Since colonial times, humans have altered the Sound’s coastal habitats by concentrating housing, commerce, and recreation near the water. While there is still healthy habitat in and around the Sound, the overall abundance and diversity of natural areas have been diminished. Development and increased population have resulted in the loss of coastal and inland wetlands, and eelgrass beds in the shallow, near-shore areas. These habitats provide a unique and highly productive ecosystem that supports an array of living resources.
- In 1996, LISS established a Habitat Restoration Initiative, a bi-state effort to restore and protect 12 priority Long Island Sound habitat types that have been degraded, or are under threat, from development and pollution. The Initiative uses partnerships to accomplish the restoration objectives and leverage limited, state, local, and federal funds.
- As of 2013, LISS partners have restored 1,427 acres of coastal habitat and opened 295 river miles for migratory fish to travel between the brackish Long Island Sound waters and upstream freshwater rivers and lakes.
- As of 2013, the Long Island Sound Futures Fund has funded 22 habitat restoration projects and the planning of five projects for future restoration efforts .
- The Initiative has promoted habitat restoration with information products such as a Habitat Restoration Manual, a database documenting local restoration projects, and a guidance document for applying for habitat restoration grants.