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Research & Monitoring


The Long Island Sound Study has launched a new version of the Environmental Indicators section. The data below may be out of date. Please visit and bookmark the new section here to see the most recent data.

Status and Trends: LISS Environmental Indicators

Open Space

CTDEEP and NYSDEC (2006 is 3.98 acres)


Connecticut Statewide Lands Protected as Open Space (acres)
Pre-1998 408,486
1998 413,286
1999 420,399
2000 425,098
2001 432,856
2002 455,601
2003 476,320
2004 469,245
2005 475,982
2006 480,798
2007 483,405
2008 486,504
2009 488,822
2010 491,643
2011 493,804
2012 494,885
2013 496,582
2014 498,490
Long Island Sound Coastal Area Protected as Open Space (acres)
2006      3.98
2007    201.89
2008    529.28
2009    915.12
2010   571.28
2011   398.55
2012     75.99
2013    458.66
2014     259.54
2015   1652.56
Total   4,418.29


Open space protection involves the protection of undeveloped land through acquisition or conservation land agreements.  The purposes of open space protection include preserving natural areas for maintaining a vital ecosystem and/or providing natural-resource based recreational opportunities.


This indicator tracks efforts to preserve open space in the Long Island Sound watershed in New York and Connecticut.  This measure can include land purchase, privately-owned, undeveloped parcels of land and the preservation of privately-owned land through easements.

In Connecticut, almost the entire area of the state lies in the watershed. In New York, only a small portion of the state is in the watershed, mostly along the coast.

The Long Island Sound Habitat Restoration Initiative additionally tracks acquisitions and land conservation agreements within the Long Island Sound coastal boundary by federal fiscal year (e.g.- fy2015 covers Oct. 1, 2014 to Sept. 30, 2015). The coastal area is defined by climatological and topographical features, and political jurisdictions. In Connecticut, the boundary is between two miles and 19 miles wide, and follows the coastal hardwoods zone ecoregion (Dowhan and Craig,1976). The northern extent of this ecoregion represents the inland extent of coastally-influenced vegetation. In New York, the boundary is between .5 and 8.2 miles wide. The project boundary follows the Harbor Hill moraine through Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties.The western extent of the project boundary is the RFK Triborough Bridge span that crosses the East River from Queens to the Bronx and Manhattan. The project boundary in the Bronx and Westchester counties is drawn to follow a portion of the Bronx River and the Hutchinson River Parkway.


In 1998, Connecticut passed legislation to preserve 21 percent of the state’s land, or 673,210 acres, as open space by 2023. By the end of 2014, over 498,000 acres have been preserved, nearly 74 percent of the goal. New York’s first Open Space Plan was adopted in 1992 and updated in 1995, 1998, 2001, and 2006. It provides a comprehensive plan for conserving valuable open space in NY into the 21st century.

Within the Long Island Sound coastal habitat boundary,more than 4,000 acres have been identified as being protected since 2006. The Habitat Restoration Initiative met a goal of protecting or restoring 300 acres of habitat from 2006 through 2011 in 2008.


Connecticut statewide open space data only tracks acquisitions and easements in which the state government contributes funding. The Long Island Sound Habitat Restoration Initiative collects information on coastal acquisitions and land conservation agreements by contacting state agencies and municipal  land planners. For this indicator, the recording date of an acquisition or easement is based on when the information is reported to the indicators. It is not a complete list.

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