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Long IslandEnvironment

Weekly report: Long Island water quality improving

Edward Weckerle of Centereach kayaks the waters of

Edward Weckerle of Centereach kayaks the waters of Stony Brook Harbor as Heather Cirelli of St. James walks along the shore with her eight year old Golden Retriever "Libby" on the afternoon of August 11, 2019. Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

It looks like improving water quality for Long Island bays, harbors, rivers and inlets, based on a weekly sampling of 29 locations.

Of the shore locations sampled, 10 got “good” ratings, meaning clear water, no or low levels of algae and/or bacteria from human or animal waste, and hospitable conditions for fish and shellfish. Eighteen were rated fair, and just one, poor. That's after four poor locations last week, and six, two weeks before that.

That’s according to the Long Island Water Quality Report, a weekly score card issued from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It’s created by Chris Gobler, professor of marine science at Stony Brook University and director of the New York State Center for Clean Water Technology, and his team of more than 20 students and scientists.

”Water quality has improved across Long Island during the past week as peak summer water temperatures have begun to decline and dissolved oxygen levels have improved,” he said.

Water temperatures on the North Shore were in the mid-70s, with water quality mixed — good and fair. South Shore bay temps had dropped to the mid-70s, slightly cooler by ocean inlets, with most sites rated fair, and good conditions around the Fire Island Inlet. East End waters were in the upper 70s, with water quality deemed good.

Still, the Forge River retained its poor rating, given its algae blooms, potentially harmful to marine life, but not humans, along with “a complete absence of oxygen at night, and poor water clarity,” the report said.

The aim of the weekly water-sampling project, started in 2014, is to provide regular snapshots of ecosystem health, with an eye to how well locations are supporting — or not supporting — robust fishing and shellfishing activity.

Sampling is done on Mondays, as six teams “fan out across Long Island, collecting water samples, making measurements, and downloading data from logging devices, like oxygen meters,” he said.

From all that, the good, fair and poor scores are determined.

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