Letter: Keep inlet open for Bay health

Breaches at the Moriches Inlet and Smith Point

Breaches at the Moriches Inlet and Smith Point County Park. (Credit: )

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Regarding the new inlet in the Great South Bay ["Breach: To fill, or not to fill?" Letters, Feb. 15]: For two decades, I have investigated the coastal waters of Long Island with a focus on processes that promote harmful algal blooms and that affect coastal resources such as bivalves and eelgrass. During this time, the harmful algal blooms have intensified, and bivalves and eelgrass beds have become scarce.

Across Long Island, harmful algal blooms occur in regions that are poorly flushed and are subject to intense nitrogen loading. The new inlet in the Great South Bay, therefore, has created an opportunity to lessen the impact on this system.

The enhanced tidal exchange will be particularly important during summer months, when water quality is worst. I expect that, during summer, the inlet will introduce cool, clear, low-nitrogen and less-acidic water, and lessen the stress on bivalves and eelgrass.

It has long been said that dilution is the solution to pollution. The creation of the inlet offers a unique opportunity for nature to dilute nitrogen pollution in the Great South Bay and make it great once again.

Christopher J. Gobler, Stony Brook

Editor's note: The writer is a professor at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University.

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