President's budget proposal flushes out Peconic Bay funds

Posted: Updated:
GREENPORT -

Hopes of federal funding to clean up the Peconic Bay have gone down the drain, according to a Trump administration budget proposal.

President Donald Trump's proposed budget leaves out federal dollars that have long been earmarked to protect the water there.

In the 1980s, brown tide invaded the bay, wiping out the scallop population and putting many fishermen out of business. Since then, the fishing industry has shrank.

"We used to have 30 boats fishing out of Greenport," says Bob Hamilton, a commercial fisherman who remembers the devastation in 1985. When asked how many there are today, he answers, "Me and Bill."

Baymen and civic activists lobbied to have Peconic Bay become part of a national group of protected estuaries, which resulted in millions of dollars in funding for cleanup and research.

Rep. Lee Zeldin says he has been in touch with Congress to try to get funding to restore a part of the Peconic Bay Estuary Fund.

Funding for programs to protect the Long Island Sound are also earmarked to be eliminated under President Trump's budget.

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