Photos of the Long Island Sound

Research & Monitoring

Status & Trends

LISS Ecosystem Targets and Supporting Indicators

Volunteers at Coastal Cleanups

( Click labels in legend to hide data and adjust scale )
Number of Volunteers    
1998   753 2,685
1999   598 1,556
2000   478 2,498
2001   331 1,629
2002   490 2,009
2003   735 2,632
2004   411 1,178
2005   884 1,901
2006   957 2,968
2007 1,351 2,183
2008 1,708 2,341
2009 2,100 2,641
2010 2,118 2,733
2011 1,873 1,537
2012 1,773 1,612
2013 1,554 1,958
2014 1,403 2,273
2015 1,512 1,929
2016*   2,287
2017 1,739 1,379
2018 1492 1839

WHAT are Coastal cleanups of Land-Based Marine DEBRIS?

Land-based Marine Debris is any trash found on a shoreline, including trash that was originally deposited in upland areas or offshore. Debris is collected during several volunteer-driven beach clean-up days throughout the year on Long Island Sound’s coast. This dataset reflects the cleanups in September and October reported to the Ocean Conservancy for International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day.


This indicator reflects continued volunteer interest in cleaning up the Long Island Sound shoreline.


The MARPOL treaty of 1988 made ocean dumping illegal. But garbage continues to collect on the coast, including the Sound’s 600 miles of shoreline. While some of this debris is still dumped from vessels, most of the garbage comes from the streets in our communities. This trash gets washed into the Sound as stormwater runoff. The success of Long Island Sound Coastal Cleanups, held on weekends in September and early October in the Sound as part of International Coastal Cleanup Day, is evidence that community residents are willing to volunteer in large numbers to help clean up a persistent problem.

In 2018, 3,331 volunteers picked up  17,466 pounds of debris along 107.4 miles of coastline, the equivalent of 162.63  pounds per mile.



  •  In 2016, only data in New York was available, but in 2015 the five-year moving average showed a similar decline (10.65%) from the 2013 baseline.
  • In most years the collection of heavy water-based debris, including boats, docks, and boat parts are counted as a separate watercraft category and are not included in the shoreline cleanup indicator. However, in 2010 and 2015, Oyster Bay did include those collections in its reporting, which explains larger than usual totals. In 2010, Oyster Bay collected 48,500 pounds compared to the previous year of 1,500 pounds, and in 2015, Oyster Bay  collected over 41,000 pounds compared to the previous year of  10,600 pounds. In Connecticut in 2015, five beach captains did not report their totals to the International Coastal Cleanup program. In 2014, 19,500 pounds of water-based collections, including a floating dock pulled from the water, from Theodore Roosevelt Beach were not counted in the Marine Debris cleanup indicator.
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