Ecosystem Targets and Supporting Indicators
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Progress for reaching this target is ahead of schedule for New York and meeting goal for Connecticut. In 2022, Connecticut met their 4,000-acre target as 4,292.5 acres has been protected since 2015. In order to meet the 2035 target, an average of 160 acres of New York land needs to be protected each year (through acquisitions or easements) from 2015-2034. Since 2015, an average of 482.74 Connecticut acres and 119.36 New York acres have been protected each year.
In 2023, 16 properties were reported as protected, a total of 184.10 acres.
Since 2006, more than 8,100 acres have been protected. More than 4,600 acres in the Long Island Sound coastal boundary have been protected since the ecosystem target was introduced in 2015. As of 2023, the Long Island Sound Study was 77.5 percent towards its 2035 land conservation target.
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.
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.
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]
CT DEEP, NYSDEC, and Long Island Sound Study partners