About Moriches Bay Project
The Moriches Bay Project™ is an aquatic restoration program created in 2013, by the West Hampton Dunes Barrier Beach Association, a 501(c)(3) non-profit volunteer organization, and by First Coastal Corporation, a coastal environmental consulting firm based out of Westhampton Beach.
Situated between the Great South Bay and Shinnecock Bay, Moriches Bay is surrounded by close to ten incorporated towns and villages within both Brookhaven and Southampton Townships. Its body of water spans roughly 9,480 acres, and once provided a thriving habitat for shellfish, fish, aquatic vegetation, rare plants, and animals. In the past, many local fisherman and bay oriented industries found success living on the water due to Moriches Bay’s high ecological and environmental productivity. Its oyster and clam abundance contributed to one of the top fisheries on the East Coast until the 1970’s. However, over the last few decades, the beauty, tranquility, and natural accommodations of Moriches Bay became a lure for suburban sprawl, those seeking a quiet place to raise a family, build their dream home, and visit a charming coastal community. Although inadvertently, human encroachment has caused the bay to function as only a fraction of its former self.
Excess nutrients from septic tanks and fertilizers have increased the incidences of harmful brown algae blooms that have notoriously wiped out environmentally essential eelgrass and shellfish populations. When at one time the bay was clear and blue, it is now a turbid brown soup that cannot support its innate abundance of marine life.
As a mission to improve overall water quality in Moriches Bay, and increase its environmental productivity, the Moriches Bay Project™ is dedicated to reestablishing populations of shellfish and eelgrass to this fragile marine environment. Through stewardship, partnership, and community awareness, the Moriches Bay Project™ hopes to make long-term improvements to the bay and empower the community with knowledge to counteract local environmental problems.