From The President

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April 2019

I thought I would use my letter this month to go over what I know about the cleanup of Lily and Willow Lakes. After serving on a Lakes Committee for seven years, the decision was finally made in 2014 to dredge Willow and Lily Lakes. (The DEC permit reads hydraulic dredging of Willow and Lily Lakes in Yaphank followed by Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting---DASH). Although the dredging went well to remove invasive aquatic species and debris, there were problems with turbidity in the water and the inability of the dredging company to control the turbidity when they were doing Willow Lake. (Turbidity is muck that is suspended in the water, resulting in cloudiness.) When work at Willow Lake was finished, the decision was then made to halt the dredging of Lily Lake while the consultants came up with a solution to control the turbidity.

Fast forward to 2019, and Brookhaven Town has finally decided to clean up Lily Lake using Town equipment and Town employees. They are going to build a temporary dam across Lily Lake at the rear of the Chase Bank building and then install a pipe to channel all of the water from Willow Lake and all of the water from the upper reaches of Lily Lake around the lower portion of Lily Lake. This lower portion of the lake, as it dries, will now become a work area for the machines to go in and clean up the Lake bottom, removing the invasive species of plants and debris. Because these Lakes are 95% spring-fed, the Town will still have to deal with the water that is coming into the Lake from the springs. All of the muck and plants that are coming out of the Lake will be taken to the landfill as cap material.

In the meantime, Suffolk County is going forward with implementing a fish ladder at Lily Lake. They have to deal with some archeological problems because this entire area is on the National Register of Historic Places. The fish ladder will be on the East side of Yaphank Avenue and will run through one of the existing culverts that are already under the road.

Meanwhile this past year, the Town has re-built the dam at Willow Lake and installed a fish ladder just to the East of the spillway. They have also installed a boardwalk from the spillway to the parking area of the Swezey-Avey House. The entire area has been re-landscaped, using mostly native plant choices. The successful rehabilitation of Willow Lake, along with major improvements to the spillway area and Town Park and beach, has resulted in all-season use and enjoyment by many community residents and visitors.

You can always find information on the Coalition to Save the Yaphank Lakes website, (

- Robert Kessler, President