Sag Harbor Launches Water Quality Initiative

Sunset from the Sag Harbor bridge.
Sunset from the Sag Harbor bridge.

Sag Harbor’s economy and quality of life is dependent on the health of its harbors and bays, and the village is seeing disturbing changes in its waterways.

The Sag Harbor Water Quality Initiative, a public/private partnership anchored by the Village of Sag Harbor and the Sag Harbor Yacht Club, has launched this spring, in an attempt to counter these changes.

The Initiative has received a proposal from Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences  to professionally and comprehensively evaluate local waters, placing five monitoring stations throughout Sag Harbor to test for harmful algae, pathogenic bacteria and nutrient overload.

The monitoring stations will also track temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH and chlorophyll A.

The goal, according to the Initiative, is to measure current impacts of harmful algae and the environment the waters are providing for future harmful algae and bacterial growth.

Using data from the monitoring stations and scientific modeling techniques, the project aims to quantify the amount of nitrogen entering the waters from sources ranging from fertilizer to wastewater treatment systems to atmospheric deposition, birds and surface runoff.

In order to get grants for remediation, the program will provide data that demonstrates whether there is a measurable problem. To date that has not been done in a systematic, inclusive and consistent manner.

Unfortunately, Community Preservation Funds are not available for testing.

The Initiative is halfway to raising $52,358 for the project, and is looking fro community support. You can contribute online using this form.

View Pledge Form

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

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