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Study: No Human Pollution Found At Plum Island Nature Preserve

A scientist takes notes during a dive inspection of Plum Island off of Suffolk County, Long Island.
Image courtesy InnerSpace Scientific Diving
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A scientist takes notes during a dive inspection of Plum Island off of Suffolk County, Long Island.

A study of the waters near Plum Island nature preserve in Suffolk County found little evidence of human pollution.

Scientists spent five days collecting samples of the diverse habitats noting no evidence of human pollution.

Louise Harrison is the New York Natural Areas Coordinator for Save the Sound. She said it was exciting to hear there was no human intrusion found near the island.

“Certainly lots of things that people might throw overboard or that might wash into the sea that would stay there at the bottom and they were delighted that they didn’t see these — what they found was a pristine ecosystem,” Harrison said.

Harrison said 600 acres of Plum Island has been undeveloped and untrampled for 70 years. This has allowed nature to be abundant and diverse.

The dive was a follow-up to a 2019 study by the New York Natural Heritage Program. Meaghan McCormack is a marine Zoologist there.

McCormack said the control of Plum Island by the government has kept the nearshore waters clean and allowed for species to grow.

“Some of these species like anemones or star corals, you know, they are only going to thrive when conditions are right and the environment is relatively pristine,” McComack said.

McCormack said she and fellow scientists are still identifying species from the samples.

The dive was sponsored by Save the Sound.

Clare is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.