“The bay houses were decimated,” Harris said. “They were wiped off the face of the island. This maritime history could be lost forever.”
There is, however, hope, Harris said, noting that nature –– and humans –– are resilient. The marsh grasses will grow back. The birds and fish will return to their homes. And bay houses can be rebuilt, if their owners choose to do so.
No matter what, Harris said, SPLASH will be there to continue doing what it has done since 1990 –– pick up the debris. Anyone interested in donating to or volunteering for the group can call (516) 378-4770, or go to operationsplash.org.
Realizing that the journey to recovery is a multifaceted story with no end in sight, the Heralds are chronicling all aspects of the rebuilding effort in a series of weekly articles with a common theme, South Shore Rising.
Op-SPLASH set for March 16
Operation SPLASH (Stop Polluting Littering and Save Harbors) will hold its 23rd annual “Op-SPLASH” cleanup in the South Shore’s wetlands on Saturday, March 16, from 9 a.m. to noon. The rain date is March 17.
Op-SPLASH volunteers head out in boats and scatter across the small islands that line the coast, collecting trash. Last year, 350 volunteers filled a 42-foot-long barge with trash six feet deep — 32,000 pounds of garbage in all. A bathtub and a broken Jet Ski were among the larger items found.
For this year’s cleanup, volunteers will meet at the Freeport Museum, at 202 Woodcleft Ave. Waterproof boots and work gloves are strongly suggested; sneakers will not be allowed. Children must be at least 12 years old to participate, and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.