Save the Sound launched a public petition this morning demanding that New York City reduce the amount of nitrogen it releases into the waters of the East River. Excess nitrogen from wastewater, stormwater runoff, and fertilizers spurs growth of toxic algae blooms in Long Island Sound that suck oxygen from the water and can close shellfish beds and fish die-offs. Nitrogen is also a major cause of marsh die-back that threatens coastal communities. The petition is timed to coincide with Long Island Sound Day on May 27, which starts each summer with celebration of the Sound’s economic, recreational, and environmental values and raising public awareness of its needs.
The petition, available to the public at http://tinyurl.com/NYCnitrogenpetition, is directed to New York City Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd. Earlier this year the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identified New York City nitrogen inputs into the East River as a major cause of the low-oxygen dead zones that plague the western end of Long Island Sound every summer.