Long Island Sound is a national treasure, to be prized for its beauty, abundant and diverse resources, and recreational and commercial opportunities. For many, it is a source of inspiration and renewal. For others, it is the basis of economic survival. In spite of differing perspectives, people share a conviction that Long Island Sound is worthy of preservation, restoration, and protection.
That conviction was reflected in a pledge signed on March 28, 1988 by elected officials and representatives of the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as part of the formal designation ceremony of Long Island Sound into the National Estuary Program. The pledge declared that:
The Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan identifies six problems that merit special attention: (1) low dissolved oxygen (hypoxia), (2) toxic contamination, (3) pathogen contamination, (4) floatable debris, (5) the impact of these water quality problems, and habitat degradation and loss, on the health of living resources, and (6) land use and development resulting in habitat loss and degradation of water quality. The plan integrates the solutions to the priority problems through specific commitments and recommendations for actions that will improve water quality, protect habitat and living resources, educate and involve the public, improve the long-term understanding of how to manage the Sound, monitor progress, and direct management efforts. The fate of Long Island Sound and its ability to provide a wide range of benefits to the people of Connecticut, New York, and the nation depends upon our being able to act in accordance with the plan.
Representing the federal government and the states of Connecticut and New York, we recognize that protecting and restoring the Sound requires that it be managed as an integrated ecosystem, defined by the watershed and waters that surround it, not the political boundaries that divide it. We further recognize that Long Island Sound provides enormous social and economic value to the region and that investments made to protect and restore it can improve the quality of life of people in the region and benefit the economy as well. Now, with completion of the management plan, we are at an important turning point in our efforts.
Therefore, we agree, this day of September 26, 1994, to:
(The agreement was signed by Connecticut Lieutenant Governor Eunice S. Groark, New York Governor Mario M. Cuomo, and Carol M. Browner, Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency.)