Northport Village has come up with a solution to reduce
harmful algae blooms in the Northport Harbor: use a little muscle, or in this
Mayor George Doll announced at a board meeting Tuesday that a $147,900 Suffolk County grant would fund a project to seed the harbor with ribbed mussels. Mussels are filter feeders, which means that they feed on nitrogen, bacteria and phytoplankton. The idea is that by feeding on algae, the mussels will remove nitrogen from the water, and halt algae blooms, which have troubled the waterways and can lead to paralytic shellfish poisoning.
The grant, known as the Northport Community Sustainable Fisheries Initiative, was given by the Suffolk County Water Quality Protection and Restoration Program and is a duel effort with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County. Northport Village will serve as the lead agency of the grant.
Doll said that he original plan was to use oysters, but the Department of Environmental Control was concerned that the shellfish might be stolen and sold before they could be put in certified water.
Ribbed mussels, however, are generally not eaten.
"There’s no danger of them getting on the market and transmitting any kind of disease,” Doll said.
The mussels are also very prolific in water filtering, he added.
Another aspect of the project’s cost savings has to do with the village recycling lobster traps to use as cages to grow the mussels in.