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EPA Concludes Water Quality Monitoring Study of New York Bight and Northeast Coastal Waters from Ocean-Going Vessel

Release Date: 09/17/2009
Contact Information: John Senn (212) 637-3667 (office) or (908) 420-8957 (cell), senn.john@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) For the last five days, scientists from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have been collecting water quality data as far as 80 miles off the New Jersey and Long Island coasts as part of an ongoing agency effort to monitor the health of the New York Bight. Scientists worked aboard EPA’s ocean survey vessel BOLD, a state-of-the-art mobile laboratory that the agency uses to assess American coastal waters.

“EPA’s monitoring efforts in the Atlantic Ocean not only help us better understand and respond to any changes in coastal water quality, they are some of most advanced ocean studies on the planet,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator George Pavlou. “The data we have collected helps illustrate how what we do on land affects the health of our harbors and oceans, and the species that live in them.”

EPA’s sampling efforts began Sept. 12 with scientists measuring the depth, temperature and conductivity – water’s capacity to carry electricity – of waters near Rhode Island and Nantucket, and areas in the Atlantic Ocean some 40 miles south of Nantucket and 80 miles east of Long Island. The BOLD then sailed southwest, collecting samples as far as 80 miles east of New Jersey. Sampling concluded as EPA scientists surveyed ocean waters some 70 miles southeast of Cape May, N.J. All told, water quality data was collected at 18 locations. For a map of sampling locations, go to http://www.epa.gov/region02/water/oceans/images/Bight_Map.jpg.

The data collected during this survey will be checked for accuracy and then shared with federal, state and local government agencies and non-governmental organizations.

The BOLD docked in New York City’s South Street Seaport on Sept. 16 and is open to the public today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with EPA scientists and staff giving tours of the ship and discussing the water quality sampling survey.

Prior to the New York Bight survey, EPA scientists aboard the BOLD helped map the sea floor off the Rhode Island coast. Earlier this year, EPA used the BOLD to conduct a water sampling survey in Puerto Rico and a coral reef monitoring study in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The 224-foot-long, 43-foot-wide ocean survey vessel BOLD is equipped with state-of-the-art diving, sampling, mapping, and analysis equipment that scientists use in a variety of ocean monitoring activities. The ship is a converted U.S. Navy T-AGOS class vessel. It can house up to 18 scientists, 19 crew members and remain at sea for weeks as they collect water quality and sediment samples, fish and other organisms. The OSV BOLD operates in the waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.

For more information on EPA’s ocean monitoring work in New Jersey and New York, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region02/water/oceans/. For more information on the OSV BOLD, visit: http://www.epa.gov/bold.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2.

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