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The Long Island Beach and Water Quality App

How’s the water? - First-ever water quality app allows user to instantly know the status of any beach or water body across Long Island

Southampton, NY, August 9 th 2021- It’s summer and Long Islanders are enjoying beaches, swimming, fishing, and even clamming.  But how certain are you about the water you are about to jump into?  Is it safe?  Is your favorite beach open for swimming?  Is clamming allowed where you just pulled up your boat?  Should you be worried about red tides, or brown tides, or other harmful algal blooms?  How do you even begin to find out this information?  Knowing the importance of all of these questions to Long Islanders, scientists at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) have developed a one-stop shop to get all of this information: The Long Island Beach and Water Quality App (LIBAWQA, libau-qau), the world’s first ever all-in-one water quality app for the public.  Building on decades of research by the Gobler Laboratory at Stony Brook and public resources and reporting by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Department of Health, and the Nassau and Suffolk County Health Departments, the LIBAWQA provides up to the minute information on the open and closed status of hundreds of Long Island beach, and the open and closed status of every bay, harbor, estuary, and river on Long Island with regard to shellfishing.  In addition, the app features weekly water quality monitoring by the Gobler Laboratory which covers more than 30 locations across Long Island and provides information on algae, fecal coliform bacteria, dissolved, oxygen, water clarity, and harmful algal blooms like brown and red tides.  While all of that data is available on the app, this detailed scientific information is distilled down to a simple ranking of good, fair, or poor which is earned by each water body based on how conditions rank relative to state and federal water quality guidelines.

Relying on the resources of the Geospatial Center within the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Professor Sung Gheel Jang assembled a team of scientists and students that used geospatial information system tools with publicly available data to create the resources.  The mobile application is free and designed to run on iOS and Android devices. Internet connection is required to access the full capabilities of this application.

“People live on Long Island to enjoy the incredible beaches and water bodies.  Our goal was to make it easy to access beach and water quality information, all at once.”, said Chris Gobler , Professor of Marine Sciences at Stony Brook University. “Whether you’re a beach lover, fishermen, baymen, swimmer, or looking for scientific information about Long Island’s water quality conditions all of the relevant information is right at your fingertips with this app.”

Both scientists emphasizes that the LIBAWQA is for informational purposes only.  While the app continually mirrors state and county data bases, they recommend using the links within the app to confirm with the state and county health departments and NYSDEC for details on where swimming and shellfishing is permitted.

Professor Sung Gheel Jang said, “The production of this app demonstrates the ability of the Geospatial Center in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences to offer imaginative and unique GIS and Remote Sensing-related solutions for students, faculty, and the surrounding communities.”

Kevin McDonald, Senior Policy Advisor at the Nature Conservancy said: “"For decades, The Nature Conservancy has invested in protecting Long Island's coastal ecosystems.  This app will allow the public to better enjoy those ecosystems, specifically the beaches and shellfishing grounds.  It also makes clear, there are many regions of Long Island that are not suitable for swimming, shellfishing, and/or fishing and therefore is a clear demonstration that more work needs to be done to protect Long Island's coastal ecosystems."

Dr. Stephen Leatherman (a.k.a., "Dr. Beach") of Florida International University said: “I applaud Dr. Chris Gobler and his team at Stony Brook University for developing a new App so that the public can easily access water quality information for beaches on Long Island.  The new water quality App will provide this important information on a timely basis for all swimming beaches in the region.”

 

To access to the Long Island Beach and Water Quality App:

  1. Install ArcGIS AppStudio Player from  Google Play, the Apple  App Store, or the  Microsoft Store. This is free.
  2. Open your camera and scan the following QR code. The Player will download the app and open it. That’s it. No login is required.

QR Code for app