Photos of the Long Island Sound

Research & Monitoring

Seafloor Mapping

recent posts

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson to Begin New Seafloor Mapping Project of Long Island Sound (news release posted July 9, 2012)

Seafloor Mapping of Long Island Sound: Scope of Work – Phase 1 Pilot Project (posted May 8, 2012)

Fact Sheet on Seafloor Mapping

Scup at Mason Island. Photo by Robert DeGoursey, UConn.

Underneath the surface of Long Island Sound exists a wide range of seafloor habitats—from the shallow, sandy bottom in the Narrows near New York City, to the deep and rocky recession in the Race near Fishers Island. Mapping the seafloor provides a framework to better understand and manage the resources dependant on these diverse habitats.

In an effort to better understand, describe, and analyze these seafloor (or “benthic”) environments federal and state agencies, regional organizations, and academic institutions use high resolution underwater imaging techniques to characterize and map specific geographic locations.

A 2004 settlement between the states of Connecting and New York, two power companies, and a cable company is providing funding for additional seafloor mapping. The settlement resolved a permitting dispute relating to two electrical cable crossings of Long Island Sound. As part of the settlement, the companies agreed to contribute $6 million to a Long Island Sound Research and Restoration Fund as a condition for its permit. In 2004, the Long Island Sound Study Policy Committee signed a Memorandum of Understanding on administering the fund for research and restoration projects to enhance the waters and related natural resources of Long Island Sound. In 2006, the Long Island Sound Study Policy Committee signed a second Memorandum of Understanding formally establishing a framework for the fund’s use. The Policy Committee agreed that the Fund be used to:

Scenes from the Research Vessel John Dempsey: Checking a trawl location on the survey grid. Photo by Richard Howard

  • Support new projects and activities that enhance Long Island Sound.
  • Promote improved scientific understanding of the biological, chemical, and physical effects of existing or potential cable and pipeline crossings and mitigation of their impacts.
  • Emphasize benthic mapping as a priority need, essential to an improved scientific basis for management and mitigation decisions.

The Policy Committee also established a Cable Fund Steering Committee, comprised of representatives of the EPA Region 1 Region 2 offices, the NYSDEC, CTDEEP, and Connecticut and New York Sea Grant Programs, to administer the fund.

Below is a list of reference materials to learn more about the Long Island Sound Seafloor Mapping Program and about seafloor mapping in general.

Seafloor Workshop Summaries

Long Island Sound Mapping References

Other Suggested Seafloor Mapping References

National Efforts and Initiatives


Subscribe to receive our e-newsletter, Sound Bytes by providing your email address. Interested in a free copy of our print newsletter, Sound Update? Then also provide your home/company/school address.