Marine Resources Team, Suffolk County Department of Health Services

Left to Right: Walter Dawydiak, Jr., PE, JD, Director - Division of Environmental Quality; Lorian Peterson, Public Health Sanitarian; Christopher J. Lubicich, PE, Principal Public Health Engineer; Joette Pavelka, Chief – Public and Environmental Health Laboratory; Katherine Governale, Public Health Sanitarian; Philip de Blasi, Public Health Sanitarian; James L. Tomarken, MD, MPH, MBA, MSW, Commissioner; Nancy Pierson, Senior Public Health Sanitarian; Christina Capobianco, CPA, Deputy Commissioner; Michael Jensen, Associate Public Health Sanitarian; John Sohngen, PE, Principal Public Health Engineer

Not Pictured:Andy Seal, Public Health Sanitarian; Mark Long, Senior Boat Operator; Shawn Droskoski, Boat Operator; Beth Essex, Bacteriologist III; April DeVoe, Bacteriologist I

Suffolk County has the most beaches and waterbodies affected by Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in NY State. The County's Department of Health Services Marine Resources Team conducts the largest bathing beach water quality monitoring program in the region (>180 beaches, about 4,000 samples) while also monitoring for HABs. The team monitors waterbodies for a variety of harmful algae including those causing paralytic and diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (PSP and DSP). The team's prior documentation of PSP-causing algae exceeding public health standards lead to the NYSDEC shellfish sanitation program incorporating routine marine bio-toxin monitoring. The team works with NYSDOH, NYSDEC and SUNY Stony Brook with respect to sample collection, analysis and public notification. The team helped develop the HAB Action Plan, a science-based plan and strategy designed to neutralize the local impacts of HABs, which is an important component of the County's broader Reclaim Our Water initiatives to protect water resources and the bathing public.