Here’s the latest news on the East End in the long ongoing battle between humans and Mother Nature. Consider it the Two-Hundred-Years War, beginning with the Industrial Revolution.
This past week, coyotes struck a blow for the Animals on Fisher’s Island. Residents there—this is an island east of Orient Point—have sometimes seen them running through the fields, and have heard what they believe to be coyotes howling at the sound of the noon whistle. More frightening is the apparent disappearance of more than a dozen house cats on the island.
The problem was presented to the Southold Town Board on Wednesday. And the belief is that the coyotes have swum over from Connecticut.
“We’re told they are very good swimmers,” resident Charles Kadushin told the board. “We’ve seen them in gardens and we’ve seen them down near the fort. They attack cats and dogs.” Kadushin said that his own house cat disappeared over Memorial Day weekend and now, having heard from his neighbors about other cats that have gone missing, he believes he will never see his cat again. There may be gunfire, properly licensed of course, on Fisher’s Island in the near future.
In Water Mill, the humans seem to have won a skirmish in the war against the algae in Mill Pond.
The people living in homes around Mill Pond in that town have for years now looked out in horror at the bright orange algae bloom that has turned their 92-acre pond into some grotesque neon body of water every summer.
It’s widely believed that the pond, which was very clear and filled with fish up until the residents began buying up the land and building homes there along its shores, has been disturbed by chemical runoff from landscaping and nearby farms that killed the plant life in the pond, thus creating massive amounts of decay and phosphorous. The algae love the phosphorous. They bloom in the pond by the billions to eat it up, and their presence in the pond causes a great depletion in oxygen levels choking off plant, shellfish and fish levels even further.
Recent attempts to control the algae, by throwing different chemicals into the pond, and by installing solar driven moving paddles to stir up the pond water have failed. At one point they began calling Mill Pond “Princess Nowedonah Pond,” perhaps in the hopes of attracting environmentalists and others who might come out of the woodwork to rescue a body of water where it is believed, Shinnecock Princess Nowedonah once sat on a log and rested along its shores. But that didn’t help either.
When tests of the pond water last winter—when the algae are dormant—revealed far fewer local fish in the waters than ever before, they also revealed a huge influx of large, aggressive, fanged fish known as carp that are not native to this area. It was decided to remove and kill these carp. Trustees caught nearly four tons of them kicking and growling in their nets this past spring.
Perhaps as a result, this summer, nobody knows for sure, the algae bloom appeared less than the year before, perhaps because of the carp removal.
There is another possible reason why the algae might flee the pond. Next month, in a small 5 by 60-foot inlet at one end of the pond, a fabric curtain will seal off the inlet from the main pond and a new chemical called Phoslock will be sprinkled. This chemical it is believed, bonds with phosphorous and causes it to sink to the bottom and thus be unavailable to the algae. It is possible then the algae levels will rapidly die off. Perhaps the algae have heard about this test and are Gettin’ Out of Dodge before the powder hits.
Meanwhile there’s trouble at a 180-acre farm in Cutchogue. There the owners of Satur Farms have struck back at neighbors who they claim are trying to drive them out of business. They are filing a $14 million lawsuit against them.
In their suit, they claim neighboring families to an 18 acre parcel of the farm where trucking takes place on Alvah’s Lane have put up a big sign reading “STOP SATUR FARMS FROM KILLING US WITH DIESEL FUMES, DUST, NOISE POLLUTION.”
The lawsuit also says the neighbors have hurled point of origin abuses at them (Eberhard Mueller, married to Paulette Satur, is of German descent), have harassed their employees by telling them they will report them to immigration and blocked trucks coming and going by where they parked.
Just two days after the lawsuit was filed, though, the big protest sign facing the farm came down. This is a complicated story with merit it seems on both sides, but part of it is people like farms to look at, but sometimes they don’t like the farming itself.
The Two-Hundred Years War goes on.