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Jun 16, 2009 4:04 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Plan to collect seaweed shot down by East Hampton Town Trustees

Jun 16, 2009 4:04 AM

Native Americans likely taught early East Hampton residents to gather seaweed along the shores for use as fertilizer for their crops, but a recent plan put forth by a nursery owner to do the same thing on a much larger scale has been shot down by the East Hampton Town Trustees.

Charlie Marder, the owner of Marders Nursery in Bridgehampton, asked the Trustees in March for permission to use a specially equipped four-wheel-drive truck to pluck sea lettuce and sputnik, an alga, from the wrack line at bayside beaches throughout the town.

The Trustees weighed the idea carefully, but after hearing from Natural Resources Director Larry Penny last week that the seaweed along the shore provides crucial habitat for many species of sea life and may also help keep dunes from being washed out to sea, they voted two weeks ago to deny the proposal.

Mr. Marder, who did not return several calls for comment, had apparently done his homework before submitting his proposal. He included in his request a list of the beaches that have the greatest seaweed accumulations, including Sammy’s Beach, Goff Point on Napeague Harbor, Gin Beach in Montauk, Cedar Point in the Northwest Woods and beaches at the end of Barnes Hole Road, Gerard Drive, Old Fireplace Road and Alewife Brook Road.

Mr. Marder, who is an 11th generation Springs resident, said in his letter that he planned to accommodate other beach users, and the Trustees were initially inclined to try to protect what has been a historical use of beaches since before European settlers landed on East Hampton’s shore.

“There’s a historical use of people collecting seaweed along the shoreline. We hate to mess with what’s tradition,” said Trustee Clerk Diane McNally this week. “It’s the quantity and the use that’s different at this point.”

Ms. McNally added that the Trustees were uncomfortable with the proposal in part because there are already many competing uses of the beaches—from swimming areas to protected areas where piping plovers can nest.

Ms. McNally added that she was uncertain just how much seaweed Mr. Marder had planned to collect.

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By pinga (90), hamptonbays on Jun 5, 09 8:16 PM
Mr. Marder has always been very "green" minded. There is no reason wht this can't be done settiong rules that wouls be followed as far as time of day and distance from dunes.
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Jun 16, 09 12:47 PM