Stamford, CT, Sept. 17, 2013 — The Long Island Sound Study (LISS), part of EPA’s National Estuary Program, is asking residents of Long Island Sound to join in a nationwide “Toast the Coast” on Sept. 28 in celebration of the 25th annual National Estuaries Day. The Long Island Sound Study is part of a network of 28 National Estuary Programs working to improve and restore the nation’s most important estuaries – the vibrant coastal areas where rivers meet the sea.
“A toast, even with just a glass of tap water, is a simple way for people all around the country to show their appreciation and support for our coastal waters,” said Mark Tedesco, director of the EPA Long Island Sound Office, which manages the Long Island Sound Study program. “For us, it signifies our appreciation of Long Island Sound, a body of water surrounded and enjoyed by millions of people that also supports an incredible array of fish, shellfish, seabirds, and other wildlife.”
As part of the celebration, the Long Island Sound Study is joining with the Alley Pond Environmental Center in Douglaston, Queens for a toast at 12 noon on Sept. 28 during Alley Pond’s annual National Estuaries Day celebration. On Sept. 17, Middlesex County Green Drinks, hosted by the Rockfall Foundation in Middletown, CT is also having a toast to the Sound at its monthly meeting that will be held at the Saybrook Point Inn and Spa in Old Saybrook. Those who cannot attend either event are invited to share pictures of their own toasts honoring the Sound, and its clean rivers and harbors on LISS’s Facebook page. They will be joined by thousands of individuals and organizations around the country celebrating with toasts and other National Estuaries Day events.
According to an economic study funded by the Long Island Sound Study, water-related activities in the Sound bring in nearly $9 billion a year. More than 20 million people live within 50 miles of the Sound’s shoreline, and many of them fish, swim, or simply enjoy the seaside view from the Sound’s many harbors, embayments, and long coastline. Nationwide, approximately 110 million people, or more than half of all Americans, live near an estuary and enjoy the many benefits estuaries provide. These benefits include jobs in industries like agriculture, commercial fishing, power generation, recreation and tourism, and shipping. According to the nonprofit Restore America’s Estuaries, coastal counties provide more than half the nation’s gross domestic product and support more than 69 million jobs, or about 40% of US employment. Besides the economic benefit, estuaries provide habitat for hundreds of species of fish, shellfish, shorebirds, waterfowl, and other wildlife to breed, hunt, and raise their young. This, in turn, attracts tourists; as many as 180 million a year, according to a 1993 study. The salt marshes and wetlands used by these species also provide coastal residents with protection from hurricanes, nor’easters, and other storms.
The purpose of National Estuaries Day, first observed in 1988, is to promote the importance of coastal environments where rivers meet the sea. National Estuaries Day is supported by the Association of National Estuary Programs, Restore America’s Estuaries, the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and countless other organizations, associations, and agencies. The Association of National Estuary Programs (ANEP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting responsible stewardship and a common vision for the preservation and restoration of our nation’s bays and estuaries. ANEP works with the 28 National Estuary Programs established by Congress to protect and restore tidal waterways of national significance.
The Long Island Sound Study, a partnership to restore and protect the Sound, was established in 1985 by the states of Connecticut, New York, and EPA with assistance from local government, industry, universities, community groups, and other federal agencies.
For more information about Toast the Coast or National Estuaries Day, please call Robert Burg of the Long Island Sound Study at 203-977-1546 or email him at [email protected]