The National Geographic Society has undertaken a freshwater initiative “to inspire and empower individuals and communities to conserve freshwater and preserve the extraordinary diversity of life that rivers, lakes, and wetlands sustain.” Sandra Postel is a Pew Scholar in Conservation and the Environment, and has been named one of the “Scientific American 50” for her contributions to water policy. Sandra also has roots on Long Island. In her most recent blog post on National Geographic, Sandra proposed a listing of the most-endangered aquifers in the United States. Underground water meets 20 percent of US water demand, and provides the flow that keeps rivers and streams from drying up.
Among the aquifers Sandra nominates are the Ogallala Aquifer under the Great Plains, California’s Central Valley, coastal aquifers in Florida and the Carolinas, and unfortunately, Long Island’s. Long Island’s aquifers are vulnerable to contamination by fertilizers, dumping waste products (as was most recently evidenced by the illegal dumping of automotive waste in Glen Head) to loss of wetlands and open space. In Nassau County, 80 percent of land is developed. She references a video made by GRACE Communications Foundation, featuring former Executive Director of Friends of the Bay Kyle Rabin, which can be seen at this site – http://blip.tv/gracelinks/long-island-s-drinking-water-challenges-and-solutions-6090712.
As individuals, we can help be part of the solution by curbing fertilizer and pesticide use, dispose pharmaceuticals and hazardous waste responsibly, maintain septic systems, and reduce the amount of water we use. Reducing nitrogen pollution is critical to the continuing health of the aquifer and the water in our harbors and bays. Protecting the remaining open space we have will allow rainwater to filter to aquifers, and recharges the aquifers.
This Week’s Results
Dissolved Oxygen: The Dissolved Oxygen readings were in the 7.0 – 9.0 range. A reading above 5 mg/L is considered healthy for marine life. The water has warmed up considerably in the past week or so, to surface water temperatures at approximately 65 degrees. Not quite bathwater warm yet, but getting close!
Our water quality monitoring season began on April 16th and will continue until the end of October! If you would like to become one of our water quality monitoring volunteers, are interested in other ways of assisting in our effort to preserve and protect the waters of the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor estuary, or want to report an activity that may be threatening the estuary/watershed please visit us online at www.friendsofthebay.org or give us a call at 516-922-6666. Friends of the Bay’s mission is to preserve, protect and restore the ecological integrity and productivity of the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor estuary and the surrounding watershed.