My name is Will Peckham and I’m running for Town Trustee to protect and enhance our local Blue Infrastructure. Building on past work, the Board of Trustees can employ an innovative mix of data-driven decision making and environmental restoration to better our marine environment.
A few months ago I met with elected officials in Washington on behalf of a bipartisan group called the Shellfish Growers’ Climate Coalition. As a shellfish farmer, I joined the Coalition to help raise political awareness and inspire action around climate and environmental issues by sharing my story.
As a young person making a living on the water, I’ve already witnessed warming ocean temperatures, harmful algae blooms and stronger and more frequent storms.
These and other issues threaten the livelihoods of all kinds of folks in the Blue Economy and the general quality of life in our coastal communities.
After a week of virtual ‘fly-ins,’ it was encouraging for our small group to receive support and recognition from Senate Majority Leader Schumer, Senator Gillibrand and others.
While federal support for mitigating climate change and smart environmental regulation ought to be the norm, too often we find ourselves knee-deep in the mudflats of political gridlock.
That’s where local government comes in. The Board of Trustees and the incumbent Town Government focused on our local Blue Infrastructure before it was cool. We are one step ahead in that we know the health of our groundwater, coastline and estuaries underpins a way of life and public health.
The good news is that a science-based management approach coupled with the local knowledge of the Trustees is a unique and powerful tool to mitigate pollution and restore our waters.
The right combination of reducing the nitrogen load to our bays and extracting nutrient surpluses via shellfish and seaweed cultivation requires innovation on land and hard work on the water. It can clean our waters for years to come while creating good jobs, at a fraction of the cost of ‘gray’ infrastructure.
As a kid I spent hours every day waist deep in the water, catching crabs and bluefish. We need to similarly ‘turn on’ the next generation to the marine environment– while demonstrating that we’re wading right in to do what we can – now.
Photography: West Robins (Mikey DeTemple)