Help protect our harbors and bays

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Sag Harbor Water Quality Initiative Talking Points

Sag Harbor’s economy and quality of life is dependent on the health of our harbors and bays. We are seeing disturbing changes.

The Sag Harbor Water Quality Initiative is a public/private partnership anchored by the Village of Sag Harbor and the Sag Harbor Yacht Club.

The Initiative has received a proposal from Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (“SOMAS”)* to professionally and comprehensively evaluate our local waters as described below.

Five monitoring stations will be placed throughout Sag Harbor. These stations will be testing for:

  • Harmful Algae
  • Pathogenic Bacteria
    –  Samples of fecal coliform bacteria will be analyzed to determine whether originating from humans, dogs, birds and/or deer and the relative contribution of each
  • Nutrients such as nitrogen which feed harmful algae and bacteria

In addition, the monitoring stations will track temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH and chlorophyll a.

  • These measures show the effects now of harmful algae
  • They also measure the environment the waters are providing for future harmful algae and bacterial growth

Using data from the monitoring stations and scientific modeling techniques, the amount of nitrogen entering the waters from various sources will be quantified:

  • Fertilizer
  • Water treatment systems including the Village sewage treatment plant and residential septic systems
  • Atmospheric deposition
  • Birds and surface runoff

In order to get grants for remediation, there has to be data that demonstrates a measurable problem. To date that has not been done in a systematic, inclusive and consistent manner. Unfortunately, Community Preservation Funds (“CPF”) are not available for testing.

We are raising funds and the total needed for the project is $52,358. We are more than half way there.

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*Dr. Christopher Gobler, Endowed Chair of Coastal Ecology and Conservation at SOMAS, is highly respected and recognized on the Federal and State level as well as more locally. He is the gold standard and using data from his lab would be a solid basis for writing grants in the near future.