Southport Harbor at the mouth of the Mill River in Southport, Conn. / Geoffrey Steadman / Contributed Photo

NY - What’s going into the Long Island Sound? Some new buoys will try to find out

A new collaboration that adds testing spots in Southport and Westport will help officials get a better understanding for the state’s water quality.

The three-year water quality data collection and research effort is a joint project by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. It will be facilitated by the use of special buoys and manual testing in Southport, Westport, Norwalk and Mystic.

“USGS scientists will collect water quality samples from three locations along the Fairfield shoreline, providing water resource managers with a detailed understanding as to how, and to what extent, excessive amounts of nutrients affect the coastal bays of Long Island Sound,” said Brittney Izbicki, a USGS hydrologic technician.

Izbicki said the data will provide a detailed understanding of what is in the water and how those things are impacting the sound. She said the effort will be completed in conjunction with USGS’s long-term monitoring at various watersheds in the state.

She said this new project will monitor water as it moves out into the mouth of the rivers, where conditions are different. The goal is to provide data to the state that can help improve water quality as well as people’s understanding of what influences estuaries and the Long Island Sound.

“It will be beneficial for habitat, recreational and commercial use,” she said.

This will be the first buoy deployment for this project in Connecticut, Izbicki said.

The data collection began in Mystic and Norwalk in May and June of last year using existing infrastructure to place the testing equipment, she said.

Izbicki said buoys were required for Westport and Southport because it allows the USGS to place their equipment at the important mouths of the Saugatuck and Mill rivers to collect data.

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