The Western Bays is a sub-region of the Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve, extending from the western boundary of the Town of Hempstead to the Nassau/Suffolk County line. They are home to the largest concentration of salt marshes in the South Shore Estuary Reserve. This system of bays and marshes provides critical habitat for birds and marine species, and offer abundant recreational opportunities for residents and tourists. Once productive fishing and shellfishing grounds, the water quality and habitat of the bays has deteriorated in recent decades, and much research still needs to be done to diagnose and fix the ecological problems seen in this region.
The Western Bays are dying. The science has been very clear: treated sewage effluent entering Reynolds Channel is choking the bays. The Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant discharges 50-60 million gallons of treated effluent a day. For over a decade, groups have advocated for significant upgrades to the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant, which includes denitrification, and an ocean outfall pipe. Nassau County recently announced a possible alternative solution that would avoid building a new ocean outfall pipe. By utilizing existing structures and the Cedar Creek outfall pipe, we can save money and time, which is a win-win for the Western Bays.