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The public is invited to discuss clean water initiatives, take an ecology walk, tour a shellfish hatchery and much more at Cornell Cooperative Extension and Peconic Estuary Program’s “Back to the Bays Stewardship Day” Saturday, April 18. The free, family-friendly event will take place at the Suffolk County Marine Environmental Learning Center at 3690 Cedar Beach Road in Southold.

From 10 a.m. to noon, PEP will host a Citizens Advisory Committee meeting. Residents are encouraged to attend the quarterly meetings, where topics like the promotion of clean water and healthy bays are discussed, said Christie Pfoertner, a PEP education and outreach assistant.

Directly following the meeting, PEP will host a beach cleanup and ecology walk at Cedar Beach from noon to 1 p.m.

“The beach cleanup is more of an ecological walk,” Pfoertner said. “We will pick up trash along the way. This beach typically isn’t too bad in [terms of] garbage pollution.”

From noon to 3 p.m., participants will also have the chance to learn more about CCE’s Marine Program, which was founded in 1985. Topics include growing your own shellfish through Cornell’s SPAT program, getting involved in efforts to help restore bay scallop populations and learning about shark biology, behavior and their important role in the marine ecosystem, according to a press release. An interactive shark lecture will be given at 1: 30 p.m. and tours of CCE’s shellfish hatchery and its newly spawned animals will take place at 1 and 2 p.m.

The Peconic Estuary was designated an “Estuary of National Significance” in 1993 by the Environmental Protection Agency. PEP was established to “develop and implement a watershed-based comprehensive management plan,” according to a release.

Pfoertner said PEP will hold a “major cleanup day on the Peconic River” Tuesday, May 5, at noon. Participants are asked to meet at Peconic Paddlers, located at 89 Peconic Ave. in Riverhead.

To guarantee participation in April 18’s event, register in advance by contacting Darci at 631-727-7850 or [email protected]. To learn more about CCE’s marine program and its “Back to the Bays” initiative, visit its website.