Ecosystem Targets and Supporting Indicators
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Progress for reaching this target is behind schedule. In order to restore 515 acres by 2035, an average of 25 acres a year needs to be restored. Since 2015, 71.2 acres, or an average of 14.2 acres a year, have been restored.
Only one tidal wetlands restoration project, a 1.9-acre restoration in Alley Creek in Queens, was completed in 2019. Alley Creek is part of a Long Island Sound Stewardship Area.
Prior to 2014, restoration projects included several large projects of 50 acres and more that involved increasing tidal flow (such as by removing tidal gates) to create the conditions to restore degraded tidal wetland habitats. In futures years, the LISS Habitat Restoration Coordinators anticipate there will be fewer of these larger areas available for restoration.
Between 1998 and 2014, Long Island Sound Study partners have restored 985 acres of tidal wetland habitat in the study area.
About 52 percent of coastal habitat acres restored in Long Island Sound since 1998 is made up of tidal wetlands.
Restoration of many larger tidal wetland complexes has been completed. Future restorations will target more small, isolated wetlands. Sea level rise may impair the function of existing wetlands or change their area and location.
The Long Island Sound Study Habitat Restoration Coordinators track coastal habitat restoration projects that are in progress within the watershed by various partners and report the total acres restored annually.
For the purposes of this metric, a wetland is considered “restored” after completion of the construction phase. Restoration involves a successful effort to restore tidal flow (e.g., culvert enlargement, fill removal) and return native plants to the site (planting, invasive plant species removal).
Tidal wetlands are transitional zones between the land and submerged systems. These areas are dominated by rooted plants that are flooded by the tide. Healthy tidal wetlands help trap sediments, store floodwater, and reduce wave energy during storms. Two-thirds of all marine species depend on tidal wetlands for a portion of their life cycle.
The Long Island Sound Study has a database to track and describe every restoration project in the Connecticut and New York portions of the Long Island Sound watershed since 1998.
Victoria O’Neill, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, [email protected]
Harry Yamalis, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, [email protected]
CTDEEP, NYSDEC, and Long Island Sound Study Partners