The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) is the Surfrider Foundation’s citizen science program which provides valuable water quality information to beach communities, raises awareness of local water pollution problems and works collaboratively with local stakeholders to implement solutions. Surfrider’s network of 30+ volunteer-run BWTF labs measure bacteria levels at ocean and bay beaches and in freshwater sources, and compare them to the national water quality standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency to protect public health in recreational waters. Surfrider began monitoring water quality on Eastern Long Island in 2013 in partnership with the Concerned Citizens of Montauk, another local environmental NGO. Testing is performed weekly at ocean and bay beaches, freshwater ponds and creeks during the summer beach season and monthly during the colder winter months at over 30 sampling sites. This joint water testing program augments the seasonal beach water quality monitoring program conducted by the Suffolk County Department of Health, providing Enterococcus bacteria results at recreational beaches and coastal waterways year-round. All BWTF water quality data are posted online and available to the public at www.surfrider.org/blue-water-task-force/chapter/37 Water quality updates are also shared with the local community through social media, weekly press releases, and public presentations and educational talks. As a community-fueled program, the Blue Water Task Force strives to identify problems with beach and coastal water pollution and work towards solutions.
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