Harbor Watch — the Earthplace-based research and education program — has just released a study of water quality in rivers throughout Fairfield County. All 4 of the Westport rivers studied are not as healthy as they look.
Muddy Brook — which discharges into Sherwood Mill Pond — and Pussy Willow Brook, a Mill Pond tributary, exceeded state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection criteria for E. coli.
Two rivers empty into Sherwood Mill Pond. (Drone photo/Patrick Sikes)
Sasco Brook failed DEEP criteria for bacteria. So did the Saugatuck River — which, with 2 sewage spills last summer, also showed elevated Enterococci concentrations.
The good news: our rivers are pretty good in terms of dissolved oxygen. That’s an important water quality indicator, because many aquatic species rely on it for survival.
Overall, 77% of the 123 field stations studied by Harbor Watch exceeded either 1 or both of the state criteria for acceptable levels of baceria. Click here for the full report.
First the bad news: Of 20 rivers in 17 Fairfield County towns, 77% exceed one or both of Connecticut’s criteria for acceptable levels of E. coli. The bacteria can indicate the presence of sewage pollution.
The slightly better news: The Saugatuck River had the lowest percentage of failing sites.
The worse news: Muddy Brook — which drains into Sherwood Mill Pond — was one of 8 rivers tied for the most bacteria. (The others: Bruce Brook, Deep Brook, Goodwives River, Greenwich Creek, Keelers Brook, Pootatuck River and Rooster River.)
The Saugatuck River gets high marks from Harbor Watch. (Drone photo copyright Ben Berkley/@youreyeabove
That’s this morning’s news from Harbor Watch. The group — Earthplace’s water quality research program — studied data from 169 stations, at those 20 rivers. They released their report this morning.
Harbor Watch director Dr. Sarah Crosby says: “The high incidence of failing bacteria concentrations shows us that there is still a great deal of work to be done to improve water quality in the Long Island Sound watershed.”
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