Photos of the Long Island Sound

Issues & Actions



Each year Long Island Sound draws millions of people to its shores to swim, boat, fish, or simply to enjoy the view. Its lure is long established—19th century statesman-Senator Daniel Webster, for example, once described the Sound as the “American Mediterranean.” But today the Sound faces a variety of threats, ranging from a legacy of over-development within sensitive resource areas to issues such as sea level rise. These threats require a response that focuses on protecting these special coastal areas so they may flourish to the benefit of both people and wildlife.


Theodore Roosevelt enjoyed rowing on a St. Lawrence skiff in Oyster Bay and Cold Spring Harbor. Photo courtesy of National Park Service/Sagamore Hill National Historic Site



In 2006, Congress created the Long Island Sound Stewardship Initiative to help protect the diverse plants and animals that live in or near the estuary. In addition to protection, another goal of the Stewardship Initiative is to ensure that local people have access to the important natural areas that make the Sound a great place to live. As part of the initial work of the initiative (see Stewardship Initiative: In-depth) , a bi-state work group identified 33 inaugural areas around the Sound with significant ecological value and recreational importance. Today this work group continues to lead and direct stewardship efforts around the Sound.

The inspiration for a Stewardship Initiative can be traced to the legacy left behind by conservation pioneers of the 19th and early 20th centuries who saw the need to protect scenic wilderness areas for the public’s enjoyment and to protect wildlife. In this regard, the Sound could have no greater inspiration than Theodore Roosevelt. TR was a native New Yorker who spent a good deal of his life in Oyster Bay exploring its natural wonders. As president, Roosevelt recognized that America’s pristine wilderness areas and signature species such as elk, bison, and egrets, were under threat, so he protected an astonishing 230 million acres of parkland, forests, bird refuges, and game preserves. In a similar vein the Stewardship Initiative works to protect the beauty and ecological diversity of the Sound for present and future generations to enjoy.

Success Stories

The stories below highlight some of the notable stewardship projects around the Sound.

Hempstead Harbor Shellfish Beds

New York has reopened 2,500 acres of shellfish beds that have been closed for more than 35 years.

Long Beach West Dune and Beach

Removal of abandoned structures and 35 acres of beach and dune habitat successfully restored along Long Beach West.

Barn Island’s Legacy of Conservation

Over 60 years of research at Barn Island make it a model for tidal marsh restoration planning.


Stewardship Videos

In summer and fall 2014 Jack Silky, an intern at the EPA Long Island Sound Office, produced a series of videos highlight Stewardship Areas. The videos can be viewed in the Online Stewardship Atlas and LISS’s YouTube channel.

Stewardship Atlas


LISS Stewardship Atlas Updated and Online!

The Long Island Sound Study Stewardship Initiative has identified 33 inaugural areas around the Sound with significant recreational and ecological values. These areas serve as vital resource for fish, birds and other wildlife, and for people to connect with the natural beauty of Long Island Sound. Look for this logo on the Stewardship online atlas to see which locations near you are inaugural sites! Learn more

Did You Know?

Long Island Sound Stewardship Sites and Areas are not the same. 

The boundaries of Stewardship Areas are not strictly defined. Each area includes one or more “anchor” Sites, which are parcel-specific locations that represent the values or features for which that Area is being highlighted. The overall Stewardship Area includes all Sites that are physically or ecologically connected to the anchor Site(s) and where management action would prove beneficial to the Stewardship Area. A summary document on how LISS designates Stewardship Areas provides a fuller explanation.

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