With the beginning of the beach season, Environmental Protection Agency officials are again undertaking a 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. The program kicked off on May 28 and includes helicopter surveillance for floating debris, water quality sampling and grants to support state beach protection programs in the New York/New Jersey Harbor.
“EPA [officials are] on the job every summer sampling water quality to make sure that beachgoers can enjoy the water without worry,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck. “Our efforts also ensure that floating debris is found and removed from the water before it can make its way onto a beach where it could affect people’s health and damage wildlife.”
Working together with other federal, state and local agencies, EPA program officials operate seven days a week. This comprehensive, science-based beach and coastal water program 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—aptly named 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 the shellfish protection program.