Biologist says lake draining project is being done improperly

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YAPHANK -

An environmentalist is ramping up his fight with the Town of Brookhaven over a multimillion-dollar project to drain Lower Yaphank Lake.

Chad Trusnovec and his family have lived on the banks of the lower lake of Carmans River for decades. Over that time, the lake went from crystal clear to a sea of green, caused by an invasive plant that choked the waterway.

After decades of failed attempts to eradicate the invasive plant called cabomba, a multimillion-dollar drain-and-dredge project by the Town of Brookhaven is underway.

Not everyone agrees the drain-and-dredge project is the right approach. Marine biologist Kevin McCallister claims the town is doing more harm than good to the river's aquatic life and is operating without proper permits and approvals. He also believes the dams that created the lakes in the 1700s should be removed.

But the idea to return the lakes back into a river enrages residents like Trusnovec, who says McCallister "doesn't care about this community."

The river is unique in that it is one of two rivers on Long Island that contains native brook trout.

The Town of Brookhaven responded to McCallister's allegations by saying: "Brookhaven Town is proud to have worked for over a decade…to rid the Yaphank Lakes of invasive species. Working hand in hand with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation the Town has…all required permits in place and…we are looking forward to the completion of this project."

The project was initially expected to be completed by spring 2019.

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