The Stewardship Initiative is a partnership formed by the Long Island Sound Study to identify places with significant ecological or recreational value throughout the Sound and develop a strategy to protect and enhance these special places.
The goals of the Stewardship Initiative are to conserve natural areas, increase access to the Sound, protect important habitats, and plan for multiple uses.
As a culmination of over 3 years of effort, the Long Island Sound Stewardship Initiative work group has identified areas around the Sound with significant recreational and ecological values. Stewardship Act of 2006 provides maps of these 33 areas, which have been selected as the inaugural stewardship areas, and describes the major ecological and recreational values of each area.
The Stewardship Initiative follows through on recommendations made in the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan and the 2003 Long Island Sound Agreement, which call for the conservation of natural resources and increased public access around the Sound. The Long Island Sound Study formed a Stewardship work group to coordinate efforts to identify sites with ecological and/or recreational resources and to develop a strategy to protect and enhance these important areas. The work group is a collaborative effort among agencies and organizations interested in protecting the Sound.
Public involvement has been critical to the development of the Stewardship Initiative. In February and March 2004, the Long Island Sound Study held a series of public meetings to share information regarding the Stewardship Initiative and to hear from communities around the Sound regarding ways to better protect the Sound’s coastal resources (see meeting summary – Acrobat 1.3mb). Based on input received during these meetings, the Stewardship Work Group outlined a strategy for developing the Stewardship Initiative, which included work in two distinct phases. The first phase was a planning phase to inventory the ecological and recreational resources located throughout the Sound, identify the inaugural stewardship areas, and document the threats and opportunities at these special places. The second phase focused on implementation of on-the-ground stewardship actions.
The Stewardship Initiative work group hosted another round of public forums in June 2005 to solicit public input on the draft list of inaugural stewardship areas. Through the resource inventory, and with the detailed information received at the 2004 public meetings, the work group had identified 32 areas that were recommended as the inaugural stewardship areas. Participants at the 2005 meetings raised specific concerns regarding the exclusion of Hempstead Harbor from the list of inaugural areas. After a review of the letters of support and nomination forms that were submitted, and in response to the overwhelming public support, Hempstead Harbor was added to the list as the 33rd inaugural stewardship area. For detailed information on the process and criteria used to select these areas, please refer to the Public Comment & Response document.
Now that the inaugural stewardship areas have been identified, the Stewardship Initiative work group is focused on initiating projects to develop creative partnerships with local communities and landowners to protect and enhance the values of these special places. Examples include efforts to provide tools or technical assistance to local decision-makers to protect the values of a stewardship area, to promote the principles and implementation of low impact development, or to develop a watershed-based management plan for a stewardship area. By promoting community involvement and using a collaborative approach, the Stewardship work group is striving to address threats and act on opportunities at the stewardship areas.