Photos of the Long Island Sound

Research & Monitoring

Status & Trends

LISS Ecosystem Targets and Supporting Indicators

Coastal Habitat Extent

Restore an additional 350 acres of coastal habitat by 2020 from a 2014 baseline

( Click labels in legend to hide data and adjust scale )
Progress (2020 Interim goal — 350 acres by 2020)
Progress (2035 goal — 1,000 acres by 2035)
Coastal Habitat Acres Restored
YearAcres per yearCumulative Acreage
Percent to Goal
YearAcresCumulative AcreagePercent to interim 2020 Goal (350 acres)Percent to 2035 Goal (1,000 acres)
2014 (baseline)0000

Status and Trends

In 2018, the program met the interim  target of restoring 350 acres by  2020 from a 2014 baseline. An average of 58 acres a year was needed to meet the target, while the program was restoring an average of 89 acres per year.

The restoration initiative is also 36 percent toward the goal of restoring a total of 1,000 acres by 2035 from the same 2014 baseline.

Of the 356 acres restored to date, only 75 tidal wetland acres have been restored. As a result, the program is behind schedule in achieving a goal that 51.5 percent, or 515 acres, of the 1,000 acres to be restored by 2035 will consist of  tidal wetlands (see tidal wetland extent ecosystem target). A number of large coastal forest  projects has been a primary driver of  restoration over the past four years.

Between 1998 and 2018, LISS partners have restored 2,001 acres of coastal habitat. In 2006, LISS had initially established the goal of restoring 2,000 acres by 2020. That was changed to the interim goal of 350 acres in 2014 after 1,650 acres had already been restored, and the program added the new 2035 goal.


Habitat restoration projects conducted within the Long Island Sound coastal watershed can be very expensive, limiting the scope and scale of projects. In addition, funding for restoration is limited and competitive, which can reduce the chances of completing projects.

To date, habitat restoration projects around Long Island Sound have been dominated by a few habitat types (tidal wetland, coastal forest). In order to meet the Coastal Habitat Extent goals, it is imperative that other habitat types are funded for habitat restoration.

Tracking habitat restoration projects is dependent on reporting by our Long Island Sound partners and it is imperative that LISS contact all possible partners annually to collect restoration data.


How is This Target Measured?

The Long Island Sound Study Habitat Restoration Coordinators from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CTDEEP) track coastal habitat restoration projects that are in progress within the watershed by various partners and report the total acres restored annually.


Coastal habitats provide a unique and highly productive ecosystem that supports an array of living resources.

Long Island Sound Study’s Habitat Restoration Initiative has identified 12 important coastal habitats to restore. The 12 coastal habitats are: tidal wetlands, eelgrass, estuarine embayments, coastal grasslands, coastal and island forests, freshwater wetlands, intertidal flats, rocky intertidal zones, submerged aquatic vegetation, shellfish reefs, beaches and dunes, and riverine migratory corridors*.

Over the years the abundance and diversity of the Sound’s coastal habitats have been diminished, primarily due to development activities that have destroyed or degraded these important areas. Tidal marshes have been ditched or filled, dams have blocked fish from migrating upstream to spawn, and poor water quality have negatively impacted the Sound’s eelgrass beds. The Long Island Sound Study has identified the loss and degradation of coastal habitat as a priority management issue,

Additional Information

The Long Island Sound Study has a database to track and describe every restoration project in the Connecticut and New York portions of the Long Island Sound watershed since 1998.


Victoria O’Neill, NYSDEC
[email protected]

Harry Yamalis, CTDEEP
[email protected]

Source of Data

CTDEEP, NYSDEC, and Long Island Sound Study Partners

Data Notes

  • The technical explanation on how the target was selected is found in Appendix B of the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan.
  • *The riverine migratory corridor data is included as a separate indicator because units are measured in miles, not acres.
  • Two other ecosystem targets (Eelgrass Extent and Tidal Wetland Extent) are components of the Coastal Habitat Extent target.



Show/Hide Table

Related Ecosystem Targets

Supporting Indicators

Subscribe to receive our e-newsletter, Sound Bytes by providing your email address. Interested in a free copy of our print newsletter, Sound Update? Then also provide your home/company/school address.