The Science Needs Document is a comprehensive summary of the science support needed to meet the management goals of the Long Island Sound Study (LISS). It has been developed based on the input from a diverse array of LISS partners. It is structured around the Themes and Ecosystem Targets of the 2015 Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). This is a broad reference document that is meant to highlight needs but not to specify the top priorities and is subject to continuous revision to incorporate new information.

The Living Shoreline project at Stratford Point, CT, has involved installing concrete reef balls in the water to disrupt wave energy, helping to prevent the shoreline from eroding and protecting newly planted saltmarsh grass. The project has received support from the Futures Fund.

The National Fish and Wildlife Found announced on March 23 the release of the updated and enhanced 2020 Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Long Island Sound Futures Fund grant program. The deadline to apply is June 2, 2020.

Approximately $3 million is available for planning or implementation of environmental projects in the Long Island Sound watershed (Connecticut and New York and the upper New England states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The grant range is from $5,000 to $500,000.

Connecticut and New York grants are available for:

  • Clean Waters and Healthy Watersheds – projects to reduce nutrient loading, combined sewer overflows, stormwater runoff, and nonpoint source loading.  
  • Sustainable and Resilient Communities – projects to increase the knowledge and engagement of the public in the protection and restoration of the Sound.  
  • Community Coastal Resilience – projects to enhance coastal resilience with natural and green-gray infrastructure. 
  • Thriving Habitats and Abundant Wildlife – projects to restore coastal habitats and foster fish and wildlife in the coastal boundaries of CT and NY.

Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont grants are available for:

  • Water quality projects whose primary purpose is to prevent or reduce nitrogen loading such as enhancing riparian forested buffer/channel, in-stream restoration, reducing agricultural runoff, low- cost retrofits at wastewater treatment facilities, etc.

Check out the RFP on the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation website.

Register for a Webinar! RFP Updates & Enhancements!
NY and CT Applicants: Register Here
MA, NH, and VT Applicants: Register Here
Share a Project Idea! Questions?
Send a paragraph or two describing who, what, where, when, why, and approximately how much or send along with questions to [email protected].

The Long Island Sound Study initiated the LISFF in 2005 through EPA’s Long Island Sound Office and NFWF. To date, the Futures Fund has invested $22 million in 451 projects. The program has generated an additional $39 million in grantee match, for a total conservation impact of $62 million for regional and local projects. The projects have reconnected 176 miles of river for fish passage, restored 1,114 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat and open space, treated 212 million gallons of stormwater pollution, and educated and engaged 4.9 million people in protection and restoration of the Sound. Learn more about the Long Island Sound projects in the grants section.

*The availability of estimated funds is contingent upon the federal appropriations process and does not commit future appropriations. Funding decisions are made based on the funding level and time of when funds are received by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The new website replaces a format designed in 2010.

Stamford, CT (March 23) – The Long Island Sound Study today launched a new design for its website that will make it easier to communicate the efforts of the federal, state, and local partners to restore and protect Long Island Sound, an estuary of national significance.  Estuaries, waterbodies where saltwater from the ocean mixes with fresh water from rivers draining from the land, are among the most productive ecosystems on Earth.

With the new design, the website has been reorganized to better display the actions that are taking place to achieve goals under the four themes of the Long Island Sound Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan: Clean Waters and Healthy Watersheds, Thriving Habitats and Abundant Wildlife, Sustainable and Resilient Communities, and Sound Science and Inclusive Management. New features include project Spotlights, a blog on personal stories about Long Island Sound, and descriptions of projects being implemented through the Long Island Sound Futures Fund grant program. There also are story maps on the Long Island Sound Study’s priority habitats and water quality monitoring, articles on the use of the harvesting of seaweed and shellfish to improve water quality, and a slide show and video of Long Island Sound’s Seafloor Mapping program.

The new design also will make it easier to view existing features such as the Long Island Sound Study Ecosystem Targets and Supporting Indicators, the Long Island Sound Study Stewardship Area Atlas, and slide shows on what makes Long Island Sound special.

The website,, was redesigned by Taylor Design, a Stamford-based marketing company specializing in graphic and web design solutions. Taylor Design also worked on the last major redesign of the website in 2010, which won several design awards. The new design takes advantage of modern features that will make it easier to read and navigate web pages, to view higher resolution images and video, and to adapt to screens from mobile phones to large-screen monitors. The website also uses the latest content management software to make it easier for Long Island Sound Study’s staff to update information on the site.

In the 1980s there was widespread concern about water quality conditions in Long Island Sound, including the lack of sufficient oxygen for the Sound’s marine life. To fully restore the health of the Sound, it was decided that a cooperative effort focusing on the overall ecosystem was needed. As a result, EPA, New York, and Connecticut formed the Long Island Sound Study 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.

Judy talks pollinators with renowned authority Mary Ellen Lemay, the originator of the Pollinator Pathway project. Learn more on the iCRV website.

Connecticut Sea Grant’s Judy Preston, who is the Long Island Sound Study Outreach Coordinator for Connecticut, is on the air and on online streaming! Judy is the host of a new radio show on the iCRV internet radio station in the CT River Valley. The “Gardening for Good” show strives to make connections between good gardening practices and protecting local streams and Long Island Sound.

Sugar kelp is a cold-weather brown algal species of seaweed that grows in the winter and is harvested in spring. It also is being tested this year in three bioextraction projects to investigate if seaweed can be cultivated in Long Island Sound and other regional waters to improve water quality. Sugar kelp is useful as a ‘bioextractor’ in urban waters. Kelp extracts excess nutrients, such as nitrogen, from the water column and stores it in its tissues so there is less nitrogen available for spring algal blooms, which in excess can harm the Sound’s water quality. By harvesting the kelp in the springtime, the nutrients that cause excess algae growth are also removed.

This winter, three projects involving kelp farming that are also nutrient bioextraction pilot projects are taking place in Long Island and Connecticut waters. Two of those pilot projects, with funding provided in part by the Long Island Sound Futures Fund, are located in Long Island Sound. The third project is located in Long Island Bays (Great South Bay and Reynold’s Channel) and is being funded in part by the Long Island Community Foundation. Nelle D’Aversa, the Long Island Sound Bioextraction Coordinator, is providing technical expertise. Information on the three projects is available in the bioextraction web pages on the Long Island Sound Study website.

Photo by Nelle D’Aversa.   

Home page photo: Sixto Portilla, owner of Open Water Enterprises, LLC, seeds long lines with juvenile sugar kelp at part of a nutrient bioextraction pilot study supported by the LISS Bioextraction Coordinator. Portilla is an experienced commercial shellfish grower who is interested in diversifying into seaweed aquaculture.

This article, a news release from  Dec. 16, 2019, was written and distributed by Save the Sound, which is partnering with New York State to restore wetlands at Sunken Meadow State Park, a Long Island Sound Stewardship site in Kings Park, New York.

Restoration of 135 Acres of Salt Marsh Span More than 7 years

Save the Sound and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (NYS Parks) have completed the final phase of improvements designed to restore and protect 135 acres of salt marsh in Sunken Meadow State Park, which is visited by more than 3 million New Yorkers a year. The project was laid out in the Sunken Meadow Comprehensive Resilience and Restoration Plan, a multi-million-dollar effort to restore the park’s long-compromised marsh ecosystem and enhance its ability to deal with coastal storms.

“This project broke new ground for us as an organization, and for restoration practices in the region,” said Gwen Macdonald, director of ecological restoration for Save the Sound. “This was a complex endeavor that required close cross-sector collaboration over many years to ensure that our interventions were appropriate to encourage restoration of this threatened ecosystem. The way Sunken Meadow Creek and the salt marsh have responded is a testament to the resilience of nature and the impact that competent, decisive, unified action can have on the ability of natural systems to restore themselves.”

In addition to continuing efforts to control the invasive Phragmites australis reed and restore native grasses to dominance, the final phase of work included the retrofit of 16.6 acres of a parking lot with green infrastructure (GI). These improvements included two constructed wetlands, eight bioswales, and several tree filter strips—totaling about 8.6 acres of permeable, green infrastructure that will capture and treat approximately 8.5 million gallons of stormwater each year. The entire parking area (known as Field 2) is now under Best Management Practices for stormwater.

Sunken Meadow Creek and adjoining saltwater wetlands were cut off from the tidal flow of Long Island Sound in the 1950s by a man-made barrier, turning the area into a freshwater marsh. This caused marsh die-off while drastically altering its ecosystem and species composition. After Hurricane Sandy breached the barrier and re-opened the channel to saltwater flow in 2012, Save the Sound began work to aid the marsh in its
recovery, with support from federal grants.

Since then, more than 4.3 acres of marsh have been directly restored by engaging hundreds of volunteers in planting native grasses at carefully chosen places throughout the marsh, and/or regrading certain areas to create better habitat for those grasses. The parking lot retrofits will help to protect the restored marsh from harmful pollutants as native species return and begin to thrive.

Volunteers removing invasive Phragmites australis and planting native Spartina alterniflora
Post-construction photo of Field 2 at Sunken Meadow | Photo © Rebecca Grella 2019

Now that the parking lot transformation is complete, there is only one thing left to do— celebrate. NYS Parks will be installing educational signage around the Field 2 parking area ahead of a celebratory event next spring.

Meanwhile, Save the Sound is looking ahead to the next project in the area. Where Sunken Meadow Creek meets Long Island Sound, it also meets the mouth of the Nissequogue River. A little way upstream on that river, the Phillips Millpond Dam blocks the passage of migratory fish. In the coming months, many of the same partners from the Sunken Meadow State Park project will begin work on a project to restore access to spawning habitat upstream of that dam.

Funding for the Sunken Meadow State Park restoration project was provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior and administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation as part of the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program, with additional funding provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.


More information on the Sunken Meadow Comprehensive Resilience and Restoration Plan:

  • sunken-meadow-park/
  • sunken-meadow-park-part-ii/

The April 28-29th workshop to learn how to develop effective environmental campaigns using Community-Based Social Marketing techniques was postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak. The Long Island Sound Study is looking forward to rescheduling the event soon.

In 2013 the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk created the “Keeping the Sound Healthy” a community-based social marketing campaign to encourage the adoption of activities that protect water quality. Learn more about this project and others on the Promoting Sustainable Behavior Change web page.

Contact: Robert Burg, LISS Communications Coordinator
Phone: 203-977-1546/email: [email protected]

Stamford, CT, Feb. 18, 2020—Registration has opened today for an educational workshop targeted to environmental managers and advocates of Long Island Sound and its rivers and streams. The spring training focuses on developing effective environmental behavior change campaigns.

Workshop participants will receive a free copy of Dr. McKenzie-Mohr’s book on developing social marketing campaigns.

The two-day workshop, which will be held at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, is being led by Dr. Doug McKenzie-Mohr, an internationally known environmental psychologist. Dr. McKenzie-Mohr will explain the steps to conduct Community-Based Social Marketing (CBSM), a method that incorporates scientific knowledge on behavior change into the design and delivery of locally-based outreach campaigns. Attendees will learn how to select the most impactful behaviors, identify the barriers and benefits to change, pilot-test a campaign, and make improvements for broad-scale implementation. Lessons will be based on numerous case studies illustrating CBSM’s use.  More than 75,000 program managers have attended Dr. McKenzie-Mohr’s workshops throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. This will be his first in the Long Island Sound region.

Traditional environmental campaigns rely on information to try to persuade people to change their behaviors, such as providing a brochure explaining how over-fertilizing a lawn can lead to poor water quality.

“There is a lot of evidence that providing information by itself is not enough to motivate people to improve their environmental practices,” said Holly Drinkuth, co-chair of the Long Island Sound Citizens Advisory Committee and Director of Outreach and Watershed Projects for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. “We are excited that Dr. McKenzie-Mohr will be here to take us through the steps that lead to successful campaigns and meaningful change.”

“A CBSM pilot project conducted in the Niantic River watershed, led by the Long Island Sound Study in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the Niantic River Watershed Committee, demonstrated that people are willing to change behaviors when they are asked to by a trusted local entity,” said Judy Rondeau, coordinator for the Niantic River Watershed Committee and Assistant Director of the Eastern Connecticut Conservation District. “Over 70 percent of homeowners agreed in the pilot to participate in our campaign, which encouraged homeowners to reduce or eliminate the use of lawn fertilizer.”

Workshop Details

Date: April 28-29, 2020
Location: Hanson Exploration Station, Beardsley Zoo, 1875 Noble Ave., Bridgeport, CT
Registration: $75 (Feb. 18-April 6); $95 (April 7-April 17). Registration closes on April 17 at midnight, or when capacity is reached.

A link to register is below, or find it on the Long Island Sound Study workshop web page  (at where you can also find more information about the workshop, including an agenda and a biography of Dr. McKenzie-Mohr.

Attendance is limited to participants who work for organizations in the Long Island Sound watershed from CT and NY. If you work outside the region, please contact Audra Martin at [email protected] before completing your registration.


The Long Island Sound Study is pleased to offer this workshop at a reduced rate. Early registration is recommended as only 50 seats are available.

The Long Island Sound Study is a multi-jurisdictional ecosystem-based management program that works with federal, state, and local partners to restore and protect Long Island Sound. NEIWPCC, with support from The Nature Conservancy-Connecticut and the Eastern Connecticut Conservation District, is organizing the workshop.

This project has been funded wholly or in part by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under assistance agreement LI-00A00384 to NEIWPCC. The contents of this workshop do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the EPA, nor does the EPA endorse trade names or recommend the use of commercial products mentioned in relation to this workshop.

Throughout most of the year wind and tidal mixing bring much needed dissolved oxygen to the Sound’s bottom waters. However, rising summer temperatures coupled with increased respiration from microbes (a consequence of excess nitrogen in the water) can deplete the bottom layer, resulting in summer hypoxia (dissolved oxygen levels below 3 mg/L). The increasing temperatures also limit the diffusion of oxygen to the bottom waters and the amount of oxygen the bottom layer can hold.  The resulting hypoxia stresses fish and other wildlife. Toward the late summer, when temperatures start to cool and winds mix the surface and bottom waters, oxygen levels rebound.  Open the story map prepared by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to see a time series of monthly changes to the oxygen levels of the Sound in 2014.

Building a Wetland to Capture Nitrogen and Improve Water Quality

A nitrogen-reducing wetland has replaced decades-old cesspools at the office and residential complex at The Nature Conservancy’s Uplands Farm Sanctuary in Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. The plant-based wastewater treatment system will convert harmful nitrogen in raw wastewater into a harmless gas. Nitrogen pollution is to blame for numerous water quality issues on Long Island including harmful algal blooms that kill fish and make it unsafe to use affected ponds and lakes for recreation and shellfishing. Watch the video to see how it was done. To learn more, read a description of the project from TNC’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund award or read a fact sheet.

Project: Demonstrating Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems for Clean Water at Uplands Farm Sanctuary

Grantee: The Nature Conservancy, Long Island
The Nature Conservancy, Long Island will construct and publicize the results of the first nitrogen-reducing vegetated wastewater treatment system in Cold Spring Harbor, Suffolk County, New York.  The project demonstrates a system that treats wastewater in a natural manner, reduces nitrogen discharges, and safely removes pathogens providing an alternative to traditional waste treatment in cesspools which contributes nitrogen and other pollutants into Long Island Sound. The project will install a vegetated wastewater treatment system at an office and residential complex in Cold Spring Harbor, and publicize this attractive, plant-based treatment method in Suffolk County, New York.  Excess nitrogen is a threat to the health of Long Island Sound.  A  Nitrogen Loading Model assessment found that nitrogen from septic systems/cesspools is the major land-based source of nitrogen in 12 of 13 Sound watersheds from Little Neck Bay to Northport Bay, including the Cold Spring Harbor watershed where Uplands Farm is located.  The project will: 1) sample soil and groundwater pre-construction to assess the quantity of nitrogen leaving the current cesspools and determine baseline levels in the area where the new system will be located; 2) Sample post-construction to determine nitrogen reduction; and 3) install a hybrid moving bed bio-reactor and a constructed wetland using native plants to handle follows of 1,000 gallons per day.  The system size can be adjusted to adapt to larger-flow homes, clusters of homes, or offices. The plantings provide botanical for nitrification, which will be followed by de-nitrification. A drain field for effluent will further absorb nitrogen; and 4) publicize through site visits, signage, short videos, social and traditional media, and conference presentations. The project will reduce nitrogen in the effluent to nearly zero, and by at least 90 percent resulting in a reduction of at least 150 pounds of nitrogen annually.

iCRV internet radio owner Dave Williams introduces LISS Outreach Coordinator Judy Preston as the host for the station’s new Gardening for Good show. Judy gives an overview of all she will cover in her new program and the resources available to advanced and beginning gardeners. Judy also talks about the role of the Long Island Sound Study and Connecticut Sea Grant in helping to protect Long Island Sound.

Connecticut Sea Grant’s Judy Preston, who is the Long Island Sound Study Outreach Coordinator for Connecticut, is on the air and on online streaming! Judy is the host of a new radio show on the iCRV internet radio station in the CT River Valley. The “Gardening for Good” show strives to make connections between good gardening practices and protecting local streams and Long Island Sound.

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