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Supervisor Bosworth Vows to Improve Hempstead Harbor’s Clean Water Report Card

June 10, 2015
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Supervisor Bosworth Vows to Improve Hempstead Harbor’s Clean Water Report Card
Harbor’s O2 levels have greatly recovered & shellfish flourishing

North Hempstead, NY – Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth this week attended a press conference for the release of the first-ever ecosystem health report card for the Long Island Sound and Inner Hempstead Harbor. The report card assessments were conducted by scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and were funded by the Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Long Island Funders Collaborative (LISFC), a group of funders with missions that include protecting and restoring the Long Island Sound. Local groups who are part of the LISFC include the Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor and the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee.

“Turning the tide on our water quality doesn’t happen overnight,” said Supervisor Bosworth. “We all know that years of neglect and ignorance took their toll on so many of our waterways. But in recent years the dedication and hard work of so many has begun to change that. I am deeply committed and confident that we will attain our mutual goal to restore Hempstead Harbor back to the pristine body of water that it once was, and see it teaming with fish, fowl and shellfish.”

The report calculated the health of the water by scoring three indicators: dissolved oxygen, dissolved nitrogen and water clarity. Grades ranged from A (90-100%), B (80-90%), C (70-80%), D (60-70%) and F (0-60%). For the complete report click here.

According to the report card for Inner Hempstead Harbor, which is comprised of Middle Harbor, Lower Harbor and Glen Cove Creek, oxygen levels in the inner harbor have greatly improved over the years, earning a B+ grade. The Inner Harbor’s overall grade of D+ however, shows that there is still work to be done, especially to improve nitrogen levels and water clarity.

Despite the low grade, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation stated in a press release that “This is a remarkable comeback story for Hempstead Harbor. Marine trawls conducted in 1987 found no fish and 80 percent mortality of bottom-dwellers, such as starfish and crabs due to lack of oxygen. Hard-won improvements in water quality allowed Nassau County to seed almost 3 million clams and oysters to repopulate the harbor from 2007 to 2009. A healthy shellfish population promises to further improve water quality through natural filtration, as well as to restore a part of the Long Island Sound’s ecosystem and marine heritage.”

“Achieving the goal of restoring water quality to the Harbor has been a-decades-long mission of the Town of North Hempstead, its partners in government including the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee, and the Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor,” Supervisor Bosworth continued. “This report card evaluation of nitrogen and oxygen does indicate that the investments that we and our partners have made in the health of the Harbor over the past 20 years have paid off, which includes wetland and shoreline restoration, improving storm water runoff, shoreline open space preservation, and shellfish seeding. Hempstead Harbor received better grades in these areas than would have been possible under any previous testing.”

Have you tuned into North Hempstead TV lately? View all of our great programming on Channels 18 or 63 on Cablevision or Channel 46 on Verizon, or visit www.myNHTV.com or www.youtube.com/townofnorthhempstead.

From left are Dr. William Dennison of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science; Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello; Amanda Bassow, director of the northeast regional office of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation; Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth; David M. Okorn, Executive Director, Long Island Community Foundation; U.S. Congressman Steve Israel; Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton; and Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy.

Photo credit Tab Hauser

From left, Eric Swenson, Executive Director of the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee; Carol DiPaolo, Program Director/Water Monitoring Coordinator, Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor; Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth; Thomas U. Powell, Committee Chair, Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee.
Photo credit Tab Hauser

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