Ecosystem Targets and Supporting Indicators

Protected Open Space

Conserve an additional 4,000 acres of Connecticut land and 3,000 acres of New York land within the Long Island Sound coastal boundary by 2035, while maintaining or increasing the total area of protected land.

Show/Hide Table Data

Long Island Sound Coastal Area Protected as Open Space
YearAcres Protected (CT)Acres Protected (NY)Acres Protected (CT and NY)Cumulative Total (acres)
Acres Protected Since 2014
YearAcres Protected (CT)Acres Protected (NY)Acres Protected (CT and NY)Cumulative TotalPercentage Towards 2035 Target (7,000 more acres)
2014 (baseline)00000

Status and Trends

Progress for reaching this target is ahead of schedule. In order to meet the 2035 target, an average of 200 acres of Connecticut land and 150 acres of New York land needs to be protected each year (through acquisitions or easements) from 2015-2034. Since 2015, an average of 468  Connecticut acres and 140 New York acres have been protected each year.

In 2021, 14 properties were reported as protected, a total of 483 acres.

Since the beginning of 2015, more than 4,000 acres in the Long Island Sound coastal boundary have been protected. As of 2021, the Long Island Sound Study was 66.1 percent towards its 2035 land conservation target.

Within the Long Island Sound coastal habitat boundary, nearly 7,400 acres have been protected since 2006. More than half of the total have been protected since 2015.


Conservation of new land around Long Island Sound is limited to the number of remaining open space properties available for purchase and the high cost of purchasing land in the Long Island Sound watershed.

Tracking land protection is dependent on the reporting of our land protection partners. While the State’s purchase land for protection and these can be easily tracked, it is also important to reach out to NGO land protection groups that acquire and purchase the development rights to properties within the Long Island Sound coastal watershed.

How is This Target Measured?

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP), land protection organizations, and other partners track land purchases and agreements within the Long Island Sound coastal watershed. 

This target was determined by reviewing and averaging the total number of acres acquired each year and reported by the Long Island Sound Study Habitat Restoration Coordinators to the National Estuary Program Online Reporting Tool (NEPORT). The total number of acres acquired each year (includes acres acquired by all possible land acquisition entities: state, municipal, and land conservation organizations) for the last eight years (2007-2014), within the Long Island Sound coastal watershed, was analyzed.


Protecting open space preserves natural and undeveloped areas for the purpose of maintaining a vital ecosystem and/or providing natural resource-based recreational opportunities.

Additional Information

The Long Island Sound Study has a database that describes many new open space properties as well as track and describes every restoration project in the Connecticut and New York portions of the Long Island Sound watershed since 1998.


Victoria O’Neill, NYSDEC
[email protected]

Harry Yamalis, CT DEEP
[email protected]

Source of Data

CT DEEP, NYSDEC, and Long Island Sound Study partners

Data Notes

  • The technical explanation on how the target was selected is found in Appendix B of the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan.

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