Professor Diba Khan-Bureau
Semina 4 Date: 2/26/2014
CT Sea Grant/Long Island Sound Study
Lawns and Water Quality; a Growing Problem
Judy Preston was the speaker for our fourth Seminar class. She was a pleasure to listen to! Judy talked about information regarding the Long Island sound, issues occurring in it, and how we can prevent from contributing to further pollution in the Sound. The seminar started off with what Judy does for a living and how she got to where she is today. Judy Preston is a Connecticut Outreach coordinator for the Long Island Sound study and works at the Connecticut Sea grant office located in Groton, CT. For her education, she received her Masters degree in applied ecology from the University of Vermont, and also a masters degree in Environmental Management from Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Judy Preston is also a Master Gardener and Composter through the University of Connecticut Extension program and an “Accredited Organic Land Care Professional through the Northeast Organic Farming Association”. I was overjoyed when I heard that Judy Preston believes strongly in the importance of being organic. To my surprise, I thought of being organic as mostly a dietary option, not only is it that, but it is a lifestyle.
What I learned in this Seminar that I didn't know before was that the Long Island Sound is an Estuary of National Significance. Estuaries in Judy’s words are like gardens of the sea. Estuaries are where ocean waters mix with coastal rivers and streams. They are a home for high concentrations of wildlife like fish, or migratory birds. The Long Island sound has 1200 species of invertebrates, and approximately 170 species of fish. With that much wildlife in the Sound, it is important to keep the sound sustainable and safe by being aware of what will cause harm to it, also, ways to prevent pollution from drifting into our watersheds and emptying into the Sound. “What goes in the ground, ends up in the sound” is a quote that was brought up by Judy, that directed our classrooms attention to the topic that, what we put in our yards carry into the sound. Fertilizers, pesticides, or even pet waste, mingle with storm water/ rain water, go down our storm drains, and then empty into the Sound. This causes dire consequences for wildlife in the Sound. Their habitats are Nitrogen limited, meaning that if there is an oversupply of nitrogen in their environment, it makes it hard for them to survive. Nitrogen is the primary pollutant that causes hypoxia. Hypoxia causes dead zones, because oxygen levels drop, causing fish kills, overabundance, and success of nuisance species, and harmful algae. So what can we do to prevent this from happening? Make sound choices, when it comes to putting things in our backyards. Not fertilizing your lawn would be the best solution, but if it is absolutely necessary, then spot fertilizing with organic slow release fertilizer, only as needed, is acceptable. Use native plants in your garden, which will tremendously reduce the amount of fertilizer needed if any. Or, bring in native plants. Native plants will benefit birds and other wildlife in that area. DON’T USE PESTICIDES! They are extremely harmful to shellfish and other species in marine environments. Pesticides are also known for altering the gender of fish and other organisms as well. Making steward decisions is necessary if you want to keep the Sound and all the little creatures in it safe. Judy Preston opened my eyes to the importance of protecting the Long Island Sound, and what lives in it. By making Steward decisions, living a healthy lifestyle, we can all make the world a better place. Great class!!!