Yaphank Taxpayers & Civic Association, Inc.
Faithfully Serving the Hamlet of Yaphank Since 1963
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Upper & Lower Yaphank Lakes
(click to enlarge photo show)

Aquatic Invasive Species

Our lakes have been seriously threatened by two invasive plant species, Variable Leaf Milfoil and Cabomba. These are highly invasive and have been increasing in population steadily since their introduction to the lakes a decade ago.

The Variable Leaf Milfoil is the major problem in the lower lake, and the Cabomba is the major problem in the upper lake. These invasive species have become so concentrated that they have choked out native plants and marine life, inhibiting life in the river.

Myriophyllum heterophyllum
(Variable watermilfoil)

Cabomba caroliniana


Video:  Saving the Carman's River

Produced by the Long Island Pine Barrens Society
Used with permission


Film is 30 minutes long
Requires Windows Media Player or
similar software installed on your computer

Original DVD has been reformatted for web viewing.
© 2010 L.I. Pine Barrens Society

An Overview of Upper & Lower Lakes

Lower Lake is 25-acres and has a maximum depth of 7 feet. Upper Lake is 19-acres and has a maximum depth of 6 feet. Both of these lakes are a part of the Carmans River system and are located in Yaphank.

As a whole, the Carmans River system is ten miles long. It starts as a freshwater river from the headwaters in Cathedral Pines County Park and continues south for 8 miles through Upper and Lower Yaphank Lakes, South Haven Pond, then flows for approximately two miles of tidal river from Sunrise Highway into Bellport Bay at the eastern portion of Great South Bay. There are four dams along the upper sections of the river located at Upper Lake, Lower Lake, Southaven Park, and Sunrise Highway.

The Carmans River is one of only 4 relatively large, undisturbed, riverine ecosystems on Long Island. Despite the presence of small dams on the river, it remains an outstanding fish and wildlife habitat in the region. All of the river encompassed by the habitat has been designated by New York State as either a "Scenic River" or a "Recreational River" (under Article 15, Title 27 of the Environmental Conservation Law) to encourage preservation and restoration of its natural scenic and recreational qualities.

Fish, Wildlife, & Plants: Both lakes provide a habitat important to a diversity of fish and wildlife species throughout the year. Our lakes provide suitable nesting habitat for osprey, various breeds of hawk, marsh wren, Great Blue Heron, owls, songbirds, ducks, mallards, trumpeter swans, geese and much more. 

Other wildlife species that use the area include a variety of mammals, such as white tailed deer, eastern cottontail rabbit, gray squirrel, raccoon, opossum, red fox, woodchuck, mink, and muskrat. Our lakes also provide habitat for various reptiles and amphibians including snapping turtles. The lakes support a good population of largemouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, black crappie, yellow perch, brown bullhead sunfish, and several other warm-water fish species. The DEC provides additional fishing opportunities during the cooler months of the year by stocking brown trout and
rainbow trout

Vegetation along our freshwater section includes pine-oak forest, Pepperidge trees, swamp maples and other deciduous forested wetlands. Shrubs such as sweet pepperbush, chokeberry, rose and blueberry thrive along the lake shores. Several species of rare plants grow in our freshwater region of the Carmans River. Turtlehead, jack-in-the-pulpit, lady’s slippers and red cardinal flower as well as the crested fern. These plants are extremely sensitive to pollution.

Our Lakes Need Life-Support

The Yaphank Taxpayers & Civic Association, Inc. is deeply concerned about the quality and integrity of our lakes. We have been diligently working to restore our lakes to their former beauty.

So what can you do?   Attend ALL public meetings in which plans to restore our lakes will be presented.   It is critical that you express your concerns to the meeting organizers and governmental officials.

Through careful planning we can ensure that our lakes flourish not only for our residents but for the wildlife that make this their habitat. Concern for our lakes and the Carmans River as a whole, runs deep. The voices of concerned citizens in attendance will ensure that our lakes continue to be nourished. The care for the Upper & Lower Lakes are entrusted to no one single entity, they are entrusted to us ALL!

Preservation Efforts

Aquatic weeds have impacted recreation and wildlife at Upper and Lower Lakes in Yaphank for years. In December 2007 the Town of Brookhaven authorized the Carmans River Protection Working Group. The first meeting occurred in January 2008. The directive of this group was to assist the Town of Brookhaven and the County of Suffolk in assessing the aquatic invasive plant species in Yaphank’s Upper and Lower Lakes. The Working Group “was established for the purpose of reviewing and evaluating all options to eradicate and manage the aquatic invasive plant species present in the Upper and Lower Lake of the Carmans River and to further develop a set of prioritized recommendations for submission to jurisdictional authorities for implementation that said jurisdictional authorities may deem to be appropriate.” The group met numerous times from 2008 through 2010. At the meetings they evaluated data presented by experts on lake management, pesticide applications, dam removal, fish protection, history of the lakes and more.

In September 2009, Suffolk County appointed Nelson, Pope & Voorhis (NP&V) as the consultant for the project. The Working Group then also became the Steering Committee for NP&V and they crafted a comprehensive Scoping Document to ensure stakeholder input into this important study.

NP&V held several meetings with the steering committee. They reviewed historical data, collected and updated existing conditions for each lake and assessed options to manage nuisance plant species in these water bodies.  Conceptual fish passage designs for Upper & Lower Lake Dams were also prepared. On September 14, 2010, NP&V presented their recommendations to the Working Group and to the public at presentation in Brookhaven Town Hall

On October 4, 2010 the Carmans River Protection Working Group convened to review the consultant’s findings and recommendations. The Working Group crafted their own recommendations which can be viewed at: Final Recommendations by the Carmans River Protection Working Group.

In April 2011 NP&V released their “Feasibility Study”.  This project continues to progress in accordance with the recommendations outlined in the study.

Meeting Minutes

Carmans River Work Group
Chair, Adrienne Esposito

Steering Committee
Nelson, Pope & Voorhis

Work Group Minutes
February 6, 2012

Public Meeting
September 14, 2010

Progress of lakes' clean-up
October 21, 2011

Public Meeting
April  21, 2010

Work Group Minutes
May 26, 2011

Public Meeting
March 30, 2010

Work Group Minutes
March 18, 2009

Public Start-up Meeting
September 16, 2009

Work Group Minutes
September 22, 2008

Work Group Minutes
April 9, 2008

Work Group Minutes
March 6, 2008

Work Group Minutes
February 13, 2008

Work Group Minutes
January 26, 2008

Work Group Minutes Start-Up
January  10, 2008



Restoration project for Yaphank lakes to begin this year
June 23, 2011Northshore SunBy Jennifer Gustavson


Yaphank & Canaan Lakes: Invasive Species Clean Up
June 22, 2011 •  LIPolitics.com


Letter to the Editor: Not happy about Yaphank lakes story
December 13, 2010Northshore Sun By Chad Trusnovec, President YTCA


Carmans River group votes in favor of dredging Yaphank lakes
December 6, 2010Northshore SunBy Jennifer Gustavson


AY, CABOMBA! Two invasive aquatic plants draw attention…
November 3, 2008Newsday • By Jennifer Smith


Suffolk County targets invasive aquatic plants in Yaphank
November 2, 2008 Newsday By Jennifer Smith


Task force looks at invasive species spread
July 11, 2008 Times Review • By Peggy Spellman Hoey 


Coalition Fights To Save Yaphank Lakes
January 23, 2008 Suffolk Life By Barbara LaMonica


DEC establishes office to fight invasive species statewide
December 26, 2007 • Newsday • By Michael Virtanen


Working Group Formed … to Eradicate Invasive Species
December 4, 2007 • Councilwoman Newsletter • By Connie Kepert


Law weeds out unwanted weeds
June 26, 2007 • Newsday • By Jennifer Smith


Getting all choked up on LI
August 18, 2006 • Newsday • By Erik German


Bloomin' nightmare: Concern about the invasive...
July 28, 2005 • Newsday • By Erik German

Correspondence & Other Interesting Information


Town Board Resolution 2011-943: Authorization to Disburse Funding from the Caithness Community Benefit Fund to the Yaphank Taxpayers & Civic Association, Inc. - November 10, 2011  


Suffolk County Intro. Resolution 1521-2011: June 7, 2011 Amending Resolution 1378-2007 and appropriating funds for aquatic invasive species eradication


2011 - Councilwoman Connie Kepert secures $2 million fund from The Meadows at Yaphank to remediate the invasive species in Yaphank Lakes.


E-Mail to Carmans River Protection Working Group from member Steven Trusnovec. Jan. 04, 2011

   Letter from The Nature Conservancy – Alpa Pandya. December 21,2010


Letter from Matthew Watkinson, Attorney representing Art Flick Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Peconic Baykeeper. November 23, 2010


Art Flick Trout Unlimited: Web Posts


Science Drive of Carmans River Headwaters - By Joseph Gabrinowitz For the Earth Science Research Project at Stony Brook University.


L.I. Botanical Society Newsletter:  Identifying the Invaders - Understanding the ‘Do Not Sell’ List of Non-native Plants by Marilyn Jordan, Ph.D. Senior Conservation Scientist The Nature Conservancy on Long Island


Town Board Resolution 1128-07: Establishment of a Carmans River Protection Working Group - December 4, 2007 

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