Monday, August 04, 2008

Sound Health, Beach Closings, Hypoxia

The Sound Health report, written and published by the Long Island Sound Study, came out about a week ago. Some newspaper accounts interpreted it as showing that environmental onditions in the Sound are improving. I've looked at it and I'm not sure I agree. You can read it yourself (and you should), here.

Meanwhile, the Natural Resources Defense Council issued its annual report on beach closings on the Sound. There were fewer in 2007 than in 2006. However you should not be encouraged by this. Since most beach closing are automatically triggered after a heavy rain, all it means is that it rained less last year than the year before. Here's the report.

Dissolved oxygen concentrations are really low in the western end of the Sound, which is bad even if it isn't surprising. Here's what the Connecticut DEP said in its most recent report, which is a week old already:

The 2008 July Hypoxia Survey was conducted 21 and 22 July. Twenty-nine stations were sampled. Engine trouble on 7/25 precluded sampling eleven stations in the central basin/western narrows. Bottom water dissolved oxygen concentrations fell below 4.8 mg/L at 18 stations with ten of those stations falling below 3.5 mg/L and five stations falling below 3.0 mg/L. The lowest concentration was observed at Station A4 (0.68 mg/L). The area of bottom water affected by hypoxia (DO <3.5>

I wish I had time to translate that into plain English, but I don't. Readership of this blog has peaked lately but unfortunately I'm finding less and less time to do the work it takes to keep on top of things, mainly because of work responsibilities -- I'm the acting executive director at Westchester Land Trust, where I've worked for almost eight years, while still serving as communications director. Given how little time I've had over the past two weeks, I don't think things will get better over the next two, and the I'm off for two weeks on Block Island. When school starts, and I'm getting out of bed an ridiculously early hours again, maybe blogging will pick up.

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