This is so discouraging. The brown tide has come back with a vengeance. It is widespread (except at the inlets, the New Inlet included), and the longer it lasts, the more damage it will do to habitats and to shell fish and fin fish. As a result The Nature Conservancy has suspended its shellfish restocking efforts for the remainder of this Fall. This new algal bloom just underlines the fact that if we don’t start to address immediately how our septic tanks, antiquated sewer systems, and lawn and agricultural fertilizer are fueling these algal blooms by loading the groundwater with nitrogen, our bay — and all our bays — will die. They are well on their way, in fact.
I therefore recommend you each repost a link to this post http://wp.me/p3nI9m-Ew on the Facebook Pages of all the public officials who oversee this body of water, on the federal, state, and local level, adding your own comments, and let them and their constituents know that our waters are in crisis and now is the time to act. Feel free to cite The Long Island Clean Water Partnership site http://www.longislandcleanwaterpartnership.org, or to our slideshow at http://www.slideshare.net/Savethegreatsouthbay/li-drinking-water-protection-power-point-ae-bd, or our Facebook Page www.facebook.com/savetheGSB, or our group page www.facebook.com/groups/savethegreatsouthbay, or this web site stgsborg.wpengine.com.
Here’s SCERP’s News Release on the brown tide. Below that are the Facebook Pages of at least some of the officials who we need to step up and help solve this problem.
DAMAGING BROWN TIDE RE-EMERGES ACROSS ENTIRE SOUTH SHORE OF LONG ISLAND
Stony Brook, NY, October 15th 2013 – An intense and damaging brown tide has re-emerged across most of Great South Bay, Moriches Bay, and Shinnecock Bay. Monitoring by The Gobler Laboratory of Stony Brook University’s new marine sciences center in Southampton has revealed that a brown tide that began to develop during September and has intensified this month to nearly 1,000,000 cells per milliliter in central Great South Bay as of October 8th. Densities exceeding 200,000 cells per milliliter were also present in western Great South Bay, Moriches Bay, Quantuck Bay, and Shinnecock Bay. The only regions across Long Island’s South Shore Estuary system that have been spared this scourge have been the ocean inlets, including the New Inlet in Great South Bay which is strongly flushing Bellport Bay and has kept brown tide densities below 20,000 cells per milliliter. This widespread brown tide comes on the heels of a summer event that occurred during May, June, and July within the same regions.
The brown tide alga, Aureococcus anophagefferens, has been notorious on Long Island since it first appeared in 1985 having been responsible for the demise of the largest bay scallop fishery on the US east coast in the Peconic Estuary, the loss of eelgrass across Long Island, and the inhibition of hard clam recovery efforts in Great South Bay. Densities above 50,000 cells per milliliter can be harmful to marine life, particularly clams.
“The occurrence of a fall brown tide is not uncommon, particularly after a summer with a dense and widespread brown tide,” said Christopher Gobler, Professor of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. “We knew that the summer brown tide would end when the bays heated up above 75 degrees. We also knew it could return once the bays cooled down in the fall.”
This was unwelcome news for groups like The Nature Conservancy who are working to restore hard clam populations in Great South Bay. Carl LoBue of The Nature Conservancy said, “We know from our experience in 2008-2009 that back to back brown tide blooms not only impacted survival and growth of young clams, it also impacted spawning of adult clams the following season. We were encouraged in spring because conditions in central Great South Bay looked good into June, so this is disappointing but not surprising, the impacts of pervasive nitrogen pollution have hit almost every bay, harbor, and lake around Long Island this year.”
The occurrence of brown tide in the fall can be problematic for hard clams and other shellfish. The fall has been identified by scientists as a key period of ‘conditioning’ for clams. When presented with the right food during the fall, they are more likely to have a successful reproductive season the following spring. When presented with an extended brown tide, the next generation of clams may fail. How much this brown tide effects condition may depend on how long it persists.
“In 2011, a fall brown tide lasted through December. In other years, such as 1999, they have gone into the winter, even persisting under ice coverage of the bay”, said Gobler.
Decades of research at Stony Brook University regarding brown tides have identified excessive nitrogen loading and poor flushing as factors promoting brown tides on Long Island.
Governor Andrew Cuomo:
Senator Charles Schumer:
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand:
Congressman Tim Bishop:
Congressman Peter King:
Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone:
New York State Senator Lee Zeldin — District 3
New York State Senator Phil Boyle — District 4
Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino — District 7
Assemblyman Joseph Saladino, District 9
Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine:
Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci:
Town of Babylon Page — Rich Schaffer, Supervisor:
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