Long Island Sound "report card" raises red flags
How clean is Long Island Sound? A new report card released Thursday warns that progress has stalled – but there's also reason for optimism.
The environmental watchdog group Save the Sound unveiled the report at Black Rock Harbor in Bridgeport, which received a "D+."
"While improvements have been made in Long Island Sound, there is still more to do in respect to nitrogen pollution reduction," said Save the Sound laboratory manager Elena Colon.
Most of our region received a B+ or a C, with areas east of Stratford receiving an A. New York City and Westchester County once again received an F, but Save the Sound said some key idicators are improving there.
The numbers are better than 14 years ago, when the environmental group issued its first report card. But progress is levelling off, and they're worried about a future with climate change.
"Put simply, the warmer the water is, the less oxygen it holds," said Dr. Jason Krumholz, a science adviser for Save the Sound.
Connecticut lawmakers are responding with hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade aging sewer systems. This year they also passed major climate legislation.
"I hear you. My colleagues hear you," said state Rep. Joe Gresko (D-Stratford). "It's your legislator at home that needs to hear from you that the environment is a priority."
Other lawmakers said the state's economy depends on keeping Long Island Sound clean.
"It supports so many jobs -- be it our boating industry, be it shipping in and out, be it harvesting of oysters," said state Rep. Steve Stafstrom (D-Bridgeport).
There is some good news at Black Rock Harbor. Bridgeport's Water Pollution Control Authority is upgrading one of its wastewater treatment plants, which could have a big impact on the water quality there.
According to Save the Sound, you can help too. At home, maintain your sewers. In your yard, use native plants and avoid using fertilizers and other chemicals.