEC will be at the forefront of scientific research and environmental protection to safeguard our marine environments for future generations."
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "I'm grateful for the partnership with Commissioner Seggos and the DEC on the ongoing transformation of Nissequogue River State Park. The DEC Marine Resources headquarters is a great fit for this waterfront park, and our visitors will benefit tremendously from the enhanced year-round stewardship, programming, and law enforcement presence that the DEC will bring to the facility."
The facility is LEED Silver-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council for energy efficiency construction. It includes water-use reduction and rainwater management features, environmentally conscious and low-pollution-emitting building materials, and facilitates the production of up to 100,000 kWh/year of solar-generated energy. Construction of the new $26 million facility was supported by funding from NY Works and is aligned with the goals of the Nissequogue River State Park Master Plan.
Sustainable features at the new facility include:
DEC plays a crucial role in the management of commercial and recreational fisheries, such as striped bass, black sea bass, summer flounder, and blue crabs, among others. To protect healthy fisheries, DEC remains committed to protecting vulnerable and encroached marine habitats that include tidal wetlands, bays, estuaries, the Hudson River, Long Island Sound, and Atlantic Ocean. Maintaining healthy marine environments helps to support Long Island's coastal communities and industries that rely on sustainable and productive marine resources. New York's marine resources are critical to the State's economy - supporting nearly 350,000 jobs and generating billions of dollars through tourism, fishing, and other industries. The region's growing marine economy accounts for approximately 9.7 percent of Long Island's total gross domestic product.
DEC oversees the management of shellfish and aquaculture to ensure productive, healthy, and safe shellfish are harvested for consumption from New York's waters. The new headquarters operates the state's only U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-certified shellfish microbiology laboratory to ensure that the more than one million acres of shellfish growing areas throughout New York's marine waters meet the stringent requirements of the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP). The lab must complete FDA-approved proficiency testing twice per year to maintain its FDA certification and is evaluated by the FDA every three years for NSSP compliance and recertification.
"Today's ribbon cutting not only represents a big win for our region's vital marine ecosystems, it shows what can be accomplished when a community comes together to support a common-sense project that strengthens the local business community. I would like to thank New York State, Supervisor Wehrheim, the Kings Park Community and our brothers and sisters in labor whose leadership and commitment to this project helped push it over the finish line," said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
"It's a great day for Kings Park as we formally welcome the DEC Marine Resources Headquarters to the community. This new headquarters provides a major boost to the small business community, adding new jobs and expendable income to the nearby downtown, but most importantly, this is a major investment in our local ecosystem. From restoring shellfish populations, managing fisheries, protecting marine habitat, and providing youth educational programs, we are grateful to welcome DEC to the neighborhood and look forward to future opportunities to enhance environmental conservation in our own backyards," said Smithtown Town Supervisor, Ed Wehrheim.
"On behalf of the of the Nissequogue River State Park Foundation, I welcome the DEC to the park and look forward to working with the DEC to build a meaningful long-term partnership that will help to create value for all the park constituents," said John McQuaid, President, Nissequogue River State Park Foundation.
Nissequogue River State Park connects to Sunken Meadow State Park, allowing visitors to explore 521 riverfront acres of trails, saltwater wetlands, and wildlife habitats. Located on the north shore of Long Island, the park overlooks the Nissequogue River and provides scenic views of the river and the Long Island Sound and provides valuable habitat to a variety of shore birds, reptiles, and amphibians. The park offers a canoe and kayak launch, fishing, birdwatching, interpretive signs, guided tours, and group tours by reservation. In addition to green building features, the new facility offers improved meeting spaces, staff workspaces, and laboratories. The facility also provides opportunities to expand DEC's environmental education and I FISH NY programs, while enhancing joint initiatives with State Parks, such as I Love My Park Day, First Day Hikes, and Outdoors Day.
The nation's largest offshore wind agreement, record investments in the Environmental Protection Fund and clean water infrastructure, the Artificial Reef Program, a ban on offshore drilling, the passage of the 'bunker bill' to prohibit the use of purse seines for menhaden, and continued progress on the Long Island Shellfish Restoration initiative are a few examples of the steps New York State is taking to promote recreational fishing, restore marine ecosystems, strengthen Long Island's economy, and combat climate change.