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Town of North Hempstead Named an Environmental Champion by the EPA

May 17, 2016
MEDIA CONTACTS: Carole Trottere, Rebecca Cheng, Sam Marksheid, and Vicki DiStefano | (516) 869-7794

Town of North Hempstead Named an Environmental Champion by the EPA

Honor given in recognition of Town’s new fishing line receptacles that help to reduce plastics in waterways

North Hempstead, NY – North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth announced that the Town was honored last week with the prestigious Environmental Champion award by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 for an environmental initiative that helps to reduce plastics in the waterways and save marine life. The Town was honored during a ceremony at the EPA offices in Manhattan on May 13.

The Town received this award for its fishing line disposal program launched in 2015 that placed receptacles and signage around Town Dock in Port Washington and five other Town locations to urge fisherman to discard of any non-biodegradable monofilament fishing line properly. The receptacles, based on similar ones that the Town’s Chief Bay Constable Mal Nathan saw in Florida, are made in-house for about $40 each and feature colorful, educational signage.

According to the Audubon Society, monofilament fishing line is an amazingly strong substance that can snag and harm people and marine wildlife, including turtles, frogs, birds and small mammals.

“Each year our Bay Constables rescue sea birds and other marine life that have become entangled in discarded fishing line, and these fishing line receptacles help protect these creatures,” said Supervisor Bosworth. “I thank the EPA for recognizing our efforts to reduce plastics in our waterways, protect our marine life and maintain a healthy ecosystem here in the Town of North Hempstead.”

The Town of North Hempstead is one of 40 recipients of the Environmental Champion Award this year throughout New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“Each year the EPA recognizes those who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to protecting and enhancing environmental quality and public health, and the Environmental Champion Award is the highest recognition presented to the public by the EPA,” EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck said.

The fishing line receptacle program was a joint effort between the Office of the Town Supervisor, the Office of Sustainability and Bay Constable’s department. According to Chief Bay Constable Nathan, he has observed birds wrapped in fishing line that became entangled on telephone and light poles, causing their death. By working with Chief Sustainability Officer Erin Reilley, who is tasked with producing all of the Town’s environmental programs, it was a natural fit to create these highly visible receptacles in which to dispose of fishing line safely.

The receptacles are all made in-house, and have been placed at six of the Town’s parks where people tend to fish. In addition, the Town designed signs instructing people how to dispose of the fishing line using graphics, so that all can also easily understand its purpose.

An easy ‘how to’ video on how to make your own fishing line receptacle is available at https://youtu.be/j8pTmYvfgaY. For more information about the Town’s environmental programs please call 311 or 516-869-6311.

Murray Fisher, Founder of the Billion Oyster Project and the Harbor School; Chief Bay Constable Mal Nathan; Supervisor Judi Bosworth; Chief Sustainability Officer Erin Reilley; and EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck.


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