Sustainable East End on WPKN 89.5 FM /

Sustainable East End is a monthly series about issues of land use, water and energy resources, transportation and the food industries on the twin forks of Long Island.  

The program is heard on the 2nd Thursday each month at noon on listener powered WPKN 89.5 FM  and streaming live on

Sustainable East End is produced by Francesca Rheannon and Tony Ernst.

Coastal Erosion

As sea level rises, coastal erosion is a major problem on the East End. 

Water front property owners have been battling with town trustees over their attempt to protect their property by building bulkheads or other hardened structures.

The structures usually result in significant loss of sand in front of the structure and also down stream along the shoreline, exposing neighbors beachfront and public beaches to severe erosion as well. 

The authority of the trustees based on a colonial era English law   has been challenged in the courts after disputes with homeowners.

In May 2012, a state judge ruled that the Southampton Town Trustees do not have the authority to regulate homeowners placement of structures on or under the ocean beach to protect their homes in the event of severe erosion during major storms, at least within village boundaries.

And  a group of homeowners along Southampton towns oceanfront in Water Mill, Bridgehampton and Sagaponack, combined to fund a multi-million dollar beach replenishment project in 2013 after severe loss of beach sand washed out dunesand threatened homes.

Marine biologist Douglas Hardy has been studying the devastating effects of hardened structures on Southold towns coast line on the north fork of Long Island effects like severe erosion and reduced coastal resilience in the era of climate change. 

Hardy wrote a paper The Starvation of Southold Beaches  for the Conservation Advisory Council to The Southold Town Trustees.  

Hardy identifies the problem and considers the legal aspects of fixing it as property owners battle with local government.  He notes in the paper that as sea level rises and storms become more extreme, storm surges will overwhelm and undermine hardened structures and those structures will also magnify storm surge damage to adjacent beaches. He proposes ways to encourage homeowners to plan for sea level rise in a way that better protects coastal resilience.

The paper was submitted in January at a town board meeting, but was not enthusiastically received, according to, a news blog.

Sustainable East End's Francesca Rheannon talked with Doug Hardy last week. 

Renewable Power Options for the East End

Today we look at renewable energy options for Long Island’s electric grid including solar and wind power as well as off shore wind farms under construction for New England.   

Long Island’s electric power is supplied from various sources both on and off island.
The Long Island Power authority says that the biggest part of the cost of power is the cost of fuels, primarily natural gas. And that cost is highly variable – changing with market conditions.

Next month LIPA will choose from among proposals for solar and wind generated power for Long Island.  Advocates say that solar or wind power generation will reduce our carbon footprint and lower the cost of power delivered to Long Island.

Gordian Raacke of Renewable Energy Long Island (RELI) and Clinton Plummer of Deepwater Wind are heard on today's program.  

Additional Information about today's topics:

Tri - State Transportation Campaign - Ryan Lynch

The lack of adequate mass transit on Long Island’s East End has been long - recognized but has not received the attention it deserves.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign  is a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to reducing car dependency in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Today we talk with Ryan Lynch, Associate Director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign about the state of mass transportation on eastern Long Island and the metro area.

We learn that LIRR's plan for 'Scoot' shuttle trains on the east end from Speonk to Montauk and from Ronkonkoma to Greenport has been cancelled. 

listen here:

This is another in the  monthly series about issues of land use, water and energy resources, transportation and the food industries on the twin forks of Long Island.  It is heard on the 2nd Thursday each month on listener-powered WPKN Radio - 89.5 FM and streaming live at

Renewable Energy on Long Island - a talk with Gordian Raacke, Updated

September 11, 2014

We talk with Gordian Raacke, director of RELI – Renewable Energy Long Island

Renewable Energy Long Island describes itself as a "membership-based, non-for-profit organization promoting clean, sustainable energy use and generation for Long Island.RELI provides information to consumers and contractors and publishes a green business directory, the Long Island GreenGuide in print and online.


We talked with Gordian Raacke in April 2013. 
Since then, the state decided against privitization of Long Island's power system. LIPA still oversees the system, which is being managed by PSEG - Long Island, a subsidary of Public Service Electric & Gas of New Jersey.
In May this year, the East Hampton Town board voted to set a goal to meet all its electrical energy needs using renewable sources by the year 2020. and to meet all its energy needs with renewable energy sources by 2030.
Deepwater Wind won a federal lease in July 2013 to develop a 200 megawatt off-shore wind farm  30 miles east of Montauk.  They applied in March to supply the power to LIPA.
LIPA decided last month not to build another gas-fired power plant planned for Yaphank.

 PSEG-Long Island presented a long range plan criticized for not including renewable power sources.

Saving Accabonac Harbor

August 14, 2014

Accabonac Harbor in the hamlet of Springs in East Hampton, New York is a scenic and diverse tidal marsh system.  As with many areas of the town, the Harbor, also known as Accabonac Creek, has been under pressure from developers of second homes as well as other environmental threats. 

Residents of the area formed the Accabonac Protection Committee in 1985.
Francesca Rheannon talks with Cile Downs and Jorie Latham of the committee.

More information about the work of the Accabonac Protection Committee is online at

Ruben Bess Valdez talks about the Shinnecock Shellfish Hatchery and pollution of the bays.

September 13, 2012 - Updated July 10, 2014

The people of the Shinnecock Indian Nation have been harvesting shellfish from the waters of what is now Southampton for millennia.

Tony Ernst, Sustainable East End co-producer  talks with Ruben Bess Valdez, of the Shinnecock Shellfish Hatchery about the challanges to developing the oyster business in the face of increasing
pollution of the waters surrounding the reservation.

July 10, 2014:

Here is an update on activities at Shinnecock:

According to the Southampton Press, as part of a federal aid package awarded last month for restoring reservation shoreline damaged during Superstorm Sandy, the tribe, will receive funds to repair the crumbling shellfish hatchery building.  

In addition to restoring the shoreline, other projects intended to dampen the effects of future storm-driven waves are being considered.  Restoring eelgrass beds in the near-shore waters of eastern Shinnecock Bay could act as a dampener for waves and storm surge, as could an oyster reef the tribe would like to create along the tidal shallows off its shores.

Listen here:
More information about the Shinnecock Nation and the shellfish hatchery is available at

More information about efforts to clean up the waters of the east end can be found at

Sustainable East End is produced by Tony Ernst and the program host, Francesca Rheannon.

Shinnecock Shellfish Hatcheries 
Back in the 1980’s, the Shinnecock Indian Nation ran a Tribally owned and operated shellfish hatchery which was successful for approximately 10 years, until much of Long Island was adversely affected by the Brown Tide that devastated much of the shellfish industry on the Island. The building from which this Tribal economic development project ran also was one of the first solar paneled buildings on Long Island and was noted for its high-energy efficiency. In the summer of 2004, a small group of determined Shinnecock Tribal Members decided it was time to reassess and evaluate the possibility of beginning a new shellfish hatchery based on re-seeding of the Shinnecock Bay with oyster spawn. With initial funding from the Long Island Community Foundation, and later on the Horace Hagedorn Foundation, Kraft Environmental Family Fund and finally, the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) DHHS, Washington, D.C., the Hatchery was re-born. Today, the Bay has produced thousands of succulent and healthy oysters as well as clams and other shellfish. With pending funding requests, there is a lucrative market for the Shinnecock shellfish whereby once re-established and operational will provide the Nation with a self-sustaining and culturally relevant source of Tribal income. In addition to being a source of economic development, the Hatchery will contain an environmental component of educating Shinnecock and non-Native students alike to the important field of aquaculture and related sciences


Radio producer at WPKN 89.5 FM - East End Ink, Sustainable East End, North Fork Works, Tidings from Hazel Kahan,