Photos of the Long Island Sound

Issues & Actions

Watershed Management


A watershed is the area of land where all of the water that drains off the landscapes ends up in a body of water. In the case of Long Island Sound’s watershed, bodies of water such as the Connecticut River and the Nissequogue River also drain into the Sound. What gets built in the watershed, or what we apply or throw on the land, can have consequences for Long Island Sound and its tributaries. For example, applying too much fertilizer on a lawn may result in nutrients washing into a storm drain, which can lead to algal blooms in nearby streams and ponds, or downstream in the Sound. Even one pint of oil released into the water from a storm drain can spread and cover one acre of water surface area and seriously damage aquatic habitat.


  • In 2003, LISS adopted a policy  to improve management of the watershed—the area of land where all of the water that drains off the landscape ends up in the Sound. The goal is to have 50 percent of the Sound’s watershed in both CT and NY developing or implementing watershed restoration strategies.
  • To help achieve the goal of increased watershed management, the Futures Fund has awarded more than 20 grants to local communities and watershed associations for developing and implementing watershed plans.
  • LISS has funded UConn’s Center for Land use Education and Research (CLEAR) to develop Web-based information products for communities involved in watershed planning. For example, in 2008, CLEAR completed a report to help communities assess the effectiveness of regulations to protect vegetated buffers around waterways.
  • LISS has created a River and Stream Bank Restoration (riiparian) toolbox to provide local resource managers with information about managing vegetated buffers.
  • LISS, through the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC), works with the upper New England states and Connecticut to address nitrogen contribution issues involving the Connecticut River, which begins along the Canadian border and supplies more than 70 percent of the fresh water that enters the Sound.


The Saugatuck River Watershed Partnership

The 11 communities of the Saugatuck River Watershed decided in 2006 to work together to manage environmental threats such as loss of riparian buffers, poorly maintained septic systems, and lawn chemicals and fertilizer being carried into the streams as polluted runoff. Learn more

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