East End Eco-Ventures

Join us to explore the east end of Long Island through nature-based outdoor adventures and educational activities.

Join Us on an Upcoming Nature Paddle!


Goose Creek Nature Paddle
Saturday  August 1, 2015
9 am – 11 am
Join wildlife biologist Mike Bottini on a nature paddle through the Goose Creek maze in Three Mile Harbor to learn about the two keystone species of the salt marsh – the fiddler crab and the ribbed mussel – and they role that they play in the salt marsh ecosystem. Kayak and SUP rentals available.
Meet on the south (harbor) side of Maidstone Park, Springs.

Georgica Pond Paddle
Saturday  September 12, 2015
9 am – 11 am
2014 was not a good year for the Monarch butterfly; will 2015 be better? Join wildlife biologist Mike Bottini on a nature paddle on Georgica Pond to look for Monarch butterflies during the peak of their migration south.
Kayak and SUP rentals available.
Meet at the Rte. 27 (Montauk Highway) rest area east of the Wainscott Post Office.


River Otters on Long Island

River otter at Mashomack, Shelter Island

A river otter photographed with a wildlife camera at Mashomack Preserve, Shelter Island, NY as part of the Long Island River Otter Project.

Saturday, March 14, 9-11 AM 

at the Nature Conservancy’s Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island

Otters can be found at Mashomack! Join Mike Bottini, wildlife biologist, for a talk and short field trip to learn about the natural history of the river otter, its history on Long Island and in NY and the current research efforts on behalf of this fascinating mammal.

For more information on the Long Island River Otter Project, visit Mike Bottini’s website here. 

otter entrance

Mike Bottini measures the entrance hole to a nesting den used by a river otter in Southold, NY.

River Otters on Long Island

Saturday, January 31, 2015 @ 7:00PM

South Fork Natural History Museum (SOFO)

377 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike

River Otters are slowly making a comeback on Long Island. Join Mike Bottini for a talk about the natural history of this fascinating creature, its history on Long Island and in New York State, how to survey areas for this elusive animal, and current research efforts on behalf of the river otter.

River otter at Mashomack, Shelter Island

River otter at Mashomack, Shelter Island – Mike Bottini photo

Reservations are necessary through SOFO. Please call (631) 537-9735. Members of SOFO admitted free. Non-members charged $7 per adult, $5 per child under 12 years.

Remote Camera Rewards


The two river otters traveling together in the Mill Neck, NY area shown above appear to be checking out a man-made hole in the ground. Evidence of river otters at several latrine sites in this area has been documented, but this was one of the first photos of otters captured at this particular site since the camera was installed last February. This camera site represents one of the routes these otters use to get around a dam, and in the process, forcing them to cross a road in one of the waterways they travel and hunt.

River Otter Returns to Eastern Long Island

River Otter at Mashomack Preserve

The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) was historically found in most of Long Island’s waterways including the East End’s fresh and saltwater creeks and ponds, and its estuaries. Although the species suffered a dramatic population decline in North America during the 1800s and was believed to be locally extirpated from Long Island, recent research initiated by Mike Bottini has documented that the river otter is slowly making a comeback here, with most of the Long Island population centered on the north shore of Nassau County and northwestern Suffolk. At least one otter currently calls the East End its home with an established territory spanning Shelter Island and part of Southold. Pictured above, this river otter was photographed using a remote camera at one of several latrine sites at Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island. River otters are top-of-the-food-chain predators and non-migratory, therefore playing an important role as indicators of water quality and the health of our local wetland ecosystems. For more information about the Long Island River Otter Project, please visit Mike Bottini’s website.

Evidence of River Otter on the East End

Long Island River Otter Scat

The pile of scat pictured above was left by a river otter at a latrine site in Arshamomaque Preserve in Southold.  River otter scat is generally easy to distinguish from the scat of other species that may share some of its territory (raccoon, red fox, muskrat, beaver, etc.) as it contains mostly fish bones, fish scales and crab shells and has a distinct fish-like scent. Current research suggests that this single river otter spends its time traveling between the north and south fork of Long Island and Shelter Island.