Since the federal Clean Water Act became law in 1972, investments in water pollution control programs have led to measurable improvements in the water quality of Long Island Sound. Obvious sources of pollution were controlled through permit programs. Tidal wetlands were protected, wastewater treatment plants improved, and industrial discharges controlled.
However, to fully restore the health of the Sound, a cooperative effort focusing on the overall ecosystem was needed. As a result, EPA, New York, and Connecticut formed the Long Island Sound Study (LISS) in 1985, a bi-state partnership consisting of federal and state agencies, user groups, concerned organizations, and individuals dedicated to restoring and protecting the Sound. In 1994, the LISS developed a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan to protect and restore Long Island Sound. This plan was updated in 2015 with ambitious targets to drive further progress through 2035.
LISS’s partners have made significant strides in implementing the plan, giving priority to reducing nutrient (nitrogen) loads, habitat restoration, public involvement and education, and water quality monitoring.
To continue progress, LISS’s partners in 2015 totally revised the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan to address ongoing and new challenges. The 2015 plan is organized around four themes, each with an overall goal:
The plan sets 20 ambitious, but achievable ecosystem targets for these goals and identifies detailed strategies and actions to drive progress to attain them.
Is Long Island Sound getting better? Are fish and wildlife populations more abundant? Answers to these questions and more are in the Long Island Sound Ecosystem Targets and Supporting Indicators section of the LISS website. The indicators provide a snapshot of current conditions and trends in the Sound as well as progress in achieving targets to improve water quality, restore habitats, and increase community engagement to improve the overall health of the Sound. The complete set of ecosystem targets and indicators can be accessed here.
Management Committee members and LISS staff on board the Port Jefferson to Bridgeport ferry following a quarterly meeting in Port Jefferson.