Water Monitoring: Ecological Health


Unified Water Study (UWS)

Launched by Save the Sound in 2017, the Unified Water Study: Long Island Sound Embayment Research (UWS) is a  groundbreaking water quality monitoring protocol developed so groups around Long Island Sound can collect comparable data on the environmental health of our bays and harbors. Historically, the monitoring work is conducted by different groups with different monitoring approaches making it difficult to accurately compare water quality conditions in the Sound’s many inlets. By standardizing the protocol, the UWS will deliver more reliable data to further our understanding of the health of Sound which, in turn, will inform and support our actions to preserve and protect it.

Monitoring Our Bays and Harbors Together

Local monitoring groups receive support from Save the Sound, the study’s Science Advisors, and its funders. They are provided with monitoring equipment, training, Standard Operating Procedures, a custom study design for their monitoring locations, inclusion in the Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP), and other resources they need to successfully collect high quality monitoring data.

What We Are Studying

The Unified Water Study measures the relative environmental health of the bays and harbors of Long Island Sound and human impact on them. It has two tiers: baseline data, and an optional set of data to be collected in addition to Tier 1.

Tier 1 monitoring measures:


  • Dissolved Oxygen
  • Water Clarity
  • Temperature
  • Salinity
  • Chlorophyll a
  • Qualitative Macrophytes
Tier 2 monitoring additionally measures:


  • Continuous Dissolved Oxygen
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorous
  • Quantitative Macrophytes


The Long Island Sound Funders Collaborative initiated this Sound-wide study after creating the first Long Island Sound Report Card in 2015 and finding a scarcity of comparable data for the Sound’s bays and harbors. Save the Sound was selected to design and coordinate the study, working in collaboration with science advisors, other monitoring groups, and regulatory agencies (EPA, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission and Interstate Environmental Commission).

The Science Advisors to the Unified Water Study are Jamie Vaudrey, PhD, and Jason Krumholz, PhD. The Study Coordinator is Peter Linderoth, plinderoth@savethesound.org. Additional guidance is provided by Long Island Sound Study (LISS) staff as well as members of the Long Island Sound Study Science Technical Advisory Committee and Citizen Advisory Committee.


Requirements for participation in Unified Water Study: Long Island Sound Embayment Research (UWS).

  • 12 water quality sampling events occurring within three hours of sunrise and associated preparation and post sampling event work
  • 3 macrophyte sampling outings and associated preparation/follow-up
  • 1 full day training, plus you will receive ongoing tech support
  • Access to boat may be necessary
  • Willingness to join a network of water quality monitoring groups with shared goal
  • Adhere to the Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP)
  • Use these Application instructions

If you are interested in participating in this important study, please contact the Unified Water Study Coordinator, Peter Linderoth, at plinderoth@savethesound.org.

Participant Sampling Areas

Harbor or Bay: Organization:
Black Rock Harbor Ash Creek Conservation Association
Bronx River Bronx River Alliance
Centerport Harbor, Huntington Bay, Huntington Harbor, Lloyd Harbor, Northport Bay, Northport Harbor Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County Marine Program
Connecticut River Connecticut River Conservancy
Darien Harbor, Cove Harbor, Scott Cove Town of Darien
Eastchester Bay, Hunter Island Bay, New Rochelle Harbor Save the Sound
Farm River Friends of the Farm River Estuary
Flushing Bay Guardians of Flushing Bay
Goldsmith Inlet, Mattituck Harbor North Fork Environmental Council
Guilford Harbor East River Watershed Research Institute
Hempstead Harbor Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor
Housatonic River Town of Stratford – Conservation Department
Inner Norwalk Harbor, Saugatuck River Harbor Watch
Little Neck Bay, Manhasset Bay Interstate Environmental Commission
Mamaroneck Harbor East Basin Enterprises
Mill River (Southport Harbor) Town of Fairfield – Conservation Department
Mumford Cove, Poquonnock River Project Oceanology
New Haven Harbor River Advocates of South Central Connecticut
Niantic River Save the River – Save the Hills
Nissequogue River Salonga Wetland Advocates Network
Outer Norwalk Harbor The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk
Oyster Bay, Cold Spring Harbor, Mill Neck Creek Friends of the Bay
Port Jefferson Harbor Setauket Harbor Task Force
Stamford Harbor, Holly Pond SoundWaters
Stonington Harbor, Alewife Cove New England Science & Sailing Foundation
Wequetequock Cove, Mystic River, Mystic Harbor Clean Up Sound and Harbors
Westchester Creek SUNY Maritime College
West Harbor Fishers Island Seagrass Management Coalition

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