The Sustainable and Resilient Communities extension professionals held their first bi-state workshop on Dec. 1, 2022. Stakeholders learned about opportunities to increase the resilience of coastal Long Island Sound communities to various environmental challenges. Videos of the workshop’s six sessions are available on YouTube. They can be accessed along with supporting documents here.
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.
The following ambitious, but achievable, ecosystem targets have been developed to drive progress toward attaining the Sustainable and Resilient Communities (SC) goal.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 the Sustainable and Resilient Communities theme.
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.
To learn how LISS is working to support increased resilience to climate change in your Long Island Sound community, contact a Connecticut or New York Sea Grant Extension Professional:
A Regional Needs Assessment to Help Build a Sustainable & Resilient Long Island Sound
This fact sheet highlights a needs assessment of coastal communities to better understand the environmental threats and hazards that they are most concerned about, what communities may already be doing to address these issues, and what barriers they are facing when it comes to implementing projects and taking action.
Here are the websites of some organizations around Long Island Sound that are helping communities learn how to protect their environmental resources:
Watch a video to see how concrete reef balls are helping to reestablish a salt marsh and protect the shoreline against sea-level rise. Read a report on the CIRCA website to find out what has been done since the reef balls were installed.