Long Island Has Become a Hub for Novel Solutions to Mitigate Water-quality Impairment and Climate Change
Christopher Gobler, endowed chair of coastal ecology and conservation in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University, will present his annual lecture, “State of the Bays, 2023: Love Where You Live,” on Tuesday, April 4, at 7 p.m. in Duke Lecture Hall inside Chancellor’s Hall on the Stony Brook Southampton campus and also on Zoom. There will be student poster sessions before and after the lecture.
Recent trends in the quality of both groundwater and surface waters on Long Island have been worrisome. Emerging contaminants have contaminated drinking water supplies, nitrogen levels in groundwater have risen by more than 60 percent in recent decades and coastal ecosystems have degraded. Since the late 20th century, critical marine habitats on Long Island have declined by up to 90 percent, and landings of Long Island’s top shellfisheries have declined more than 90 percent. Climate change is compounding the effects of nitrogen pollution.
We have entered the Anthropocene as human activity has become the dominant influence on climate and the environment, and 2022 provided clear evidence that climate change has arrived in New York. The fish kills were an ongoing occurrence in regions with high temperatures and bouts of nocturnal hypoxia, or low oxygen. A new study revealed that combinations of high temperatures, heat waves and low oxygen have contributed to the collapse of New York’s bay scallop fishery. In addition, excessive nitrogen loading was shown to significantly increase the intensity of algal blooms, harmful algal blooms and low oxygen conditions across more than 25 locations on Long Island.
Action is needed to mitigate these problems. Fortunately, Long Island has become a hub for novel solutions to mitigate water-quality impairment and climate change. “In the water” remediation approaches involving seaweeds and bivalves can locally ameliorate nitrogen loads, algal blooms, and ocean acidification, and recent shellfish restoration efforts have led to estuarine ecosystem recovery.
The New York State Center for Clean Water Technology at Stony Brook University has identified cost-effective technologies that dramatically reduce the delivery of nitrogen and other contaminants from individual homes to coastal water bodies. Implementation of such technologies coupled with “in the water” solutions will be required to reverse the decadal negative trends in water quality and fisheries.
Meeting ID: 963 0038 3650