NYSG's Green Tips for Coastal Living

Spread the word and educate your family, friends, and neighbors about ways they can help protect the waters of New York, from the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound to Lakes Ontario and Erie and all points in between.

The tips include conservation measures for protecting vital resources in both New York’s Great Lakes waters as well as the State’s estuarine resources, particularly those of Long Island Sound and along the Hudson River ...

"Green Tips" Topics

Recreational Activities

  • On the Water: Clean & Safe Boating (Click Here)

  • On the Water: Clean Marinas (Click Here)

  • On the Water: Making Urban Waterways Accessible to All (Click Here)

  • On the Water: Alerting Pet Owners of Potentially Lethal Toxins in New York Waters (Click Here)

  • At the Beach: Rip Currents (Click Here)

  • At the Beach: Sand Dunes, Littering, Stewardship (Click Here)

  • For Anglers: Ethical Recreational & Commercial Practices (Click Here)

  • For Anglers: Engaging the Next Generation (Click Here)

  • For Anglers: Safety at Sea Training (Click Here)

Everyday Practices and Education

  • Disposal of Unwanted Medicines (Click Here)

  • Microplastics in Our Waters (Click Here)

  • Keeping an Organic Lawn, Garden (Click Here)

  • Managing Cesspools and Septic Systems to Protect NY's Waters (Click Here)

  • Estuary Education: Know Your Influence on the Watershed (Click Here)

  • Climate Change Education: Covering Climate in the Classroom (Click Here)

Seafood Safety: Get Educated, Eat Up!

Recreational Activities

Clean & Safe Boating back to top

In New York's Great Lakes region alone, more than 1,400 boaters pledged to be environmentally-sound after visiting the 2010 Discover Clean and Safe Boating exhibit at events throughout the freshwater shoreline region. The 2011 edition of the campaign includes a fishing boat, a canoe, and national Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers information on how boaters can reduce the spread of unwanted invasive species. In 2012, aquatic invasives remained a hot topic, along with life-saving in-water demonstrations.

The exhibit has now been seen by more than half-a-million boaters and potential boaters and counting at over 50 events through 2014 in all of New York state's coastal regions, including this year's Empire Farm Days and even the New York State Fair.

The pledge that boaters sign includes a number of safe practices:

  • Controlling boat sewage by using pumpouts and dump stations

  • Keeping boating waters free of litter and waste

  • Preventing fuel and oil from entering the water by using a bilge sock and fuel nozzle bibs

  • Practicing good boat cleaning and maintenance methods

  • Safe boat operation and minimizing the impact of a boat's wake

  • Controlling  the spread of aquatic nuisance species - Recreational boating can provide vectors (ie., boats and other watercraft) for the spread of aquatic invasive species. Practicing safe and clean boating can help provide prevention, early detection, rapid response measures, and long-term management and control – all of which can help reduce the cost of coping with invasive species in New York State.

For more on clean boating and preventing the spread of aquatic invaders, Click Here

And for more on aquatic invasive species education, see NYSG's aquatic invasive species Web site (Click Here), and details on the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network's Nab the Aquatic Invader site (Click Here).

Clean Marinas back to top

  • Providing marina owners with practical information techniques, products and practices they can use to improve environmental practices and minimize potential sources of pollution at their facilities.

For more on marina environmental Best Management Practices (BMPs) education (Click Here). 

At the Beach: Rip Currents back to top

  • Rip currents are a potential deadly threat, accounting for more than 80 percent of lifeguard beach rescues. Lifeguards and surfers can usually detect beach rips, but most beachgoers have difficulty spotting them. So remember, When in doubt, don't go out' and swim near a lifeguard.

For more on rip currents education, Click Here

At the Beach: Sand Dunes, Littering, Stewardship back to top

  • Sand dunes and their plants are fine to look at, not to touch. In a single summer, as few as 25 round trips on a path can destroy half the vegetation on the path. While plants living on sand dunes as well as the sand dunes themselves are fragile in many ways, the dune plants are tough enough to survive the harsh conditions of the dune environment if left untouched. In the long-term, you'll be glad you read the signs and stayed away from fenced-in and restricted areas at beaches. Aside from all the animals, birds, and insects that call the dunes home, sand dunes act as a barrier from storm energy, absorbing much of the destructive forces from storms, allowing the inland areas to remain calmer.

Here are some other helpful tips while in the area:

  • Minimize your impact at beaches and other public recreational areas by practicing “carry-in, carry-out."

  • Bring an empty bag and pick up litter others have left behind

  • Read your local newspapers to learn about upcoming beach cleanups, interpretive hikes, or other stewardship opportunities that you can get involved in. Just to give you an idea of how "pitching in" a little goes a long way: During a 2008 Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-a-Beach™ clean-up, 30,053 pounds of trash was removed from Great Lakes beaches across Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

  • Reduce the amount of litter you generate and buy goods made from recycled materials.

For more on sand dunes and wetlands educationClick Here

And for more on stewardship efforts in NY's Great Lakes, Click Here.

For Anglers: Ethical Recreational & Commercial Practices back to top

  • The most important rule in developing good fishing ethics is to uphold the conservation laws. Almost every species is governed by a combination of seasonal closure, bag limit and size limit to protect them against overfishing, and these regulations are meaningless without the full co-operation of the public.

  • Abiding by fishing regulations in your area has a greater effect than you may know. Fisheries managers work to balance protection of fish and their habitat while providing enough fish for people to catch. Throughout North America many fisheries are in trouble, mostly from damage or loss of important reproductive habitat that is so necessary to sustain native fish populations for future generations to enjoy.

For more on sustainable recreational and commerical fisheries in New York's Great Lakes watersClick Here.

And for more on fisheries in New York's marine waters, including tips on how to be an ethical angler, Click Here.

For Anglers: Engaging the Next Generation back to top

  • Another way we're helping to bolster public awareness and understanding of New York's aquatic resources is through the I FISH NY program, a partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Throughout New York State, this initiative introduces urban residents to the sport of fishing.

And for more on events, lesson plans, games and more provided by the I FISH NY program, Click Here.

For Anglers: Safety at Sea Training back to top

  • Why should fishermen take the time to learn about life-survival gear and safety techniques such as fire fighting, the use of flares and how to respond to flooding on their vessels? “Without a doubt, I’d rather learn here on the dock than offshore when it’s 5 degrees in February,” said angler John Scheu, at a Summer 2010 training course in Montauk, NY.

For more resources related to safety and survival at sea trainingClick Here.

Everyday Practices and Education

Disposal of Unwanted Medicines back to top

  • Don't flush unwanted or unused medicines. Watch your local news for take-back events.

For more on unwanted medicines educationClick Here.

Keeping an Organic Lawn, Garden back to top

  • When it comes to taking care of your backyard, keep it green through natural means: use non-toxic alternatives to herbicides and pesticides for your lawn and garden. These chemicals can be washed off your property and carried into local waterways. 

For more on water quality educationClick Here

Estuary Education: Know Your Influence on the Watershed back to top

The more you know about fragile ecosystems like estuaries, the more likely you are to respect their unique character.

  • That's why, through a 2009 partnership with the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary Program, NYSG helped update Exploring the Estuary, a guide to estuary education. Estuaries and their surrounding wetlands are bodies of water usually found where rivers meet the sea. They're home to unique plant and animal communities that have adapted to brackish water — a mixture of fresh water draining from the land and salty seawater.

  • If you're looking for another approach to engage young people in environmental education, there 2010's Discover the Hudson River Booklet.

  • Long Island Sound is another estuary of national importance. This natural resource provides recreational fun for us, habitat for wildlife, and income to many local economies. However, the Sound is heavily affected by the 20 million people who live within 50 miles of the coastline. We all must do our part to make sure we understand how our everyday actions affect Long Island Sound and protect it however we can.

Here are a few ways you can help around your home, backyard, school and Long Island Sound:

  • Conserve water — use low-flow faucets, shower heads, reduced-flow toilet flushing equipment, and water saving appliances.

  • Maintain your septic system — improper maintenance can contaminate ground water and surface water with nutrients and pathogens

  • Recycle — everything from cans and bottles to paper and plastic shopping bags

  • Dispose of cell phones, batteries and other electronic devices properly.

  • Reduce the use of household chemicals by selecting less toxic alternatives and using non-toxic substitutes wherever possible.

  • Conserve energy — one way is by replace your incandescent bulbs with mercury-free, efficient compact fluorescents.

For more on estuary education in the Hudson River and NY-NJ Harbor Estuary regionClick Here.

For more on estuary education in and around Long Island Sound, Click Here

For additional educational resourcesClick Here

Seafood Safety: Get Educated, Eat Up!

Regulations for Seafood Processors back to top

  • Since December 1997, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulation has required all seafood processors, including firms that handle, pack, store, or label seafood, to develop and implement a HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) Plan to control all food safety hazards. Through a variety of training courses, New York Sea Grant has helped many of the thousands of seafood processors, wholesalers, packing docks, and shellfish shipppers in New York and across the U.S. that must comply with this regulation.

Education for Seafood Consumers back to top

  • Our Seafood Savvy publication can help consumers better understand seafood products and how to use them safely and confidently.

  • Handling Your Catch: A Guide to Saltwater Anglers offers the basics of good fish handling practices, which, along with a little planning and creativity, should help readers to get much more enjoyment from fishing expeditions - and a great deal more satisfaction from the fish they bring to the table.

For more on seafood safety educationClick Here.

And to cook up some of our seafood recipesClick Here.

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