Back to the Bays

education, environment, water, youth
Eastern Long Island, NY, USA

Join forces with Main Beach Surf + Sport to help restore the treasured East End waterways

The beautiful East End waters are our lifeblood, as much a part of our lives as the air we breathe. Whether we’re big or small and whether with a sand bucket or SUP, our bays and beaches are where we all come together. And for many businesses, our waterways are a livelihood. But overdevelopment, road runoff, pesticides, fertilizers and other sources are threatening the quality of local waters. Working together, we can change that.

A unique effort, spearheaded by Main Beach Surf + Sport brings community together in a ground-breaking collaboration to clean up the stunning Peconic Bay around Sag Harbor and Shelter Island. This Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Back to the Bays project is a first of its kind between scientists, businesses, school groups, and individuals to restore our beautiful Peconic Bay to its natural origins. “We all become our own activists and having community involvement is really powerful” said Lars Svanberg, owner of Main Beach Surf + Sport. “My whole life has been built around the water. I earn my living by teaching people of all ages to surf and paddle and by selling things to use on the water. We want to keep the environment pristine so that people continue to enjoy it.”

How this project makes a difference

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County combines scientific research and restoration efforts with effective public involvement campaigns and stewardship initiatives. Through this program residents, school groups, and community groups are provided with educational and hands-on opportunities to get involved with CCE’s science-based efforts to:

  • Restore eelgrass habitat to our bays
  • Establish a bay scallop spawner sanctuary site consisting of adult scallops
  • Free plant hard clams into receiving areas for population enhancement
  • Establish an oyster bed restoration site to serve as fish habitat and bolster the local oyster population
  • Conduct two coastal planting sessions to re-vegetate our shorelines with native beach grass and marsh grass
  • Integrate hands-on, place-based Back to the Bays curriculum into our local schools in Fall 2016

Our Goal

A fundraiser of a different sort…off to great start

Through crowdfunding with individuals like you, and two SUP racing events, the goal is to raise and additional $11,600 to supplement the generous support from Main Beach Surf + Sport and a major gift from the Thomas L. Kempner Foundation. Together, we can keep our bay the place we will always come together – where sand buckets are filled and kayaks continue bobbing on pristine waves. Every donation, large or small, from every individual goes towards the initiatives outlined above.

Two great races. One great cause.

This unique community integrated fund-raiser will get a great boost with Main Beach Surf + Sport’s “Race for the Bays” on May 7 and finish with the “Great Peconic Race” on September 10, founded by Billy Baldwin in honor of his brother Ted Baldwin. Both events will donate proceeds to the Back to the Bays project and have opportunities for hands on participation in eelgrass restoration and shellfish seeding.

Good people. Good business.

Main Beach Surf + Sport is dedicated to the environment. Lars Svanberg, owner of Main Beach Surf+Sport in Wainscott said: “We like the idea of people participating in the wellness of their own waterways. We’re the ones using the beaches – we’re out teaching, paddling and swimming, getting people out in races. It’s what we are all about so it’s natural for us to become part of a movement on the cleanliness of the water and restoring the natural habitat. We want to show people that we can all have an impact. and have the shop here become a meeting place for people to find out what’s going on and how they can help. We are a business but we can also affect change through this project – we want to give back in any way that we can.”


Thank you!
This project ended 10/08/2016 and raised a total of $38,210
  • Steve Borghardt

  • Andy Brosnan $50.00

  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County

    Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Marine Program has been working to protect and enhance our marine resources through education, applied research projects, and stewardship initiatives since 1985. The Back to the Bays Initiative was launched in efforts to better connect communities to to the bays. There are stewardship sites established at numerous locations in the Peconic Estuary, Long Island Sound, and throughout the Shinnecock and Moriches Bay systems. The work conducted at these sites, along with local government and community support, has been able to seed our bays with millions of shellfish, restore over one hundred thousand shoots of eelgrass to our marine meadows, and educate thousands of children through school and field based educational outreach programming. Through this program residents, school groups, and community groups are provided with educational and hands-on opportunities to get involved with CCE’s science-based efforts to:

    Protect and enhance water quality of our bays
    Rebuild coastal and marine habitat and create resilient shorelines
    Restore and enhance populations of commercially and recreationally important finfish and shellfish.

    Learn more here.

  • Main Beach Surf + Sport

    Main Beach Surf + Sport is the Hamptons Natural Resource for all your Watersports, Beachwear and Winter needs. Open 7 days a week, year round they have been proudly serving the Hamptons for over 25 years. Main Beach offers the best brands, such as, Patagonia, Ocean Kayak, Channel Islands, Quicksilver, Laird Hamilton, Hobie, Bark, Surf Tech, Thule, Werner, Kialoa, Rip Curl and much more. Paddleboards, Surfboards, Kayaks, Wetsuits, Car Racks, Beach Wear, Sunglasses, Pool items, Base Layers Outer Wear, Hats, Gloves and more.

    Learn more here.