LI Sound's Sentinel Monitoring for Climate Change Program Launches
Long Island Sound Study - Press Release
Contact:

Antoinette Clemetson, Fisheries Specialist, NYSG, E: aoc5@cornell.edu, P: 631.727.3910
Larissa Graham, Long Island Sound Outreach Coordinator, NYSG, E: ljg85@cornell.edu, P: 631.632.9216

Stony Brook, NY, July 12, 2011 - A new strategy to determine climate change impacts to the Long Island Sound ecosystem has been developed. The Sentinel Monitoring for Climate Change Program in Long Island Sound is a multi-disciplinary scientific approach to provide early warning of climate change impacts to Long Island Sound ecosystems and species to facilitate appropriate and timely management decisions and adaptation responses. These warnings will be based on assessments of climate related changes to a list of significant climate change sentinels.

The goal of this strategy is to collect sentinel data to provide scientists and managers with the information necessary to prioritize climate change impacts and determine appropriate adaptation strategies. Climate change impacts include but are not limited to:

  • Loss or changes in ecosystem functions and processes
  • Disruption in fisheries, aquaculture and other economic commodities
  • Changes in species population dynamics, including both the loss of and introduction of new species

"Although one cannot control the impacts of climate change on the ecosystems within Long Island Sound, managers can use these data to develop suitable adaptation strategies," says New York Sea Grant's Antoinette Clemetson, NYSG's representative on a bi-state committee from Connecticut and New York appointed by the LIS Science Advisory Committee to prepare the program's strategic plan. A request for proposals is now being coordinated to fund a pilot study to implement the monitoring program.

A Long Island Sound climate change sentinel is defined as a measurable variable (whether an abiotic factor, a system, or species) in the Long Island Sound region that is likely to be affected by climate that can be tracked. To date, a list of core parameters including factors such as water and air temperature and pH, as well as a list of 37 sentinels has been developed with the sentinels divided into four categories:

  • Water Quality/Quantity
  • Pelagic/Benthic Systems and Associated Species
  • Fisheries of Long Island Sound and Associated River Systems
  • Coastal Habitats of Long Island Sound and Associated Species/Systems


A projection of Bluff Point in Connecticut under a scenario of 36 inches of sea level rise. Courtesy of Long Island Sound Study.


This strategy was developed through an extensive consultation process with researchers, managers and other groups in LIS. Funding was provided from EPA’s Long Island Sound Study and the Climate Ready Estuaries Program. A bi-state workgroup from Connecticut and New York - including the Connecticut and New York Sea Grant Programs, NOAA, EPA, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and New York Department of Environmental Conservation - began strategy development in 2008 and recently completed the strategy with input from researchers, technical experts and resource managers in the Long Island Sound area.

The final version of the sentinel monitoring strategy titled, "Sentinel Monitoring for Climate Change in the Long Island Sound Estuarine and Coastal Ecosystems of New York and Connecticut, Volume 1," can be downloaded from the Long Island Sound Study's related web page. The public is encouraged to review the plan and submit feedback.

New York Sea Grant, now in its 40th year, is a statewide network of integrated research, education, and extension services promoting the coastal economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness about the State's marine and Great Lakes resources. One of 32 university-based programs under the NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program, NYSG is a cooperative program of the State University of New York and Cornell University.

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