Open Space

Connecticut Statewide Lands Protected as Open Space (acres)
Pre-1998 408486
1998 413286
1999 420399
2000 425098
2001 432856
2002 455601
2003 476320
2004 469245
2005 475982
2006 480798
2007 483405
2008 486504
2009 488822
2010 491643
2011 493804
2012 494885
Long Island Sound Coastal Area Protected as Open Space (acres)
2006 3.5
2007 118.89
2008 309.88
2009 915.12
2010 518.08
2011 420.1
2012  80.2
Total 2365.77

What is Open Space Protection?

Open space protection involves the protection of undeveloped land through acquisition or conservation land agreements.  The purposes of open space protection include preserving natural areas for maintaining a vital ecosystem and/or providing natural-resource based recreational opportunities.

What does this indicate?

This indicator tracks efforts to preserve open space in the Long Island Sound watershed in New York and Connecticut.  This measure can include land purchase, privately-owned, undeveloped parcels of land and the preservation of privately-owned land through easements.

In Connecticut, almost the entire area of the state lies in the watershed. In New York, only a small portion of the state is in the watershed, mostly along the coast.

The Long Island Sound Habitat Restoration Initiative additionally tracks acquisitions and land conservation agreements within the Long Island Sound coastal boundary. The coastal area is defined by climatological and topographical features, and political jurisdictions. In Connecticut, the boundary is between two miles and 19 miles wide, and follows the coastal hardwoods zone ecoregion (Dowhan and Craig,1976). The northern extent of this ecoregion represents the inland extent of coastally-influenced vegetation. In New York, the boundary is between .5 and 8.2 miles wide. The project boundary follows the Harbor Hill moraine through Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties. The western extent of the project boundary is the Triborough Bridge span that crosses the East River from Queens to the Bronx. The project boundary in the Bronx and Westchester counties is drawn to follow a portion of the Bronx River and the Hutchinson River Parkway.


In 1998, Connecticut passed legislation to preserve 21% of the state’s land, or 673,210 acres, as open space by 2023. By the end of 2009, over 488,822 acres have been preserved, more than  72% of the goal. New York’s first Open Space Plan was adopted in 1992 and updated in 1995, 1998, 2001, and 2006. It provides a comprehensive plan for conserving valuable open space in NY into the 21st Century.

Within the Long Island Sound coastal habitat boundary,  1761.4 acres have been identified as being protected since 2006. The Habitat Restoration Initiative met a goal of protecting or restoring 300 acres of habitat from 2006 through 2011 in 2008.

Data Note

Connecticut statewide open space data only tracks acquisitions and easements in which the state government contributes funding. The Long Island Sound Habitat Restoration Initiative collects information on coastal acquisitions and land conservation agreements by contacting state agencies and municipal  land planners. It is not a complete list.

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