Marine Debris Repurposed!

(Clockwise) Geb Cook, District Manager of FIFerry District; Michele Klimczak, FIConservancy’s Marine Debris Coordinator; full length of fencing installed on South Beach; rolled fencing that washed up on Fishers Island. Michele Klimczak and Geb Cook Photos

In late April, Michele Klimczak discovered a roll of wooden fencing that had washed up on a beach in the area of Clay Point Road. Michele, FIConservancy’s Marine Debris Coordinator, has cleared tons of marine debris from Fishers Island shores in recent years.

“I think this fencing is from Ocean Beach in New London,” Michele said. “It’s not unusual for their fencing to roll into the water. I try to reuse and repurpose what I can and had a great idea for this fencing!

“Why not install it on South Beach to protect the nesting area of shorebirds!

“The fencing was partially buried, and I couldn’t budge it. So I asked Joe Brock if he could use his machinery with a digger scoop to pull it out of the sand. He gladly offered to help, dug up the fencing and dumped it into the back of my truck.”

Geb Cook, District Manager of FIFerry District and Gordon Murphy, FIFerry Business Manager, helped Michele carry and install the fencing at Bud’s Hole/Sanctuary of Sands. Geb and Gordon brought supports for the fencing and a tool to secure them in the ground.

Geb and Michele cleared and hauled away all of the cans and plastic waste from the brush in and around the dune that is a nesting ground for shorebirds. The fence is meant to deter walkers from climbing the dune. A bright yellow nesting bird sign is posted on the fence for an extra measure of caution.

“This was truly a team effort!” Michele said.

Sanctuary of Sands on South Beach adjacent to Elizabeth Airport runway is part of the area, including the Parade Grounds, owned by the Town of Southold and managed by the FIFerry District. This area is also part of FIConservancy’s 12-year program to restore and maintain grasslands.