Just how healthy are North Fork beaches that line the Long Island Sound? Find out in an interactive online map called Sound Health Explorer, which grades Long Island and Connecticut beaches based on water quality and safety.
The map was launched last year by Save the Sound, an environmental program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment.
Two Riverhead beaches — Reeves Beach and the Dorothy P. Flint 4-H Camp — both currently have grades of A-. Two beaches in Southold Town — Kenney’s and McCabe’s — have the highest possible grades of A+, according to the map.
“We want clean beaches that are healthy for all to enjoy,” the executive director of the Save the Sound program, Curt Johnson, said in a press release.
The map shows the grades of all the beaches that have been sampled. The grades are based on how often over the last five years the beach failed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency bacterial pollution standards for safe swimming. When viewers use the map, they can click on a beach location to see the percentage of times the beach suffers from bacterial infections in wet or dry weather. The difference being that bacterial infections in wet weather suggest polluted stormwater problems and bacterial infections in dry weather point to hyper-localized and on-going problems.
No beaches on the North Fork received a grade worse than B-.
“Our goal is to engage the public in improving their beaches by putting long-term bacterial data trends at their fingertips,” Mr. Johnson said in the release. “Now everyone around the Sound can understand their local water quality conditions and work to keep their favorite beaches clean and open for swimming.”
Photo Caption: Reeves Beach in Riverhead. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)