Organic Lawn care is crucial to protecting our drinking water, our groundwater, rivers, ponds and streams. Excess nitrogen is killing all our bays and contaminating our drinking water. Let's not be spreading it on our lawns.
Each year, each grade at Sayville High School chooses a cause or a non-profit to support. This year, the Freshmen of Sayville High School chose "Save The Great South Bay" as their non-profit. It was Doug Shaw, who teaches English at The High School and was born and raised in Sayville, who reached out to me via our Facebook Group to relay the good news. He told me "the kids were looking to do something really local."
What makes Georgica Pond so interesting is the possibility that motivated residents, top scientists and attentive local officials could be at the forefront of reversing the symptoms of the nutrient pollution that has become an island-wide, and arguably a world-wide, problem.
This what happens on Long Island in the warm months every time it rains. And it gets worse by the year. Before 1984, we did not have algal blooms around Long Island. Headlong development has caught up with us. What led us to think that we could put 500,000 septic tanks / cesspools in the low lying sand of Long Island and not suffer some consequences? That said, we had no definitive scientific link between nitrogen from our septic tanks and the explosion of algal blooms now threatening almost all our waters until 2005.
Chris and his team helped link septic tank seepage to the nitrogen fueled algal blooms around Long Island. Today, we know that we need to deal with the 500,000 septic tanks on Long Island if we are to save our bays, rivers, ponds, and marshes, and preserve our drinking water. Today, as various scientific experts and public officials grapple, along with our environmental non profits and the public with the question of how we address our water quality issues, Gobler's work is essential in charting the right path.
The numbers are staggering – 500,000 septic tanks on Long Island. An estimated 2000 outfall pipes pouring runoff into our lakes, streams and bays with each rain. 100+ small dams and spillways blocking the way for ocean fish that would otherwise spawn. Clam harvests in the Great South Bay down well over 90 percent. Scallops in Peconic Bay all but wiped out by rust tide. Fish populations a small fraction of what they were not too long ago.
So what will the county do? What will Long Island do? Clearly, it will take billions to address the septic tank issue. That's where the IBM Smarter Cities award will come in handy. Suffolk County won $500,000 worth of consulting from IBM to study the issue of sewer and waste water treatment planning. Rest assured, when it comes time to remove and replace the 100,000 septic tanks with something green, they will have a full, complete and accurate inventory, and a process. Beyond that, everyone -- the governor, our senators -- agree that we need sewer systems and modern waste water treatment technology and the funding to make that possible.
This report, their tenth, available here Inlet_Report_10 in its entirety, discusses both how the breach has evolved and mutated, while remaining stable over all in terms of its flow and its influence on water quality in The Great South Bay. Bellport Bay -- and not much more than that -- continues to benefit greatly from the influx of fresh clean ocean water and the outflow of nitrogen rich, oxygen depleted water.
Incredibly, the final budget proposal includes a provision that will "sweep" some $33 million from a portion of the voter-approved Suffolk County Water Protection Program, known as the sewer Assessment Stabilization Reserve Fund (ASRF). This fund is exclusively obligated under County law to provide support for sewer improvements, sewage treatment plant upgrades and the installation of residential and commercial enhanced nitrogen removal systems - the exact kind of sewage systems that many areas need to improve water quality.
Nice video on The New Inlet/ breach from National Geographic. Got some old time baymen featured. Good job! Nice end to a somber day.