Soundkeeper on the Water

2018 marks the first full season on Long Island Sound for new Soundkeeper Bill Lucey and his patrol vessel, the Terry Backer. Here’s an overview of the patrols so far, in Bill’s own words.


My patrol season began with the welding of a new fuel tank in New Jersey which was installed in Rowayton—a regional effort right from the start! The maiden voyage saw the Terry Backer leaving the Essex Brewer’s Marina Boat Show, and winding down the Connecticut River to the Sound. It was then on to Bridgeport, where Bruce Williams of Captain’s Cove Seaport has generously provided a home port.

The map shows coastline where patrols have occurred so far this season.

Harbors from Bridgeport to the Eastchester Bay are plagued by multiple pollution issues and poor water quality, so Save the Sound has identified them as the top-priority patrol areas. Focus areas include West Haven, Black Rock Harbor in Bridgeport, Norwalk, Stamford, Port Chester, and the Hutchinson River/Eastchester Bay. I’ve also made forays as far as Rikers Island and along the north shore of Long Island to Northport Harbor. The next two months will see the Terry Backer traverse the remaining north shore coastline to Plum Island, around to the Rhode Island border, and back to the Connecticut River.

I have had a variety of guests and collaborators on patrol including scientists, staff, elected officials and Save the Sound supporters. Based on pollution reports and data from our bacteria monitoring program, we have collected water samples to identify sewage pollution hot spots on the Hutchinson River, on the coast of West Haven and elsewhere.

We are also using our patrols to gather more data in the battle to drastically reduce the plastics getting into our waterways. Along the way we pull all kinds of garbage out of the Sound that has not yet been shredding into the micro plastics we are measuring, which are exponentially more difficult to remove.

We pull way too many balloons out of the Sound! Please be sure all balloons make it into the trash and aren’t left in the environment where they can choke marine life.

You can make our patrols a more effective tool for stopping water pollution! If you see suspected water pollution, please call me at (203) 854-5330 or email to report it.

Learn more about identifying pollution here.

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get timing patrol reports from the field.

Watch this video to see an an example of a Rake Toss to measure for seaweed, an indicator of nutrient pollution. 

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