On Friday, August 2nd, a bevy of local environmental groups and politicians held a press conference at Theodore Roosevelt Beach in Oyster Bay to announce the release of the Long Island Sound Study Beach Report (LISSBR). On hand were Congressman Tom Suozzi, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, State Senator Jim Gaughran and Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino. Environmental groups included Save the Sound, Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor, Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee, and Friends of the Bay.
The LISBR studied water samples taken at North Shore beaches over the course of 3 years. Water samples were collected from 200 beaches on Long Island, Westchester and Connecticut. Each was given a letter grade based on the frequency and magnitude of dry and wet weather features, since researchers say rain plays a huge role in temporarily contaminating the water.
“Ninety-three percent of the water samples collected in the past three summers at all the Sound beaches passed state criteria for safe swimming,” Tracy Brown, director of Save the Sound, said. “Rain can pick up discarded litter and fecal matter from our landscape and our storm water and waste water infrastructure and deliver it to the coast.”
The report shows the overall failure rate of beach samples more than doubled in wet weather. That’s why Theodore Roosevelt Beach in Oyster Bay was closed on August 2nd, the day before the press conference. But the beach still scored an A.
Congressman Suozzi noted, “While we have made incredible strides over the last 20 years, we need to remain vigilant by reducing nitrogen runoff and improving stormwater management and sewage infrastructure. As Co-Chair of the bipartisan Long Island Sound Caucus, this year I helped secure $21 million to preserve and protect the Sound through House appropriations...an increase of $17 million since I was elected to Congress.”
To request a copy of the report visit: http://www.savethesound.org/beach-report.