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EPA Celebrates National Estuaries Day in New York with Live Webcast for Teachers and Students

Release Date: 09/23/2004
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(#04142) New York, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today marked the annual celebration of the nation's estuaries with a live Webcast for students and teachers at the Suffolk County Marine Environmental Learning Center in Southold, New York. Scientists, teachers and students joined Rick Balla of EPA's Estuaries and Ocean Section to give Internet participants a glimpse into the efforts underway to study, protect and restore the Peconic Estuary. The real-time event, EstuaryLive, was accessible worldwide via the Internet; it highlighted the importance of estuaries for habitat and recreation, and the particular resources of the Peconic Estuary. The program marks the September 25 celebration of National Estuaries Day, which focuses public attention on estuaries, semi- enclosed coastal bodies of water that connect to the open seas.

The Webcast included a tour of an operating shellfish hatchery, a view of the microscopic world of bay scallop larvae, and a look at a greenhouse where eelgrass, an important underwater plant, is being grown.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County Marine Program and the Peconic Estuary Program worked together on plans for EstuaryLive along with New York Sea Grant, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Suffolk County Department of Health Services. The Webcast featured students and teachers from Quogue Elementary School and Riverhead High School. The Quogue Elementary School students are cultivating shellfish in an aquaculture, or "water farming" project. They may be among the youngest aquaculturalists in the country. Increasing the numbers of shellfish such as bay scallops, clams, and oysters through aquaculture may help restore the environmental quality of the estuary.

EstuaryLive is sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Estuaries Research Reserves and EPA's National Estuary Program. Internet users around the world were able to participate in EstuaryLive and submit questions about the estuary during the live broadcast. In addition to the program on the Peconic Estuary, estuaries in North Carolina, New Jersey, Washington, Oregon, Alabama and Massachusetts are also being featured on live broadcast sites. Internet viewers can participate in EstuaryLive Webcasts on Friday, September 24 by going to Segments of the Web casts will also be available after the live sessions by going to