By Carl Lobue
As the Sr. Marine Scientist for The Nature Conservancy on Long Island, Carl LoBue was struggling with how to effectively communicate alarming scientific findings concerning the health of Long Island’s waters to local residents and the public servants that represent us. So in 2015 he partnered with Patchogue based Red Vault Productions and together they sought out a dozen Long Islanders and enlisted them to tell their own stories on film. The result is a visually stunning series of 4 minute stories aimed at re-connecting us to the things and places that are uniquely Long Island.
At an initial screening of the films earlier this year, surrounded by the people featured in the series and their families, LoBue revealed that “When we started to put the series together I thought, oh my God this is going to end up being a love story to Long Island,” but then he realized “What it really is, is an intervention. And part of that is a love story, as most interventions are. It’s basically, ‘We love you but you have to change’ because the path you’re on is simply unsustainable.”
Long Islanders may need a reminder that we have access to naturally astounding areas that many American communities could only dream of. This weekly series is aimed at highlighting that all of this is in jeopardy if we don’t adjust the path we are on.
“Connecting the Pipes could Save $200 Million” : A Positive Future for the Health of the Western Bays
– Carl LoBue
Believe it or not, government can work collaboratively with businesses, scientists, engineers and community groups in ways that are innovative, resourceful, and cost-effective. Such is the case in Nassau County where officials just authorized the inspection a 100 year-old Brooklyn Water Works pipe that runs along Sunrise Highway in hopes that the 72-inch diameter pipe can be repurposed to transport sewage treated at the South Shore Water Reclamation Faculty (formerly Bay Park STP) to the existing Cedar Creek ocean outfall pipe.
If completed as proposed, Nassau officials say this creative project design could shave as much as $200M off the price tag of a similar proposal to tunnel a new ocean outfall pipe under the city of Long Beach. Since Superstorm Sandy, the South Shore Water Reclamation Facility has been flood fortified and is also being modernized in ways that will cut nitrogen discharges in half. These upgrades will make it the cleanest sewage treatment plant on Long Island’s south shore. While logistics still need to be finalized, this combination of long-awaited solutions will protect human health, restore nature, and revitalize Long Island’s coastal economy.
As a marine scientist and member of the South Shore Estuary Reserve Council I have been invited to testify on this topic at many state and county hearings. I show charts, graphs, maps, and analyses to help people understand what is happening. Often at the conclusion of the expert testimonies from scientists and engineers, members of the public are given the opportunity to speak to the issue at hand. If you have ever been to a hearing like this, you might share my observation that passionate citizens can often be much more effective communicators than scientists like me.
That is why we gave Freeport’s Jimmy ‘The Junk Man’ Ruocco the opportunity to share his perspective in this short film “Jim’s Solution”.