This is the public beach for the Short Beach neighborhood in Branford.
The data and field investigations strongly suggest that bacterial pollution at this beach is caused by wet weather/stormwater issues. Three stormwater drains dump either onto the beach itself or just west of the beach. So when it rains, stormwater runoff from neighborhood streets runs through the storm drains and right onto the beach bringing with it waste from pets and wildlife and anything else that is swept up in the rain as it runs off of yards and down sidewalks and streets. Whoosh – into the Sound at the beach!
Possible solutions include:
- Clean up the filth: Bacteria is absorbed onto dirt, grit and sand. Save the Sound and citizens have asked the Town to commit to an annual spring cleaning of the sand and dirt that collects in the storm drains that lead to the beach.
- Create a rain garden sponge to absorb stormwater back into the ground: Yale University is re-developing a large (by neighborhood standards) parcel of land a block from the beach. Save the Sound is beginning conversations with Yale about their interest in constructing a large stormwater-absorbing rain garden on the property to absorb runoff from streets back into the ground. Once it is filtered into the ground, the bacteria will be naturally treated – a great alternative to whoosh, down the storm drain and onto the beach.
- Education and local action: The local Civic Association is looking at covering and moving trash cans where neighbors now dispose of bags of dog waste. During rain storms and king tides, these barrels become swamped with water, creating conditions to brew a dog-waste tea that will run right down into the bathing waters. The Association and neighbors are also discussing more signage and replacing the stormwater drain labels to remind people – what goes out on the street ends up in the Sound.
View Clark Avenue Beach grades on Sound Health Explorer