Volunteers and community groups unite to clean up Penataquit Creek in Bay Shore


Seatuck Environmental Association is coming together with local community volunteers to revive Penataquit Creek.

The creek is part of the Town of Islip’s Great Cove Watershed and a tributary of the Great South Bay. Part of in runs behind the First Baptist Church of Bay Shore on 2nd Avenue, just east of Bay Shore High School, where volunteers gathered this month for Seatuck’s 4th annual clean-up effort to help restore the ecological health of the area.

“We got our permits just before COVID and we’ve had 11 events since that time, and at each event, we do one more thing,” said Maureen Dunn, water quality scientist for Seatuck.

Other community groups and members involved in the clean-up initiative include South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, First Baptist Church of Bay Shore, Keep Islip Clean, Starbucks, Save the Great South Bay, Bay Shore High School’s Interact Group, Legislator Steve Flotteron, and the Boy Scouts.

Seatuck launched the Penataquit Creek Revival in 2017, and support for the project has grown over the years.

The overall mission is to improve the health of the creek and restore its role in the community.

“We removed trash — including 42 tires and a piano. That was the first step. I mean it was kind of a dump” Dunn said.

Dunn continued to explain the other steps in the clean-up process, such as removing invasive plants in the area, releasing native brook trout, and planting native plants the group purchased through a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation grant called Trees for Tribs.

This includes such native plants as witch hazel, blueberry brushes, elderberry and more.

Dunn said planting all these native plants along the stream help with soaking up all the nitrogen and keeping it out of the water.

“If you have a healthy stream side, then you have a healthy stream,” she said. ”We started by testing the water, and it was very good. We found out this was a great stream, but all the trees are falling in and there’s garbage – so let’s clean it up.”

Part of the clean-up includes beautifying the area for the public to enjoy.

For example, Vincent DiPierro of Boy Scout Troop 153 in Bay Shore will be providing benches for a semi-circle overpass overlooking the creek for his Eagle Scout Project.

Alison Branco, president of Seatuck, said there is a real opportunity to improve the habitat around the stream.

She also believes environmental projects like this one are important because it connects the community.

“Volunteers love to come here because it’s a part of their neighborhood,” Branco said. ”It’s been about a year since I’ve been able to make it to one of these, and the transformation over that time is tremendous.”

Scroll down to view photos from the Pentaquit Creek Clean-Up.