Purpose and History
The mission of Harbor Watch is to improve water quality and ecosystem health in Connecticut. Each day we strive to reach this goal through research in the lab and field, collaboration with our municipal partners, and education of students and the public. Harbor Watch addresses pollution threats to Long Island Sound and educates the next generation of scientists through hands-on research and experiential learning. As part of the larger organization of Earthplace, the work performed by Harbor Watch also supports the mission of Earthplace to build a passion in our community for nature and the environment through education, experience, and action.
Since its inception, Harbor Watch has trained over 1,000 high school students, college interns, and adult volunteers in the work of protecting and improving the biological integrity of Long Island Sound and has monitored over 250 sites for a variety of physical and biological parameters. See the map below to find out where we have worked, and where we are focusing our efforts now!
Below is a map showing 2018 summer river monitoring sites. Each site will be tested biweekly for indicator bacteria and other water quality parameters.
Below is a map showing our results from the 2017 summer river monitoring sites. By clicking a dot on the map you can view the results collected on each site.
NOTE: Dots shown in pale green and dark green had acceptable levels of bacteria, while sites shown in yellow, orange and red had elevated levels of bacteria indicative of a pollution problem. (The line labeled GEOMEAN represents the indicator bacteria (E. coli) geomean for this site.)
Today – Harbor Watch is a premier water quality program in Fairfield County, Connecticut, inspiring water quality improvements and appreciation throughout the region. We have expanded our reach to 17 towns, 19 rivers, more than 60 student interns, and over 100 volunteers in 2018.
2015 – Construction of a new laboratory at Earthplace begins, more than doubling the size of Harbor Watch’s science and education space.
2013 – Our second laboratory is formally certified by the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health. This expansion allows Harbor Watch to increase sample processing and efficiency.
2009 – A second laboratory is opened. It is funded by Norm Bloom and Son LLC and located at their facility in Norwalk.
1993 – Harbor Watch is incorporated as a program of Earthplace, home to the first Harbor Watch laboratory.
1986 – Dick Harris founds Harbor Watch as a citizens’ volunteer water quality monitoring group.