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Trustees Harpooned With $7,500 Whale Haul Bill

The East Hampton Town Trustees balked at a bill they received to remove a dead whale. Would you do the same?

The cost to remove the dead whale from a Napeague beach was a whopping $7,500.

While it may surprise you, it seems to have really surprised the East Hampton Town Trustees. According to an article in The East Hampton Star on Thursday, the trustees received the bill from the Town of East Hampton, even though the trustees weren't in on the discussion about how to remove it.

The dead finback whale washed up on Jan. 13, where it washed up until it could be hauled a little further up on the dunes and the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation could perform a necropsy the following day.

Diane McNally, the clerk of the trustees, said the governing body of the beaches were never consulted, The Star reported:

“While I do appreciate their acknowledging that it was a trustee beach, no one asked us about cost or anything about removing the whale or how to go about it,” she said.

To read the entire story in The East Hampton Star, click here.

We want to know what you think of the rift this dead whale caused and the amount of money it cost to haul it away. Tell us in the comments below.

Len Bernard February 15, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Just to sharpen some of the points in the Star article - The heavy equipment use in the removal of the whale was supervised by Highway Superintendent Steve Lynch. Chief Harbormaster Ed Micels (who works closely with the Trustees on many matters) said there was no one who had the equipment on the beach that day to remove th whale for free. Special large scale equipment was needed to be brought in. Chief Michels told me and the Star he spoke with a number of the Trustees the entire day of the removal and kept them apprised of what the Riverhead Foundation (who had the sole authority to decide on how to handle the whale) was doing and planned to do. The whale was definitely on the Trustee part of the beach. After Steve Lynch applied his expertise on equipment to what was needed to remove the whale and the beach was cleared there was bill for $7,500 from the company that removed it. Steve Lynch sent me a copy of the bill because he was not paying out of the Highway Budget and the Supervisor thought it fair the Trustees pay for it from their non-town cash special fund that they maintain - this fund is separate from the town's budget. I agreed with this conclusion and very professionally sent an e-mail to the Trustees with the invoice attached. In a response the Trustee Clerk said she would get back to me -which she has yet to do. I only know what I read - that raises questions about professionalism to me. I will await the Trustees decision and move on from that point.
Len Bernard February 15, 2013 at 04:55 PM
.....With respect to the size of the Trustee share of the Town budget I can say that the direct portion designated to the Trustees is $250,000. Although it is true the Town derives some revenue from fees like non-resident beach parking and shellfish permits, it also spends over $500,000 per year on the safety and protection of beaches. Except for Montauk beaches all others are Trustee beaches. The Town also has a Harbor and Docks budget of over $700,000 much of which goes to the patrolling and enforcement in and around Trustee waters. The Buildings and Grounds budget of $2.5 million designates a substantial portion to the cleaning of Trustee beach parking lots, cleaning Trustee beaches, hauling garbage at Trustee beaches, and maintenaning all rest rooms at Trustee beaches. We are talking about hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars beyond the $250,000 specifically designated to Trustee use. Highway Department funds are used to pave and repair parking lots at Trustee beaches. Any arugument that the Trustees receive only a small amount of money from the Town budget is specious because as one can see the Town supports the Trustees (happily and gratefully) to the tune of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of tax dollars each year with a small percentage coming back in fees collected for Trustee property. Asking the Trustees to pay for the removal of one whale using some of the revenue they collect but do not turn over to the Town does not seem like much to ask.
Deborah Klughers February 15, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Len, The Riverhead Foundation does not have sole authority to decide on how to handle this type of situation.
MARTIN DREW February 15, 2013 at 05:19 PM
$7500.00 for a days work ....NOT APPROVED !!! If the Riverhead Foundation has SOLE AUTHORITY let them pick up the tab ...Im with the Trrustees on this one; a approval or alternative $olution was indeed in order . Lets see the invoice ; Taylor needs to get a copy ..and show us the breakdown ..& who was the "Specialized contractor"? and what equioment was used & where was the whale disposed of? Did that have a cost as well ? Something definitely smells fishy ! $7500.00 !! What about dragging it out to sea for shark food ...nature has a way of self maintaining and disposal>>>>> $7500.00 wasted !!! Im sure the Trustees have better use for that kind of ca$h. Poor decision making and If trustees were not in on the cost ; send the bill to Riverhead Foundation ...Taylor what says you?
MARTIN DREW February 15, 2013 at 05:22 PM
Pending Approval - now the patch is censoring our comments PRIOR to approval ! this country is going down the tubes ...what next ?
MARTIN DREW February 15, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Len is Deborah correct? What say you Mr. Bernard.. is that he case?
MARTIN DREW February 15, 2013 at 05:30 PM
...is that the case ? sorry for the typos..my bad ..
ViralGrain February 15, 2013 at 06:16 PM
We could of harvested it for the oil and made that much. Might've gotten about 15 barrels of oil from it. In 1866 it costed $1.28 1/2 gallon. Given the factors of supply and demand and the rate of inflation I'm sure the price would be much more now. Someone would of wanted the fin which goes for thousands by its self. The price we pay for living in a disposable economy. I don't think that anything should of gone to waste and the whale die in vain. I'm still convinced that there was some sort cover-up as to how this whale wound up on the beach and why it was necessary to murder I mean euthanize the baby one.
CUL8R February 15, 2013 at 07:03 PM
It was removed and incinerated.
CUL8R February 15, 2013 at 07:15 PM
Wondering if the town wants the Trustees to foot the bill for the removal of the whale that was ultimately found on a TRUSTEE beach...why were they not involved in any of that decision making? @ViralGrain - the large whale had been determined to have been dead for 2 weeks, I highly doubt it died in vain - and the research center did not have available room for the very sickly smaller whale. Its nature....wild animals get sick and die or get injured and die, its how the world works. Better to be euthanized than to suffer on a beach!
tito February 15, 2013 at 09:09 PM
maybe the trustees should have towed it out to sea and let it float down to a mtk beach. then the town would have to pay for it. you know, like kicking the can down the ....beach
ViralGrain February 15, 2013 at 10:31 PM
If thats what you have convinced your self and believing to help you sleep at night well then your a better person then I am. It died in vain by being incinerated when it could have been used if for nothing else then for fish food and not incinerated adding more air pollution. One has a whale that is washed up on shore been incinerated before in this town? As for the baby well I don't doubt that it may have been beyond rehabilitation which is the real reason that it was euthanized, not because there was no place to rehabilitate it. Not even 5 miles from where that well washed up at the Fishfarm there are tanks that are large enough to of housed the baby whale at least intermediately till more appropriate facilities were found or built. Didn't it show some signs that was possibly subjected to passive sonar? Like hemorrhaging! This is one big hush job. Whales just don't bump their heads on boats and get rendered unconscious and drown. Baby whales do not just wonder off from the rest of their group nor does the rest of the group separate from the baby whale. That baby whale was very far from its natural habitat. Two different species of whales with one common thing between them. Both had navigational problems! That nonsense about there being worms and parasites in the intestines of the baby whale is hogwash. All whales have such parasites in their digestives track. Ask the Navy to fit the bill. Maybe it was a conflict of interest to have a federally funded Org. give the report.
ViralGrain February 15, 2013 at 10:33 PM
Sorry for the typos . My voice recognition is acting up.
CUL8R February 15, 2013 at 10:50 PM
@ViralGrain - I'm not opposed having the whale towed out to sea, in fact that would have been probably a much better decision & perhaps much more cost effective.The fish farm cannot house & rehab a whale, yes they have tanks but they are far from sufficient for a whale of any size. Copied from The East Hampton Star: After completing a necropsy on the pygmy sperm whale on Tuesday, Mr. DiGiovanni said that preliminary findings uncovered bleeding ulcers in its stomach, an excessive nematode infestation (roundworms), and peritonitis, a bacterial or fungal infection of the inner abdominal wall. “Any one of these issues is a severe condition,” - I don't see anything mentioned about hemorrhaging...not sure where you came up with that?! Could it be the currents that surround Long Island that bring these creatures here? We've had 5 bodies, "montauk monsters", marine life all wash up on our shores...coincedence...not likely...water currents - much more probable! Why is a ship striking the whale so hard to believe? Check out this website....http://iwc.int/ship-strikes
Len Bernard February 16, 2013 at 12:18 AM
According to Harbormaster Ed Michels the foundation calls the shots - he stated that to me and the EH STAR
ViralGrain February 16, 2013 at 12:24 AM
From Patch--The male whale — a yearling, less than 2 years old — was suffering from severe peritonitis, or inflammation of its intestines. Durham found severe ulceration in its gastrointestinal tract and parasites in the whale's stomach chambers, in addition to "a lot of blood" from hemorrhaging, likely from the large ulcerations. From Newsday- Right now the whale is being safeguarded and we're making arrangements to remove it," Roman said. Durham said there's "no outward appearances of what may have caused the animal's death," and a necropsy will be performed Monday. Then reports started to contradict the initial reports that I heard on the beach and read by reporters once the circus began. The Navy has been sued before buy environmentalists. I'm sure currents played a roll but not as big a roll as the damage control effort to get rid of any evidence and give us a story the majority would likely believe so we can move on.
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) February 16, 2013 at 01:18 AM
I think you are confusing the two whales that washed up on the same day.
ViralGrain February 16, 2013 at 02:15 AM
How so? I am trying to show that there was mention on hemorrhaging on the yearly, and that there were reports as that there were no appearances on the larger whale that may have indicated its death which is contradictory to later reports. I'm not disputing that there was not a head wound as described. I'm just curious on to how it got there and when. But we will never know because no independent biologists were able to take a look at it and it was incinerated. Have we ever incinerated anything in this time other than leaves? Hemorrhaging was never mentioned in later reports but was in the initial reports. Why is that? If the large whale was dead for 2 weeks as stated then any discoloration, laceration or bruising would be obvious. Don't think the gov. doesn't try to sensor and control information? We can't even get a school bus official to be forthcoming. So what do you think would be the response if low frequency sonar was to blame?
CUL8R February 16, 2013 at 02:40 AM
Ok Patch does make mention of Hemorrhaging but as it also says the hemorrhaging is likely from the large ulcerations. In the same article it does mention that once the large whale was turned over there was extensive bruising and obvious trauma on dorsal & lateral fins...what am I missing? I think this was just an unfortunate coincidence & not some government cover up. We're getting off topic here...
Deborah Klughers February 16, 2013 at 02:47 AM
I'll say it again, Len. In this stiuation, the Riverhead Foundation did not have sole authority to decide on how to handle the whale.
ViralGrain February 16, 2013 at 03:48 PM
Likely but not know or ever elaborated upon ever again as to why there was hemorrhaging. BTW did you see how they tried to maneuver the large whale? It wasn't very graceful. Your the type that live in a ideal state based on decent principles and beliefs perhaps, and anything contradicting those morals are incomprehensible to good people like your self. What your missing is the harsh reality that these things do happen for liability reasons and unfortunately there is nothing we can do about it other then try to be aware. Try to think outside the box. What was told and what wasn't told to us about this incident paints a clear picture that something is odd about every step of the way as to how this whole fiasco was handled. Who ever ordered that whale carted off the beach and incinerated should be the one who has to pay for it. It would be interesting to follow that burden of command to see where that order actually originated from. I erge follow citizens who give a dam about themselves, society and the environment to check out the Zeitgeist Movement. www.thezeitgeistmovement.com Lets work together in harmony.
CUL8R February 16, 2013 at 04:51 PM
Its a dead whale, how gracefully and delicately do you expect a 40-50 ton whale to be moved?? Trucks and machines were not made to discard whales.I"m having a hard time following exactly where it is you are going with this. 2 whales washed up, one dead for 2 weeks, the other a sick yearly.You are sounding more and more like a paranoid person that can't understand that unfortunate incidents can just occur with out rhyme or reason - why does this have to be cover up? What has happened for liability reasons?! At least we agree on one thing...that whomever ordered the whale to be carted off and incinerated should be the one footing the bill!
CUL8R February 16, 2013 at 05:11 PM
On a side note, it was stated that it is an endangered species and it is ILLEGAL to harvest any part of it.
ViralGrain February 16, 2013 at 07:25 PM
In the same article it does mention that once the large whale was turned over there was extensive bruising and obvious trauma.... So what happens when your 40-50 tons of weight is bearing down on flesh along with heavy equipment not made to discard or flip whales around tugging an pulling away, trying to muscle the whale around? If you still don't see where I am going with it. Why was the military at the beach the next day both in and out of uniform? Is that status quo? Another thing I find interesting was that during the ordeal screen names and attitudes that are no regular's of local Patch discussions just popped up and disappeared soon after who were pushing an agenda that unfolded and now we as a town are holding the bag. Add it all up. It ain't hard to tell. Its a fishy story about a couple of whales. If the thing was dead as long as they said it didn't stink like it should. Ever smell a mouse that has been dead a couple of weeks? Well I would think a 40 ton animal would stink far worse then it did after a couple of weeks.
CUL8R February 17, 2013 at 08:36 PM
I personally had no interest in flocking to the beach to ogle the dead whale, as apparently you did...so I don't know which Military you speak of nor do I know of the stench or lack of that you mention. I see no point in dragging this out in lengthy conversation with you, it is clear that you are a conspiracy theorist...I am not. I think we need to simply respect each others thoughts & opinions and leave this with agreeing to disagree.
ViralGrain February 17, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Because I like to try to think out side the box and take into consideration what is and whats not being told before forming a opinion, I'm a conspiracy theorist? Well keep drinking the Kool Aid buddy. You called me out questioning me and I backed it up with facts. Not looking for any hard feeling, but hope I did a good enough job of connecting the dots to show that likely possibility remains. I didn't mean to pull us off topic, but the question I have is where did the order of incineration of the whale come from? Not the Ollie North that carried out the deed but who first mentioned it as a course of action. THe answer to that question is the answer to the question as to who should pay for it. I didn't vote for it to be handled the way it did. Guess the 2nd question which is more out of my own personal curiosity is, have we ever incinerated whale before in this town and if so when?
CUL8R February 17, 2013 at 10:38 PM
In your comments you seem to think for some reason there is a cover up? For what reason is this? I don't see your specific facts that you are speaking of, only your theories of what may have transpired. In my own opinion it was a tragic coincidence of these 2 whales showing up on the same beach on the same day. Nothing that I have read or heard makes me feel there is a different reason for the 2 washing ashore. As far as the incinerating goes..I don't know either of those answers, (I personally don't recall one ever being incinerated, I do recall years ago one being buried on the beach... but that would be interesting information to know.
CUL8R February 17, 2013 at 10:39 PM
again....which branch of the military was on scene?
lifelong amagansett resident February 18, 2013 at 05:56 PM
These links show how whales may be disposed of illustrate how NOAA and the Riverhead Foundation take the lead locally. http://www.27east.com/news/article.cfm/Hampton-Bays/434696/Dead-Fin-Whale-Washes-Up-On-Hampton-Bays-Beach http://www.27east.com/news/article.cfm/Hampton-Bays/434696/Dead-Fin-Whale-Washes-Up-On-Hampton-Bays-Beach http://news.yahoo.com/look-dead-whale-beach-dilemma-231526497.html
Deborah Klughers February 18, 2013 at 08:26 PM
The articles posted above by lifelong amagansett resident are good, because they provide examples of approved methods to dispose of large, deceased whales, as well as a cooperative effort amongst involved parties. That being said, the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 vested regulatory authority regarding the management of marine mammals in United States waters to NOAA and USFW. The Marine Mammal Commission was also formed under the Act, but their task is related to policy and research. The MMPA clearly states who is authorized to 'take the lead' locally. Authorized is an important word here, because ‘taking the lead’ is very different than having the authority to delegate that lead role to other entities. If there is ‘local’ disagreement on what course of action should be taken, it is the federal government who will decide if and when to step in.

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