In Media: 'To Protect and Restore the Sound'
Long Island Sound (Research) - News

Research projects to promote the health of Long Island Sound and the waters around Greenwich Point will commence this spring. Credit: Greenwich Times

Research Projects Seek to Improve Water Quality

By Robert Marchant, CT Post / Greenwich Times / Shoreline Times

Greenwich, CT, February 21, 2021 - A multimillion-dollar research program will study water quality, seaweed formation, sedimentation, acid levels, pollution and other scientific topics associated with Long Island Sound, in an effort to make it a healthier ecosystem.

The Long Island Sound Study Research Grant Program is a partnership among Connecticut, New York and the federal government. Last week, the organization announced eight research projects that will be funded by $2.8 million in federal contributions from the Environmental Protection Agency. With matching grants from other environmental organizations, the value of the research package was assessed at more than $4.2 million.

The work will begin this spring and run for two years. Scientists, many of whom are affiliated with the University of Connecticut, will take a wide-ranging approach to the chemistry of Long Island Sound, its unique geography and its wildlife.

“This funding will advance ecological research and play a critical role in improving water quality and reducing pollution, providing lasting results for the wildlife and wetlands in the Sound for years to come,” said Deb Szaro, acting EPA regional administrator for New England.

The Sound Study Research program has been run by New York and Connecticut since 2008, and it has undertaken some 30 projects to better understand, and improve, the health of the waters of the Sound.

“More than 10 percent of Americans live within 50 miles of the Long Island Sound’s shores, where issues like nitrogen pollution threaten water quality, marine life and coastal resiliency. These projects reflect EPA’s longstanding commitment to developing solutions to protect and restore the Sound to healthy waters, benefiting surrounding communities environmentally, economically and recreationally,” said Walter Mugan, EPA Region 2 acting regional administrator.

According to Connecticut Sea Grant Director Sylvain De Guise, the latest research projects cover a wide range of scientific inquiry.

“These include novel approaches to understanding and managing Long Island Sound and reaching the goals of increased water quality that support productive ecosystems for the benefit of wildlife and humans. In my opinion, it is a very smart investment for long-term benefits,” she said.

Eight projects for the Sound

• "Can Watershed Land Use Legacies Inform Nitrogen Management?" which was awarded $487,391 and will examine the impact of historical land use practices in managing nitrogen.

• "Evaluating Thin Layer Placement in Long Island Sound Marshes Using a Multi-Scale Approach," which was awarded $470,969 and will assess different types of sediment for effective marsh rebuilding.

• "Can They Get Out? Assessing the Effects of Low Streamflow on Juvenile River Herring," which was awarded $231,013 and will identify barriers to the outmigration of juvenile alewife, a keystone species in the Sound's food chain.

• "Establishing Robust Bioindicators of Microplastics in Long Island Sound: Implications for Reliable Estimates of Concentration, Distribution and Impacts," which was awarded $301,150 and will examine how different types of marine life can contribute to efforts to quantify and remove pollutants. This research will examine the use of slipper snails, tunicates and oysters as bioindicators of the concentrations and impacts of microplastics.

• "Quantifying the Ability of Seaweed Aquaculture in Long Island Sound to Remove Nitrogen, Combat Ocean Acidification, Improve Water Quality and Benefit Bivalves," which was awarded $238,933 and will measure the ability of cultured seaweed and shellfish to remove nitrogen, combat ocean acidification, improve water quality and benefit aquaculture.

• "Constraining Models of Metabolism and Ventilation of Bottom Water in Long Island Sound Using Oxygen Isotopes," which was awarded $694,386 and will examine factors that influence recovery from hypoxia (low oxygen).

• "Improving Eelgrass Restoration Success by Manipulating the Sediment Iron Cycle," which was awarded $323,404 and will evaluate methods to overcome sediment conditions that may impede eelgrass recovery.

• "Alkalinity of Long Island Sound Embayments," which was awarded $131,088 and will evaluate the vulnerability of embayments to changes in acidity that can be harmful to shellfish and other marine life.

More Info: Long Island Sound Study

Long Island Sound is one of the 28 nationally designated estuaries under the National Estuary Program (NEP), which was established by Congress in 1987 to improve the quality of Long Island Sound and other places where rivers meet the sea. 

The Long Island Sound Study is a cooperative effort sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the states of Connecticut and New York to restore and protect the Sound and its ecosystems. The restoration work is guided by a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan under four themes: Clean Waters and Healthy Watersheds; Thriving Habitats and Abundant Wildlife; Sustainable and Resilient Communities; and Sound Science and Management.

For more on what you can do to make a difference, click over to the "Get Involved" or "Stewardship" sections of the Long Island Sound Study's website. News on the Long Island Sound Study can also be found in New York Sea Grant's related archives.

If you would like to receive Long Island Sound Study's newsletter, please visit their site's homepage and sign up for the "e-news/print newsletter" under the "Stay Connected" box.

More Info: Connecticut Sea Grant
Connecticut Sea Grant (CTSG), located at the UConn Avery Point campus, is a state and federal partnership funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Connecticut. CTSG, which in 2019 celebrated its 30th anniversary as a Sea Grant College Program, works to achieve thriving coastal and marine ecosystems and communities by supporting local and national research, outreach and education programs. CTSG accomplishes this by providing objective, science-based information to encourage individuals and organizations to make informed decisions, communicating scientific findings in a practical manner helpful to diverse audiences, and helping others balance the use and conservation of coastal ecosystems. Ultimately CTSG’s activities increase the resilience of the coastal communities, economies and ecosystems.

The program has three foci: research, outreach, and education. Outreach efforts include the CTSG Extension Program, and its Communications Program. The program also has an administrative staff committed to promoting understanding of the Sea Grant mission.

For more, visit

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, University at Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Elmsford and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly.

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