Long Island Sound Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan

Sustainable and Resilient Communities


Goal

Support vibrant, informed, and engaged communities that use, appreciate, and help protect Long Island Sound.


The coastal counties in Connecticut and New York bordering Long Island Sound have the second-highest population density in the northeast, second only to those bordering New York/New Jersey Harbor. Local government decisions affecting development, land use, and population density have a strong impact on water and habitat quality in the Sound and its tributaries. Ultimately, local government leadership, private sector engagement, community organization empowerment, and individual stewardship are vital to efforts to restore the Sound.

Long Island Sound has a venerable maritime heritage. Important marine trades such as shipbuilding, transportation, and fishing mingle with many recreational, residential, and commercial uses of its dynamic shorelines and waters. The economy, culture, and environment all interact to influence the quality of life in the communities around the Sound.

The Sustainable and Resilient Communities theme emphasizes that restoring Long Island Sound can increase human appreciation, use, and enjoyment of the resource. It emphasizes that there are opportunities to redefine normal, accepted practices in a sustainability framework and instill them in our culture. What becomes customary should contribute to our economy and lifestyle while protecting the Long Island Sound ecosystem. Communities and businesses that use less energy to produce needed goods and services can save money and reduce their carbon footprint while improving public health and the environment. Residential landscapes that are more compatible with our climate and water resources cost less money and require less time than traditional yards. Resilient shorelines that include stable areas of tidal wetlands and dunes will help to prevent shoreline erosion and protect built infrastructure and are necessary for the long-term sustainability of these uses. It is critical to the health and sustainability of the Sound to engage the communities that use the Sound to understand, appreciate, and protect it. The Sustainable and Resilient Communities theme addresses the need to support vibrant, informed, and engaged communities as stewards of the resource.

Ecosystem Targets

The following ambitious, but achievable, ecosystem targets have been developed to drive progress toward attaining the Sustainable and Resilient Communities (SC) goal.

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 Waterfront Community Resiliency and Sustainability Environmental Indicator

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 Harbor and Bay Navigability Environmental Indicator

Public Engagement and Knowledge

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

View Public Engagement and Knowledge Environmental Indicator

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 Public Beach Closures Environmental Indicator

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 Marine Debris Indicator

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 Public Access to Beaches and Waterways Indicator

Challenges

  • Coastal properties are at risk from rising waters and more intense or frequent storm events.
  • Environmental protection and economic development are not fully integrated into local community planning and development.
  • Building environmental stewardship for urban waters.

Solutions

  • Support coastal communities in developing and adopting resiliency plans.
  • Coastal communities integrate transportation, conservation of energy and water, and pollution control policies through sustainable development plans.
  • Fully involve underserved communities and respond to their needs and perspectives.

What’s Being Done

Click the menus below to find examples of actions that are being taken around Long Island Sound to achieve specific environmental outcomes, an important step toward meeting  the Management Plan’s ecosystem targets and the goal of Clean Waters and Healthy Watersheds.

Desired Outcome: Citizens are informed about the ecological health of the Sound and opportunities to explore and appreciate its resources.
Desired Outcome: Youth understand the ecology of the Sound and explore the coast with hands-on activities.
  • Through grant programs such as the Long Island Sound Futures Fund, partner organizations receive funding to provide youth with opportunities to learn about and explore the Sound. Learn more in the engaging communities web page.
  • The Long Island Sound Mentor Teacher Program provides training to teachers on how to teach their student about the ecological health of the Sound. Learn more in the Get Involved section.
Desired Outcome: Citizens learn how to practice behaviors around their home and community that improve the health of the Sound.
Desired Outcome: New and existing development is is designed to be sustainable and resilient.
Desired Outcome: Public Access and economic activiities along the waterfront are enhanced, balanced, and resilient.

State agencies provide guidance to local communities, including the New York State Department of State’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. Learn more on the NYSDOS website.

For More Information
The full description of the actions, strategies, objective and outcomes for Long Island Sound Study can be found in the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan.

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