2020 LI Sound Report Card Reflects Stresses Largely Due to Predicted Impacts of Climate Change, Population Growth

Submitted by Myra Klockenbrink

The regional nonprofit organization Save the Sound has released its new 2020 Long Island Sound Report Card. Current water quality grades are consistent with recent years, trending from excellent in the east to poor in the west. First-time data from over 50 bays and bay segments show stresses largely due to the predicted impacts of climate change and population growth in our region.

Results from the Report Card including more than 12 years of data on water quality in the open waters of the Sound and 2 years of data on bays, have been posted to www.SoundHealthExplorer.com.

The site features an interactive map allowing visitors to click on specific bays to view
water quality grades and the data behind them. Divided into themes including “Swimmable,” “Fishable,” and “Livable,” the website provides data on water quality at 200+ beaches, and a tool designed to highlight the potential impact of predicted rising sea levels on coastal communities.

Greenwich is within the “Eastern Narrows” segment of the Sound and its open waters grade went from a B- in 2018 to a C in 2020.

This slight downgrade is largely due to lower dissolved oxygen levels and more micro algae in the water. Stormwater runoff and the use of fertilizers, along with warming waters, create poor conditions for marine life and to maintain clean, clear waters.

Our local beaches show wide variability with Greenwich Point receiving an B designation while Byram Beach received a D. The beach grade evaluates how frequently water quality was found to be unsafe for swimming and how high the level of contamination measured.

Click here for the Long Island Sound Report Card 2020.