Status & Trends

Ecosystem Targets
and Supporting Indicators

Ecosystem Targets

The following ambitious, but achievable ecosystem targets have been developed to help drive progress toward attaining goals established in the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan:

Clean Waters and Healthy Watersheds

Clean Water and Healthy Watershed ecosystem targets track progress towards attaining the goal of improving water quality by reducing contaminant and nutrient loads from the land and the waters impacting Long Island Sound.

Extent of Hypoxia

Target: Measurably reduce the area of hypoxia in Long Island Sound from pre-2000 Dissolved Oxygen TMDL averages to increase attainment of water quality standards for dissolved oxygen by 2035, as measured by the five-year running average size of the zone. View Ecosystem Target

Nitrogen Loading

Attain wastewater treatment facility nitrogen loading at the recommended 2000 Dissolved Oxygen Total Maximum Daily Load allocation level by 2017 and maintain the loading cap. Have all practices and measures installed to attain the allocations for stormwater and nonpoint source inputs from the entire watershed by 2025. View Ecosystem Target

Water Clarity

Improve water clarity by 2035 to support healthy eelgrass communities and attainment of the eelgrass extent target. View Ecosystem Target

Impervious Cover

Through green infrastructure, low impact development, and stormwater disconnections, decrease by 10 percent the effective area of impervious cover in the Connecticut and New York portions of the watershed by 2035 relative to 2010 baseline. View Ecosystem Target

Riparian Buffer Extent

Increase the percent area of natural vegetation within 300 feet of any stream or lake in the Connecticut and New York portions of the Long Island Sound watershed to 75% (1,030 square miles of natural vegetation) by 2035 from 2010 baseline of 65%. View Ecosystem Target

Approved Shellfish Areas

Upgrade 5% of the acreage currently restricted or closed for shellfishing by 2035 from a 2014 baseline. View Ecosystem Target

Sediment Quality Index

Reduce the area of impaired sediment in Long Island Sound by 20% by 2035 from 2006 baseline. View Ecosystem Target

Thriving Habitats and Abundant Wildlife

Thriving Habitats and Abundant Wildlife ecosystem targets track progress towards attaining the goal of restoring and protecting the Sound's ecological balance in a healthy, productive, and resilient state to benefit both people and the natural environment.

Coastal Habitat Extent

Restore 350 acres of coastal habitat by 2020 and a total of 3,000 acres by 2035 from a 2014 baseline. View Ecosystem Target

Eelgrass Extent

Restore and maintain an additional 2,000 acres of eelgrass by 2035 from a 2012 baseline of 1,893. View Ecosystem Target

Tidal Wetlands Restored

Restore an additional 515 acres of tidal wetlands by 2035 from a 2014 baseline. View Ecosystem Target

River Miles Restored for Fish Passage

Open 200 additional miles of fish riverine migratory corridors in the Connecticut and New York portions of the watershed by 2035 from a 2014 baseline of 307.76 miles. View Ecosystem Target

Shellfish Harvested

Increase the harvest of oysters, clams, and scallops in the Sound through a combination of habitat management and shellfish aquaculture. View Ecosystem Target

Habitat Connectivity

Increase connectivity of coastal habitat by 2035 by restoring and/or protecting habitat patches that increase biodiversity and support migratory pathways. View Ecosystem Target

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. View Ecosystem Target

Sustainable and Resilient Communities

Sustainable and Resilient Communities ecosystem targets track progress towards attaining the goal of supporting vibrant, informed, and engaged communities that use, appreciate, and help protect Long Island Sound.

Waterfront Community Resiliency and Sustainability

All coastal municipalities have prepared plans for shoreline resiliency and infrastructure sustainability and resiliency by 2025, with all future development compliant with those plans by 2035. View Ecosystem Target

Harbor and Bay Navigability

Maintain all federal navigation channels in harbors and bays and manage dredged material in a cost effective and environmentally sound manner, consistent with a bi-state Dredged Material Management Plan, by 2035. View Ecosystem Target

Public Engagement and Knowledge

Increase the knowledge and engagement of the public in the protection and/or restoration of Long Island Sound. View Ecosystem Target

Public Beach Closures

Reduce by 50% the number of beaches reporting at least one closure day or the total number of beach-day closures per monitored beach due to water quality impairments by 2035 compared to a five-year rolling average from 2014. View Ecosystem Target

Marine Debris

Decrease the mass of marine debris in Long Island Sound by 2035, using as a metric a decrease from the 2013 baseline of 475 pounds of debris collected per mile during the fall International Coastal Cleanup. View Ecosystem Target

Public Access to Beaches and Waterways

Increase the number of public access points accessible by the public to the Sound and its rivers by at least 10 percent by 2035. View Ecosystem Target

Please complete your newsletter signup.