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Threat to Northport Harbor discussed

Northport Harbor. (April 14, 2011)

Northport Harbor. (April 14, 2011) Credit: Jon Premosch

More than 100 people attended a meeting at Huntington Town Hall Thursday night, where they heard a presentation by a Stony Brook University professor on the levels of nitrogen  in Northport Harbor.

Chris Gobler, associate professor in the school of marine and atmospheric sciences, told the group his team just received a nearly $600,000 federal grant to continue monitoring the waters through 2014 for signs of marine biotoxins created by harmful algal blooms, such as the one currently affecting the fishing waters in the Town of Huntington. The blooms are increased by nitrogen.

The meeting was conducted by the Northport Harbor Water Quality Protection Committee.

Next week, Gobler, a chairman of the committee, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation are scheduled to meet with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to seek funding for research to determine the main sources of the nitrogen in Northport Harbor.

While some point the finger at Northport’s sewage treatment plant, others point to other sources of nitrogen in the area, such as surface runoff that has high levels of lawn chemicals and septic systems.

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