PNS Daily Newscast - March 27, 2020 

The U.S. now has more confirmed coronavirus cases than any other country. Despite the pandemic, Election 2020 continues and states are making changes.

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3.3 million people reported being jobless last week, according to new Labor Department numbers. And Puerto Rico was supposed to hold primaries this weekend, though they pushed it back to late April, because of COVID-19.

Bad Timing for Latest Brown Tide Off NY Shore

PHOTO: The brown tide overtakes Fire Island at Great South Bay on July 7. Photo credit: Christopher Gobler.
PHOTO: The brown tide overtakes Fire Island at Great South Bay on July 7. Photo credit: Christopher Gobler.
July 10, 2013

NEW YORK - Experts say it started in late June. A damaging brown tide on Long Island has been spreading and intensifying ever since in Great South Bay.

Carl LoBue, a senior marine scientist with The Nature Conservancy on Long Island, said the timing could not be worse, because this latest brown tide struck during prime time for beach vacations and is likely to linger.

"It's about the worst thing that people wanted to see when they got out on the bay for 4th of July weekend," LoBue said, "with water that looks like coffee with skim milk in it. That's what the brown tide looks like."

According to the Gobler Laboratory at Stony Brook University, the first evidence of brown tide was spotted in the western portion of Great South Bay several weeks ago. By early July, it had grown to more than 1 million cells of algae organism per milliliter of bay water.

Brown tides have been a problem on Long Island for more than 20 years, LoBue said, and until recently, they had scientists scratching their heads.

"Three or four years ago we didn't know what the cause was, but now we know conclusively that it's nitrogen pollution in our waters. That threatens the quality of our bays and the quality of life and the economy on Long Island," he warned, "not to mention fisheries and the natural environment."

Infrastructure improvement is key to beating the problem, he added, because too much of the island relies on cesspools and older sewage systems.

"Most of the nitrogen in Great South Bay comes from wastewater," he said. "On Long Island, we have a pretty antiquated way we deal with wastewater. It's a problem, because we have 2.8 million people living on Long Island."

The only region of Great South Bay that avoided the brown tide is the eastern part, where a new ocean inlet formed following Hurricane Sandy, LoBue said.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY