Great South Bay is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 45 mi (72 km) long, forming a
large natural harbor on the southern side of
Island in the U.S. state of
York. It is protected from the open ocean by
Island, a barrier island
approximately 30 mi (48 km) long, as well as the eastern end
of Jones Beach
Robert Moses Causeway crosses
the Great South Bay
Bridge leading to a few of Lower New York's Outer Barrier
Islands.The bay's waterways are accessible from the
ocean through the narrow Fire Island Inlet between the western tip of Fire Island and the
eastern tip of Jones Beach Island and Jones
connects to South Oyster
Bay on its western end. stretching as east into the
Patchogue and Moriches
Bay filtering the bays through the Moriches Inlet at the east end.
Map showing the location of the Great
In the early mid-17th century, European settlers arrived among the
native Meroke tribes. The earliest included British families such
as the Smith, Carman and Hewlett familiesin Merrick and an international horde of Freeport and Bay
Shore pirates, marauders, swashbucklers, privateers, freebooters and
their ilk, including the legendary Blackbeard, Captain Redeye and Captain Morgan.
population growth on the
northern shore of the bay has led to the bay becoming a population
destination for yachts
and other pleasure
craft. Development around the bay has led to a degradation of the
bay's water quality, and to the rapid growth of eel grass
During the spring and summer months, the Great South Bay is a
popular area for boating and fishing.
The rapid population growth
the shores of Great South Bay has led to numerous environmental
problems. Important juvenile habitat for fish species, in
particular eel grass beds, has been entirely lost from the western
reaches of Great South Bay, in particular where the waste water
treatment plants of the western communities empty out into the
water. In the mid-bay and eastern sections of the bay, storm water
runoff, carrying with it pollutants and excess nitrogen
from fertilized lawns and insufficient
systems, has led to increases in algal
blooms and other pollution-related issues.
At one point in time, Great South Bay provided many of the hard
consumed throughout the region and even
the country. However, as population impacts grew, habitat was lost
and the clam population crashed, devastating the fishery
and the communities that depended on it.
From a high point of hundreds or even thousands of baymen working
the waters of Great South Bay, now only a scant few can be seen
ekeing out an existence.
- Back To
Baysics - Environmental awareness campaign in efforts to making
our Great South Bay great again.