Note 1: May 2023
We who live, swim, kayak, sail, fish, walk our dogs, and watch gorgeous sunrises and sunsets in Short Beach know that our community revolves around the water. We also know that our water quality can be poor, especially after rain.
A group of neighbors and stakeholders have come together to research the sources of water pollution and cleanup. Groups involved include the East Shore Health District, the Friends of the Farm River, the Short Beach Civic Association, and Save the Sound, among others.
Many people are involved as volunteers and organizers, but I want to introduce two. Ann Davis, Short Beach resident and retired biologist, has been spearheading this “citizen science” project since 2019. Sarah Esenther is a PhD student at Brown University who has taken on the Farm River Estuary as primary research site for her doctoral work. Say hello if you see them around the beach this summer!
Our project involves measuring bacteria flowing into the Sound after rainfall events from nine outfalls, including the three on Johnson’s Beach and one on Granite Bay. Measurements from these outfalls in summer 2019 indicated high levels of E. coli after rain, but we were not at that time able to determine the source. After losing several years to Covid confusion, we are restarting in 2023 with new technology and generous support from volunteers and the Civic Association. We hope to get enough information this summer to determine a course of remediation.
I’ll provide regular updates throughout the summer, so that our community can come together around remediation once we determine the sources of pollution. Let me know what you think – I’m the guy walking two rambunctious corgi dogs down Clark Ave every day. I’ll start back up on my daily high-tide swims once the water cracks sixty degrees.