Decreased water quality is a critical issue in Suffolk County since it directly impacts our local economy and quality of life. Poor water quality has resulted in decreased commercial and recreational fishery landings, shellfish harvest restrictions, and closure of public bathing beaches. While many pollutants can negatively impact water quality, the pollutants of greatest concern in Suffolk County are nitrogen and pathogens. Through various efforts such as water quality sampling and analysis, stormwater management, and educational outreach, Cornell Cooperative Extension is working to improve and ensure the sustainability of this valuable resource.
A significant focus of our water quality efforts is through stormwater management. Stormwater runoff is water from rain or melting snow that does not soak into the ground. It flows from roofs, paved roads, bare soil, and sloped lawns. As it flows it can collect pollutants such as fertilizers, pesticides, oils and grease, animal wastes and sediments. This polluted stormwater ends up in the Long Island Sound, the Peconic Estuary and the South Shore Estuary. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County works with municipalities to help educate and develop program strategies so that the impacts of stormwater runoff to sensitive waterbodies are minimized.
CCE and Suffolk County have created an entire website for the Stormwater Management Program, which can be found here: Suffolk County Stormwater Management Website
Last updated August 15, 2023