Canaan Lake project
Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone and Legis. Rob Calarco announce funding for phase two of the Canaan Lake restoration project.

Courtesy photo

Canaan Lake project



Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone signed legislation to fund phase two of the Canaan Lake restoration project late last week. The $1.5 million in funding will be used to eradicate invasive weeds and remove sediment in an effort to restore the lake’s original recreational use.

“Canaan Lake was once a site that our residents and visitors were able to enjoy numerous outdoor activities, including swimming, fishing and boating,” said Bellone at the press conference. “Preserving the quality of water across the county is a top priority, and we will continue to make the necessary investments to improve our water for generations to come.”

Bellone joined residents and Legis. Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue) at the lake on Thursday, July 26, to sign the legislation funding the second phase of the project. Phase one began last year with the installation of a culvert under Traction Boulevard, and during the spring of 2018 the lake was drained of approximately 5 feet of water in an effort to kill off the invasive plant life that had been polluting the lake for decades. The second phase will take place once the lakebed is dried out.

“This critical funding will allow the county to take the next step in restoring the natural habitat of Canaan Lake by removing the muck and invasive plants that have built up over time,” explained Calarco, who is accredited with seeing the project through. “Watching the project unfold, from the draining of the lake in the spring to seeing how it must have looked hundreds of years ago before the stream was originally dammed, and ultimately being restored to a clear and clean lake as it was enjoyed for generations, is truly the rewarding part of being involved in government.”

According to the county, over the past several decades, the highly invasive cabomba weed and watermilfoil crowded out the lake’s native plant species, which has severely hampered the natural habitat and recreational uses of the lake. In an effort to restore the lake, the Canaan Lake Restoration Project was created. Due to significant operational issues, dredging of the lake was not a possibility and the county decided to go in a different direction.  

Phase two will involve scraping the bottom of the lakebed and removing about 30,000 cubic yards of sediment in two phases, to be disposed of at the Brookhaven Landfill.

In addition, the next phase will remove the remaining approximately 20,000 cubic yards of contaminated material. Suffolk County Department of Public Works will perform soil tests and work with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to determine whether the contaminated materials could enter the Brookhaven Landfill or if the materials must be shipped off-island to a hazardous material site. 

“This is all about cleaning up the mess that was left behind,” added Bellone. “We are committed to restoring this lake.”

The project could take up to two years to complete.