In 2005, as a culmination of over 3 years of effort, the Long Island Sound Stewardship Initiative work group identified areas around the Sound with significant recreational and ecological values. The 2006 Stewardship Atlas provides maps of these 33 areas, which have been recommended as the inaugural stewardship areas, and describes the major ecological and recreational values of each area.
By identifying these important areas, the Stewardship Initiative aims to highlight the Sound’s recreational and ecological resources, to raise awareness of the threats to these resources, and to facilitate on-theground stewardship actions. The Initiative promotes coordinated resource planning to develop a network of partners working in concert to address threats and respond to opportunities within each stewardship area. As illustrated on the following pages, the boundaries of the stewardship areas are not strictly defined. Each area includes one or more “stewardship” 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 stewardship site(s) and where management action would prove beneficial to the stewardship area.
The majority of the recommended areas have stewardship sites that are under public ownership. These places, such as state parks and National Wildlife Refuges, were recognized for the unparalleled levels of public access or significant habitat acreage they provide. Private properties are included only with the permission of their owners, as the Stewardship Initiative is a completely voluntary program. The Stewardship Initiative partners hope that on-the-ground successes with the inaugural stewardship areas will serve as models to encourage participation by more private landowners.
At this time, the Stewardship Initiative focuses on the coastal and near-shore areas of Long Island Sound. However, there is legislation pending in Congress to formally create the Long Island Sound Stewardship Initiative. The current version of the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act, reintroduced in April 2006, limits stewardship activities to upland areas only. With the passage of the Stewardship Act, delineations of stewardship sites below the mean high water line may have to be redrawn.
To see the full 2006 Stewardship Atlas, download the pdf document