The Town of Islip recently banned the use of chemical pesticides in the town's 106 parks and addressed the issue at their monthly board meeting on Tuesday.
The measure is designed to promote organic lawn care practices, like using natural materials to treat grass and plants, and also limit chemical runoff into the bay after storms. It will not apply to golf courses.
According to the Town of Islip Parks Commissioner, the plan will go into effect immediately, and will not cost the town any additional money. Islip is already using organic protections in some locations, and no extra training will be needed to expand the program town-wide.
"By not putting the chemical pesticides on the lawns or the grass, we hope to not only contribute to the health of the residents but also to minimize the amount of runoff into the Great South Bay," said Councilman John Edwards.
During the public comment period of the board meeting, attendees were uniformly supportive of the measure.
Town street policies
The board also passed a sustainable streets policy, which will require the town to incorporate "balanced, responsible and equitable" methods for accommodating bikers, public transportation vehicles and walkers into any street design, maintenance and repairs.
Officials have already put this policy into action at Lowell Avenue in Central Islip, where the town has installed a bikeway and additional lighting, according to Town of Islip spokeswoman Amy Basta.
The council also voted to hold a public hearing on changes to the town's shellfish restrictions at the September 9th meeting.
The updated measure would cut the number of shellfish a private fisher could collect in one day from a half a bushel to a fourth of a bushel. They would also be limited to gathering no more than 100 hard clams a day.
Oyster fishers would have to limit the number of oysters less than three inches in diameter to 5 percent of their bushel.
And fishers would no longer be permitted to take bay scallops that measure less than 2 1/4 inches. Previously, they were allowed to take a scallop with an annual growth ring regardless of its size.
The bay scallop fishing season would also be reduced by about two weeks - it would start at the beginning of November rather than on October 15th. It would still end on March 31st, though.
The measure is designed to bring the Town of Islip into compliance with New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation standards. The public can weigh in on September 9.
The Town also approved up to $300,000 for an advertising campaign for Long Island MacArthur airport. The multimedia campaign will encourage Long Island residents (particularly residents of eastern Nassau county) and businesses to use the airport more frequently. It will also aim to attract new businesses to Veteran's Highway.
The campaign started in 2009. The airport's traffic has remained steady since then, despite the economic downturn. Supervisor Phil Nolan said that is an indication of the campaign's effectiveness so far.
"The airport is the economic engine of this region," he said. "A lot of potential costumers aren't aware of what the airport provides."