CSHH published Hempstead Harbor: Its History, Ecology, and Environmental Challenges in 1998. The book was intended to encourage community members to learn about Hempstead Harbor as an important habitat for marine life and other species and laid out the challenges that had to be addressed to ensure that all life around the harbor thrived.
In 2001, CSHH received the prestigious Clearwater Award, announced by The Waterfront Center, a Washington, DC-based educational organization with worldwide membership. CSHH was commended for the scope of its activities in working to improve conditions in and around Hempstead Harbor. Particularly noted were CSHH’s book and the expansion of its water-monitoring program.
In 2018, CSHH was pleased to receive recognition by the New York State Outdoor Education Association (NYSOEA). CSHH received NYSOEA’s Environmental Impact Award for its long-standing dedication to the ecological health of Hempstead Harbor and Long Island Sound.
A lot has changed during the more than 20 years since the publication of Hempstead Harbor: Its History, Ecology, and Environmental Challenges. The harbor’s water quality has improved, the quantity and diversity of marine life and other wildlife have increased, and 2,500 acres of shellfish beds have been recertified for harvesting. A variety of shore birds feast on small baitfish, and ospreys and bald eagles are seen frequently around the harbor with their catch of larger fish.
Recreational activities have increased as well around Hempstead Harbor. Junior sailing clubs continue along with other boating and fishing activities. Kayaking, paddle boarding, and crewing have been added to the list of opportunities for local human residents to enjoy.
However, new challenges have emerged. As water quality improved, development pressure along the waterfront increased. While contamination of the harbor and shoreline from legacy industrial activities have for the most part been remediated, more work remains to remove excess nitrogen and bacteria from entering the harbor. The risks of climate change, sea level rise, and inadequate drinking water supply are issues that will have to be addressed both locally and regionally.
What hasn’t changed is CSHH’s unwavering dedication to its mission and work on behalf of Hempstead Harbor.