Attachment B:COASTAL FISH & WILDLIFE HABITAT ASSESSMENT FORMName of Area:Designated:Date Revised:County:Town(s):7½' Quadrangle(s):Great South Bay-WestMarch 15, 1987December 15, 2008SuffolkBabylon, IslipAmityville, NY; Bay Shore West, NY; Bay Shore East, NY; West GilgoBeach, NYAssessment CriteriaScoreEcosystem Rarity (ER)–the uniqueness of the plant and animal community in the areaand the physical, structural, and chemical features supporting this community.ER assessment :One of the largest shallow coastal wetland ecosystems in New York State.64Species Vulnerability (SV) – the degree of vulnerability throughout its range in NewYork State of a species residing in the ecosystem or utilizing the ecosystem for itssurvival. (E Endangered, T Threatened, SC Special concern)SV assessmen t:Roseate tern (E), common tern (T), northern harrier (T), osprey (SC) and blackskimmer (SC). Black rail (E) nest in area, but not well documented. Additivedivision: 36 25/2 25/4 16/8 16/16 57.7557.75Human Use (HU) – the conduct of significant, demonstrable, commercial, recreational,or educational wildlife-related human uses, either consumptive or non-consumptive, inthe area or directly dependent upon the area.HU assessment :Sportfishing of statewide significance, waterfowl hunting of regionalsignificance and shellfish hatcheries of local significance. Additive division:16 9/2 4/2 22.522.5Population Level (PL) – the concentration of a species in the area during its normal,recurring period of occurrence, regardless of the length of that period of occurrence.PL assessment :This area supports some of the largest concentrations of wintering waterfowl,nesting northern harriers (T), estuarine fish, and the only population of blackrails (E) in New York State.16Replaceability (R) – ability to replace the area, either on or off site, with an equivalentreplacement for the same fish and wildlife and uses of those same fish and wildlife, forthe same users of those fish and wildlife.R assessment :Irreplaceable.1.2Habitat Index: ( ER SV HU PL) 160.25Page 1 of 9Significance: (HI x R) 192.3

NEW YORK STATESIGNIFICANT COASTAL FISH AND WILDLIFE HABITATNARRATIVEGREAT SOUTH BAY-WESTLOCATION AND DESCRIPTION OF HABITAT:Great South Bay-West is located along the south shore of Long Island, east of South Oyster Bay, in theTowns of Babylon and Islip, Suffolk County (7.5' Quadrangles: Amityville, N.Y.; West Gilgo Beach,N.Y.; Bay Shore West, N.Y.; and Bay Shore East, N.Y.). This area is approximately 34,170 acres and isgenerally defined by the mean high water elevation on the north and south sides, by the Amityville Cutboat channel on the west, and by the Islip-Brookhaven town line on the east. The fish and wildlifehabitat is the entire western half of Great South Bay. The bay is bordered on the north by denseresidential and commercial development, including extensive marina and harbor facilities. Theremainder of the area is bordered by State parklands, open water, and low density residentialdevelopment on Fire Island.A number of benthic habitats make up the bay bottom; the dominant eelgrass (Zostera marina)community has been studied extensively. Benthic habitat in Great South Bay can be classified as muddysandflat and sandflat habitats. Much of the bay is shallow open water habitat, but as the bay narrows onthe western end open water merges into an extensive series of tidal salt marshes, salt marsh islands, andintertidal mudflats. Extensive salt marshes also line the bay where tidal creeks and rivers feed into thebay from the mainland. Cordgrasses (Spartina alterniflora and S. patens) dominate the low and high saltmarsh, respectively. Dwarf glasswort (T) (Salicornia bigelovii) which is associated with smoothcordgrass, is one of the main species within a salt panne community on the Gilgo Beach BackbarrierMarsh portion of Great South Bay-West. Common reed (Phragmites australis) borders portions of thehigh marsh, grading to dense thickets of bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica), poison ivy (Toxicodendronradicans), groundsel-bush (Baccharis halimifolia), and marsh elder (Iva frutescens) in drier areas. Onthe barrier beaches bordering the Atlantic Ocean and in swales behind primary dunes, plantscharacteristic of stabilized older dune and coastal shrub communities are found.Water depths in this area are generally less than 6 feet below mean low water, except in Fire Island Inletand in some dredged navigation channels. Tidal range in the bay averages approximately 2.61 feet at theinlet and approximately 0.7 feet at the mouth of the Connetquot River. Great South Bay is the only bayon Long Island’s south shore that has major riverine input (from the Carmans Rivers in the east andConnetquot River in the west). In addition, the bay receives as much as 11% of its freshwater inputdirectly from groundwater flows through its floor. Fire Island Inlet is the only direct connection to thesea, with indirect connections through South Oyster Bay.FISH AND WILDLIFE VALUES:Great South Bay-West comprises approximately one-half of the largest protected, shallow, coastalsaltwater bay in New York State. A tremendous diversity of fish and wildlife species occur in this vastwetland area. Many species of migratory birds nest among the salt marshes and dredged material islandsPage 2 of 9

in Great South Bay-West. The Captree Island vicinity is recognized as an Important Bird Area by theNational Audubon Society of New York State, and serves as foraging habitat for peregrine falcon (E) andother migrating raptors. According to data from 1993-2005, Great South Bay-West is home to anaverage of 12 nesting pairs of roseate terns (E) per year (28 in peak year). In New York, this speciesbreeds only on Long Island. In recent years, common terns (T) have been confirmed nesting on ElderIsland, Dock Island, Goose Flat, Thatch Island, The Grouts, and Captree Island. From 1993 to 2005, anaverage of 1,046 breeding pairs of common tern (T) per year were reported in Great South Bay-West(2,333 in peak year). Recent data for least tern (T) is only available for 1992 and 2002, with 10 breedingpairs and 86 breeding pairs, respectively, in Great South Bay-West. Terns typically nest in simplescrapes built above the high tide mark in sand or gravel, and may be sparsely lined with shells and otherdebris (e.g. seaweed). Tern breeding colonies may contain several hundred to several thousand birds,including roseate (E), least (T), common (T), and gull-billed terns, along with black skimmer.Productivity of the surrounding waters is of vital importance to common terns (T) because they feed onsmall fish, shrimp, and aquatic insects.Several rookeries have been located on islands within Great South Bay-West, including Gilgo Island,Sexton Island, Seganus Thatch, Ox Island, Pipe Island, Nazeras Island, the Cedar Island Group, and anunnamed dredged material island southwest of Nazeras Island. These birds use a network of islands inthe bays, with shifts in island use from year to year. Species nesting in these areas include great egret,snowy egret, yellow-crowned night heron, black-crowned night heron, green-backed heron, little blueheron, tri-colored heron, and glossy ibis. Although the numbers of black-crowned night heron appear tobe declining, records for the years 1993, 1995, 1998, 2001, and 2004 (the years in between were notsurveyed) indicate an annual average of approximately 58 breeding pairs (195 in peak year) in GreatSouth Bay-West. Other bird species which nest in Great South Bay-West include Canada goose, herringgull, great black-backed gull, American oystercatcher, black skimmer (SC), American black duck,mallard, gadwall, willet, Virginia rail, clapper rail, marsh wren, sharp-tailed sparrow, and seasidesparrow (SC). The vast salt marshes, intertidal flats, and shallows in this area provide valuable feedingareas for birds throughout the year, including species nesting in the area and large concentrations ofshorebirds during migration, including whimbrel, yellowlegs, and black-bellied plover.Great South Bay-West is also home to several raptor species. In Great South Bay-West, an estimatedannual average of 12 breeding pairs of osprey (SC) were observed from 1998 to 2003 on the salt marshislands. One pair of peregrine falcon (E) was observed in Great South Bay-West on Captree Island in2004, but nesting was not confirmed. Peregrine falcons generally return to the same nesting locationannually and mate for life. At least 2 to 3 northern harrier (T) nests have been observed in stands ofcommon reed and poison ivy in the Gilgo Beach backbarrier marsh by the New York State Breeding BirdAtlas Project, but additional surveys are needed to better establish how many breeding pairs are regularlyusing the area. Northern harriers (T) here may reach their highest breeding densities in the state and,possibly, the region. It is the only area in New York State where black rails (E) have been found, and isthe only historically documented breeding location for soras on Long Island. The first nesting record forblack rails (E) was recorded in 1937, and since 1968 they have been present along the backbarriermarshes of Gilgo State Park during approximately half of the breeding seasons. Northern harriers (T)and short-eared owls (SC) are common winter residents of the marshes in Great South Bay-West. Anobserver for the New York State Breeding Bird Atlas Project recorded probable breeding for short-earedowl (SC) in June of 2001. All of the salt marsh and dune areas north of the Ocean State Parkway onJones Beach Island represent suitable short-eared owl (SC) habitat and any breeding owls present couldbe expected to forage over the majority of this area.Page 3 of 9

In addition, Great South Bay-West is one of the most important waterfowl wintering areas (November March) on Long Island, especially for brant and scaup. Mid-winter aerial surveys of waterfowlabundance from 1986 to 1998 (excluding 1997) for all of Great South Bay indicate averageconcentrations of over 7,000 birds in the bay each year (18,008 in peak year), including 4,085 greaterand/or lesser scaup (15,405 in peak year), 583 American black duck (1,255 in peak year), 417 (common,hooded, and/or red-breasted) merganser (1,025 in peak year), 648 brant (2,260 in peak year), 691 Canadagoose (1,285 in peak year), and 314 common goldeneye (990 in peak year), along with lesser numbers ofbufflehead, mallard, canvasback, long-tail duck, and American coot. Waterfowl abundance in the waterssurrounding East and West Fire Island (located in Great South Bay-West) were surveyed separately forthe years from 1986 through 1998. The records from this survey indicate average concentrations of1,299 birds in the bay each year, including 496 greater and/or lesser scaup (4,900 in peak year), 209(common, hooded, and/or red-breasted) merganser (1,800 in peak year), and 113 American black duck(387 in peak year). Based on these surveys, Great South Bay-West supports one of the largestconcentrations of wintering waterfowl in New York State although flocks of waterfowl are not evenlydistributed throughout the bay. Dabbling ducks, including American black duck and mallard, areconcentrated in the shallow water and marsh areas behind the barrier islands and the Connetquot RiverEstuary. Generally, brant and geese feed in open water areas through midwinter, while later in spring(prior to migration), the birds feed extensively in the salt marshes. Waterfowl use of the bay duringwinter is influenced in part by the extent of ice cover each year. Concentrations of waterfowl also occurin the area during spring and fall migrations (March - April and October - November, respectively).Nearly all of Great South Bay-West is open to the public for waterfowl hunting, and the area supportsregionally significant hunting pressure.In addition to having significant bird concentrations, Great South Bay-West is an extremely productivearea for marine finfish, shellfish, and other wildlife. Much of this productivity is directly attributable tothe extensive salt marshes and tidal flats that line the mainland and barrier islands, the estuarine habitatsaround stream and river outlets on the mainland, and the sandy shoals and extensive eelgrass beds thatcharacterize the open water areas of the bay. During eight years of surveys by the New York Departmentof Environmental Conservation, 85 species of fish have been identified, 40 of which occur regularly inthe bay. Silversides, Atlantic menhaden, killifishes, and bay anchovy account for over 90% of all the fishcaught and are the most abundant fish species in the bay. Atlantic silversides are found virtuallyeverywhere throughout the bay. Bay anchovy is a main inhabitant of the mid-bay water column duringits spawning time in late June and July. The killifishes include mummichog in the salt marshes, stripedkillifish over sandy habitats, and sheepshead minnow which occupy both the salt marsh and sandyhabitats. Sticklebacks spawn in association with the submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in the springand summer.The abundance of forage species in Great South Bay-West contributes to its importance as a majornursery and feeding area (April - November, generally) for a number of estuarine-dependent,commercially and recreationally important species, including summer flounder, winter flounder, bluefish,striped bass, weakfish, tomcod and tuatog. The bay is particularly significant as a nursery area for theyoung-of-the-year and juvenile Hudson River striped bass and juvenile bluefish, as well as older stripedbass during the summer months. The bay area also serves as an important nursery area for reef species,including tuatog, cunner, and black sea bass due to the cover and prey species provided by areas ofvegetation. Fire Island Inlet is an especially significant component of the habitat; as a corridor for fishmigrations, as a source for the exchange and circulation of bay waters, and as an area where feeding bymany fish and wildlife species is concentrated (including adult striped bass and bluefish). The mostabundant winter species in the bay, the plankton-eating American sandlance, is important as a foragePage 4 of 9

base for both predatory fish and roseate terns (E). As a result, the inlet is the most important foragingarea for roseate terns (E) on western Long Island. As a result of the abundant fisheries resources in thebay (summer flounder especially), Great South Bay-West receives heavy recreational fishing pressure, ofstatewide significance. Commercial baitfisheries have been established in shoal areas near Fire IslandInlet.Other common aquatic species occurring in Great South Bay-West include blue mussel, bay scallop,horseshoe crab, American eel, Atlantic croaker, northern kingfish, and northern puffer. Historically, thebay supported an economically significant shellfishery for northern quahog and the bay still remains amajor spawning, nursery, and foraging area for blue crab. The entire bay area is inhabited by hard clamsand the islands along the south shore support soft clams and ribbed mussels. Most of the bay waters arecertified for shellfishing, resulting in a commercial and recreational harvest of local significance. Hardclam densities within the Babylon waters of Great South Bay averaged 3.35 clams per square meter from2001 to 2002, with an average of 2.85 hard clams per square meter in certified waters. Landings datareported by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation indicate an annual averageof 2,371 total bushes of hard clams harvested within the Town of Babylon’s waters within Great SouthBay from 1993 to 2003. Clam Pond, on the north shore of Fire Island, also contains a population of bayscallops which have been reintroduced to the area. There are a number of shellfish aquaculture sitesalong the south shore of Long Island. Within Great South Bay-West, there are three small-scale shellfishhatcheries (grow-out rafts or floating upweller systems) and one significant hatchery.Other wildlife species within the habitat include harbor seals that frequently use both sides of the FireIsland Inlet as haulout sites and are frequently sighted in the bay during the winter months. In recentyears, sightings of grey seal have increased in this area as well. Sea turtles, including juvenile Atlanticridley (E), juvenile loggerhead (T), and juvenile and adult green sea turtles (T), regularly use the GreatSouth Bay. Diamondback terrapin reside among the salt marsh islands in the bay, and utilize sandy areasalong the south shore for egg-laying.Great South Bay-West has over 10,818 acres of submerged rooted aquatic vegetation beds, accountingfor approximately 33% of the entire habitat area. These beds are dominated primarily by eelgrass withsome wigeon grass (Ruppia maritima). Submerged aquatic vegetation beds provide spawning andforaging habitat for an array of mollusks, crustaceans, juvenile fish, as well as diving ducks. Thedistribution and abundance of benthic species in the bay's eelgrass community are likely controlled by anumber of factors that include eelgrass stem density, water temperature and salinity, sediment type,predation, food supply, and human harvest.IMPACT ASSESSMENT:Any activities that would degrade water quality, increase turbidity, increase sedimentation, or alter flows,temperature, or water depths would affect the biological productivity of this area. All species would beadversely affected by water pollution, such as chemical contamination (including food chain effectsresulting from bioaccumulation), oil spills, excessive turbidity or sediment loading, non-point source runoff, waste disposal (including vessel wastes), and stormwater runoff. Efforts should be made to improvewater quality in the bay, including the reduction or elimination of discharges from vessels and uplandsources, effective oil and toxic chemical spill prevention and control programs, upgrading of wastewatertreatment plants, enactment of pet waste ordinances to reduce coliform contributions to the bay, and theimplementation of erosion control and stormwater pollution prevention best management practices.Vegetated upland buffer zones (e.g. wetlands, dunes, and forested areas) should be protected orPage 5 of 9

established to reduce non-point source pollution and sedimentation from upland sources.Alteration of tidal patterns in Great South Bay-West, by modification of inlet configurations or othermeans (e.g., sediment removal by dredging, channelization, bulkheading), would have negative impactson the biotic communities present. No new navigation channels should be excavated within the area.Dredging to maintain existing boat channels in the bay should be scheduled in between September 15 andDecember 15 to minimize adverse effects on aquatic organisms. Unregulated dredged materialplacement in this area would be detrimental to the habitat, but such activities may be designed tomaintain or improve the habitat for certain species of wildlife.Construction of shoreline structures, such as docks, piers, bulkheads, or revetments, in areas notpreviously disturbed by development (e.g., natural salt marsh, tidal flats, or shallows), would result in theloss of productive areas which support the fish and wildlife resources of Great South Bay -West.Elimination of salt marsh and intertidal areas, through loss of intertidal connection, ditching, excavation,or filling, would result in a direct loss of a valuable habitat. Restoration of previously connected portionsof the habitat, including the removal of structures (e.g. bulkheads, groins, jetties) which disrupt naturalsedimentation and deposition patterns and physically alter the habitat may be beneficial. Construction ofnew and maintenance of existing erosion control structures which interfere with natural coastal processesshould be carefully evaluated for need and where possible, non-structural solutions should be utilized.Unrestricted use of motorized vessels, including personal watercraft, in shallow waters can have adverseeffects on the benthic community, and on fish and wildlife populations through resuspension of seafloorsediments and through shoreline erosion which may reduce water clarity and increase sedimentation.Use of motorized vessels should be controlled (e.g., no wake zone, speed zones, zones of exclusion) inand adjacent to shallow waters and adjacent wetlands. Docks, piers, catwalks, or other structures may bedetrimental to submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) beds through direct or indirect effects from shading,mooring chain scarring, and other associated human uses. Where environmental parameters areappropriate, opportunities for restoration of SAV beds may exist. Any restoration of SAV beds shouldutilize the best available science and implement proper monitoring protocols.Thermal discharges, depending on time of year, may have variable effects on use of the area by marinespecies, such as sea turtles and overwintering waterfowl. Installation and operation of water intakescould have significant impact on juvenile (and adult, in some cases) fish concentrations, throughimpairment or entrainment. Activities that would enhance migratory, spawning, or nursery fish habitat,particularly where an area is essential to a species’ life cycle or helps to restore a historic speciespopulation would be beneficial. Where appropriate, hydrological modifications (e.g. dams, dikes,channelization, bulkheading, sedimentation, etc.) should be mitigated or removed, including the rejoiningof formerly connected tributaries, and the removal of obstructions or improvements to fish passage.Nesting birds inhabiting the islands, marshes and barrier beaches of Great South Bay -West are highlyvulnerable to disturbance by humans from March 15 through August 15. Significant pedestrian traffic orrecreational use (e.g., boat and personal watercraft landing, off-road vehicle use, picnicking) of the marshislands could easily eliminate the use of this site as a breeding area and should be minimized during thisperiod. Predation of chicks and destruction of eggs or nests by unleashed pets (e.g., dogs, cats) andnatural predators may also occur, and predator control should be implemented where feasible. Fencingand/or annual posting of the bird nesting area should be provided to help protect the nesting bird species.Activities to protect or restore wetland habitat in Great South Bay -West, consistent with bestPage 6 of 9

management practices, (including the restoration of historic tidal regime, planting of native vegetation,control of invasive species, etc.) may enhance habitat values for fish and wildlife species.HABITAT IMPAIRMENT TEST:A habitat impairment test must be applied to any activity that is subject to consistency review underfederal and State laws, or under applicable local laws contained in an approved local waterfrontrevitalization program. If the proposed action is subject to consistency review, then the habitatprotection policy applies, whether the proposed action is to occur within or outside the designated area.The specific habitat impairment test is as follows.In order to protect and preserve a significant habitat, land and water uses or developmentshall not be undertaken if such actions would:! destroy the habitat; or,! significantly impair the viability of a habitat.Habitat destruction is defined as the loss of fish or wildlife use through direct physical alteration,disturbance, or pollution of a designated area or through the indirect effects of these actions on adesignated area. Habitat destruction may be indicated by changes in vegetation, substrate, or hydrology,or increases in runoff, erosion, sedimentation, or pollutants.Significant impairment is defined as reduction in vital resources (e.g., food, shelter, living space) orchange in environmental conditions (e.g., temperature, substrate, salinity) beyond the tolerance range ofan organism. Indicators of a significantly impaired habitat focus on ecological alterations and mayinclude but are not limited to reduced carrying capacity, changes in community structure (food chainrelationships, species diversity), reduced productivity and/or increased incidence of disease andmortality.The tolerance range of an organism is not defined as the physiological range of conditions beyond whicha species will not survive at all, but as the ecological range of conditions that supports the speciespopulation or has the potential to support a restored population, where practical. Either the loss ofindividuals through an increase in emigration or an increase in death rate indicates that the tolerancerange of an organism has been exceeded. An abrupt increase in death rate may occur as anenvironmental factor falls beyond a tolerance limit (a range has both upper and lower limits). Manyenvironmental factors, however, do not have a sharply defined tolerance limit, but produce increasingemigration or death rates with increasing departure from conditions that are optimal for the species.The range of parameters which should be considered in applying the habitat impairment test include butare not limited to the following:1.physical parameters such as living space, circulation, flushing rates, tidal amplitude, turbidity,water temperature, depth (including loss of littoral zone), morphology, substrate type, vegetation,structure, erosion and sedimentation rates;2.biological parameters such as community structure, food chain relationships, species diversity,Page 7 of 9

predator/prey relationships, population size, mortality rates, reproductive rates, meristic features,behavioral patterns and migratory patterns; and,3.chemical parameters such as dissolved oxygen, carbon dioxide, acidity, dissolved solids,nutrients, organics, salinity, and pollutants (heavy metals, toxics and hazardous materials).Although not comprehensive, examples of generic activities and impacts which could destroy or significantlyimpair the habitat are listed in the Impact Assessment section to assist in applying the habitat impairment testto a proposed activity.Page 8 of 9

KNOWLEDGEABLE CONTACTS:New York State Department of StateDivision of Coastal ResourcesHabitat Unit99 Washington AvenueAlbany, NY 12231Phone: (518) 474-6000NYSDEC - Region 1State University of New York, Building 40Stony Brook, NY 11790Phone: (631) 444-0204NYSDECBureau of Marine Resources205 N. Belle Meade Road, Suite # 1East Setauket, NY 11733Phone: (631) 444-0430New York Natural Heritage Program625 Broadway, 5th floorAlbany, NY 12233Phone: (518) 402-8935Town of BabylonDepartment of Environmental Control281 Phelps LaneN. Babylon, NY 11703(631) 422-7640Town of IslipPlanning Department655 Main StreetIslip, NY 11751Phone: (631) 224-5450Page 9 of 9

Great South Bay-West is also home to several raptor species. In Great South Bay-West, an estimated annual average of 12 breeding pairs of osprey (SC) were observed from 1998 to 2003 on the salt marsh islands. One pair of peregrine falcon (E) was observed in Great South Bay-West on Captree Island in 2004, but nesting was not confirmed.