Purpose & 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 are focusing our efforts now!


Today – Inspiring water quality improvements and appreciation of aquatic and coastal resources throughout Fairfield County, Connecticut and beyond!

2021 – Published “Assessing the Resiliency of Salt Marshes Under Increasing Nitrogen Loading” in Estuaries and Coasts

2019 – Published “Temporal and Spatial Variability of Instream Indicator Bacteria (Escherichia coli) and Implications For Water Quality Monitoring

2018 – Published “Three Decades of Change in Demersal Fish and Water Quality in a Long Island Sound Embayment” in Estuaries and Coasts

2015 – Opened the “Harbor Watch Richard Harris Laboratory” at Earthplace (more than doubling the size of prior space)

2006 – U.S. Coast Guard Auxillary Flotilla 72 first partnered with Harbor Watch to monitor the water quality of Norwalk Harbor and Norwalk River (something they still do today)

1993 – Incorporated as a program of Earthplace (home to the first Harbor Watch laboratory)

1986 – Harbor Watch gets its start in Norwalk Harbor