Cigarette butts. As part of the annual #DontTrashLISound summer campaign, the Long Island Sound Study creates a list of the top 10 litter items collected in both states by volunteers at LIS beaches. Since 2015, cigarette butts have been the top category on the list of trash collected.

Every fall, volunteers from all over the world, including in Long Island Sound, conduct coastal cleanups and report their findings to the Ocean Conservancy as part of the International Coastal Cleanup. The cleanups around Long Island Sound are coordinated by the American Littoral Society in New York and Save the Sound in Connecticut.

The Long Island Sound Study also compiles data on the amount of trash in pounds at these cleanups and the total trash collected/per mile for the Marine Debris Ecosystem Target. There is also a Marine Debris by Category supporting indicator, which includes cigarette butts as a category.

Cigarette and cigarette filter found on the beach at Sandy Point State Park, Maryland. NOAA photo
Cigarette and cigarette filter found on the beach at Sandy Point State Park, Maryland. NOAA photo

What is the most commonly found ocean litter? (


Jimena Perez-Viscasillas
[email protected]
NY Outreach Coordinator
New York Sea Grant

Alewives in the Peconic River. Photo by: Bryan Young
River herring in the Peconic River. (Photo Credit: Byron Young)

STONY BROOK, NY (February 16, 2021): Years ago, during the cold winter months of February and March, streams and rivers around Long Island Sound would be “painted silver” with the arrival of millions of river herring making their way upstream. River herring are diadromous fish, meaning they spend part of their life cycle in saltwater and part in freshwater. Similar to the salmon’s well-known trek upstream, river herrings journey from the ocean into freshwater bodies to reproduce. However, unlike salmon, river herring are not particularly skilled jumpers. So, as Long Island became more urbanized and dams and culverts were constructed in the area, river herring found their path upstream obstructed. This occurrence, in addition to other factors such as pollution and being caught as bycatch, led populations of this ecologically important fish to decline.

To address this issue, the Long Island Sound Study (LISS) and other local environmental management programs have been working for decades to re-open river miles. They do so by collaborating with local stakeholders and landowners to identify dams and culverts for potential removal or by helping fund the construction of “fish ladders,” structures that allow fish to swim over the dam. As of 2006, this work also includes conducting an annual fish survey to identify new potential streams to re-open and to find out if alewives are returning to the 415 river miles that LISS has re-opened in New York and Connecticut since 1998.

Volunteers participate in the survey and help monitor some of these rivers and streams after receiving basic training. This year, amidst Covid-19 restrictions, LISS and its partners are offering their annual monitoring training sessions virtually. The first webinar, open to volunteers in all regions of Long Island, will take place on February 25th at 5:30 pm as part of Community Science LI, an educational webinar series aimed at highlighting local volunteer monitoring efforts and their links to management and research. Volunteers will learn about the ecological importance of river herring, how to identify these traveling fish, and how monitoring makes a difference in local conservation. Additional training webinars are set to occur by region:

The monitoring program is a partnership between LISS, the Peconic Estuary Partnership, the South Shore Estuary Reserve, and the Seatuck Environmental Association.

For more information on upcoming trainings, message Victoria O’Neill at [email protected] or Jimena Perez-Viscasillas at [email protected].

Contact: Jimena Perez-Viscasillas, LISS NY Outreach Coordinator
Email: [email protected]

Click flyer to see an enlarged view.

Stony Brook, NY (June 15, 2020) — The Long Island Sound Study (LISS) and the Long Island Invasive Species Management Area (LIISMA) are partnering to host the first-ever Long Island Sound (LIS) Coastal Bioblitz, a two-week, semi-virtual event that encourages participants anywhere within Queens and the North Shore of Long Island to head outside to coastal habitats and help find and identify species using the citizen science app iNaturalist.

This community citizen-science event is part of New York Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW), an annual outreach campaign aimed at raising awareness about invasive species and the harm they can cause to the environment. LISS and LIISMA work to limit the emergence and spread of these species through ongoing monitoring, most of which takes place during the warm summer months with the help of volunteers. With group monitoring efforts being canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, local environmental groups are looking for citizen scientists to help monitor species by visiting coastal regions near them and logging their findings using their phones.  

In webinars offered during ISAW last week, Lindsay Charlop (LIISMA Field Project and Outreach Coordinator), Bill Jacobs (LIISMA Program Manager) and Jimena Perez-Viscasillas (LISS Outreach Coordinator for New York) offered training on how to use the iNaturalist app, also sharing information on the Long Island Sound, invasive species management in Long Island, and an orientation on the upcoming Bioblitz. A recording of the webinar can be accessed on the event’s Facebook page.

The LIS Coastal Bioblitz kicks off today, June 15, and will continue through June 26. Interested participants are encouraged to join the Facebook event page, where event organizers will be posting updates, resources, and educational information on species found by observers throughout the Bioblitz. This event is ideal for students, educators, and anyone interested in exploring the outdoors while contributing to local conservation issues.

To find out more about the LIS Coastal Bioblitz, visit the Facebook page or contact Jimena at [email protected]. For information on Invasive Species Awareness Week, visit

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