In 2009, Friends of the Bay formed a committee to begin planning a blueway trail which would guide kayakers and canoers through Mill Neck Creek, Oyster Bay and Cold Spring Harbor.   A blueway trail, also known as a blue trail or water trail is the on-water equivalent of a hiking trail.  It is intended to provide paddlers with information on routes, points of interest, destinations and amenities.  It seems like a simple task, but when we began to discuss all the elements of designing a trail, such as access points, adjacent recreational facilities, ecological or cultural resources, signage, safety considerations, navigation, etc., it became obvious that in order to develop a high quality trail, professional assistance would be needed.  The Town of Oyster Bay was awarded a grant to retain an engineering firm to do the design work.  At the Town Board meeting August 9, the Board approved the award of the contract to design the blueway trail to Nelson, Pope and Voorhis.  Billy Joel made a rare appearance at a Town meeting to show his support for the blueway trail.

I spoke with Kathy Eiseman, a partner at Nelson, Pope & Voorhis, about project which was awarded to NP&V and their team of trail designers, landscape architects, civil engineers and environmental consultants. Ms. Eiseman expressed her team’s enthusiasm for this project and their plans to get out on the water within the next couple of weeks to start detailed planning of the trail.  “The Blueway Trail we have in mind has the potential to connect people to the waterways of the Town in a unique way – highlighting all of the wonderful resources along the shoreline of the Town.  These include cultural and historic sites, natural resources along the coast, recreational opportunities both on and off water, as well as local businesses where paddlers may find lunch, a cold drink or even balm for their tired muscles.   The Town of Oyster Bay Blueway will connect to the eastern end of the North Hempstead trail and, ultimately, it’s hoped that such trails will surround Long Island.”  The Blueway Trail planning and design is funded in part through a NYSDOS grant, which has also funded another Blueway Trail in North Hempstead.

“We’re really looking forward to working with Friends of the Bay and other members of the community to receive input for the design of the trail” she added.  Needless to say, we at Friends of the Bay are thrilled to see this project moving along.  It will be a wonderful way to connect the historic downtowns of Oyster Bay, Bayville and Cold Spring Harbor to the waterfront.  Kayakers, canoers and boaters will now have the opportunity to learn more about the marine environment and become even more enthusiastic stewards of the harbors, bays and land surrounding them.  The communities will benefit by having more recreational tourism drawn to the area.  We will keep the community informed on the progress of the planning.

This Week’s Results .

The dissolved oxygen levels continued to be lower than 5.0 mg/L at the bottom in sites in Cold Spring Harbor this week.  (Levels at 5.0 mg/L of DO are considered to be healthy for all marine organisms).  Water temperatures have risen to more than 20 centigrade.  Readings at levels higher in the water column, 1.0 meter and .5 meter from the surface, were closer to or exceeded 5.0 mg/L of DO.  The algal bloom continues at sites 1 and 2 at the southern end of Cold Spring Harbor, although it is much less severe than what was observed last week.  The water is “bathtub warm”.  A large pod of dolphins were sighted off of Eatons Neck and at the buoy at the mouth of Cold Spring Harbor.  This is a very positive sign of good water quality.    I have to wonder – will a  manatee return this year to Mill Neck Creek?