Shinnecock Bay Hope Spot
“I wish YOU would use all means at your disposal and campaign to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas; Hope Spots large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet.”
– Dr. Sylvia Earle, Founder of Mission Blue
In early 2022, IOCS along with The Explorers Club nominated Shinnecock Bay as a Mission Blue Hope Spot, the first in the New York State and one of only a few on the U.S. East Coast.
Mission Blue describes how Hope Spots are unique:
A Hope Spot is any special place that is critical to the health of the ocean–Earth‘s blue heart. They’re about recognizing, empowering, and supporting individuals and communities around the world in their efforts to protect the ocean.
Shinnecock Bay was once severely degraded, facing similar problems as other bays in the region and around the globe: water quality impairments, nitrogen loading, a lack of shellfish, and habitat loss. Now, following a comprehensive restoration and monitoring program begun in 2012 led by Stony Brook University (The Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program (ShiRP)), the health of the bay has improved dramatically.
Shinnecock Bay serves as a beacon of hope providing a positive example of successful restoration in an era of negative environmental news. This, along with strong and supportive community involvement, the remarkable variety of species in the bay, and the recreational and commercial opportunities enjoyed there, are among the reasons Mission Blue designated Shinnecock Bay as its newest Hope Spot on June 6, 2022.
Photos by Christopher Paparo
Goals of the Hope Spot
There is still more work to do.
The Hope Spot designation provides a platform for further community building and will create new partnerships and opportunities.
Goals of the Hope Spot include:
Continue and amplify ecological restoration and monitoring efforts in Shinnecock Bay.
Broaden the constituency for the restoration of Shinnecock Bay through enhanced engagement and partnerships with government, tribal, industry, NGO, foundation, and other individuals and community organizations.
Create awareness of the Shinnecock Bay Hope Spot so that it can instill hope to a broader populace and guide similar efforts elsewhere.
Expand science, research and exploration of the bay, using this well studied bay as a “test bed” for new technologies.
Secure adequate long term funding to enable the achievement of these goals.
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