NEW YORK, N.Y. – With the beginning of the beach season, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is beginning its beach and harbor protection program to safeguard beaches and bays in New Jersey and New York and protect the health of the people who enjoy them. This year’s program will include helicopter surveillance for floating debris, water quality sampling and grants to support state beach protection programs. The summer monitoring program kicked off on Tuesday, May 21 with helicopter flights searching for floating debris in the New York/New Jersey Harbor.
“The EPA works diligently every summer to make sure beachgoers can enjoy the water without worry,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “With an expected increase in floating debris on our shores as a result of damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, our efforts are even more important than ever.”
Working together with other federal, state and local agencies, the EPA’s cooperative program operates seven days a week. It has many components, including shellfish bed water quality monitoring, and grants to states to help with their beach monitoring and public notification programs. As they do every summer, EPA scientists will fly over the New York/New Jersey Harbor in a helicopter, the Coastal Crusader, searching for floating debris. The helicopter will also be used to collect water samples near shellfish beds and along the New Jersey coast for phytoplankton analysis, and take samples for bacteriological analysis around Long Island to support New Jersey’s and New York’s shellfish protection programs.
For information on the EPA’s Beach Advisory and Closing Online Notification (BEACON) database, which provides the public with state-reported beach monitoring and notification data, visit: http://watersgeo.epa.gov/beacon2/about.html.
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