New Web Site of Long Island Sound Seafloor Habitats Now Available
Long Island Sound Study - Press Release


Images taken in May 2018 as part of the Long Island Sound Habitat Mapping Initiative.

Contacts:

Tayler Covington, U.S. EPA Region 2, E: covington.tayler@epa.gov, P: 212-637-3662

John Senn, U.S. EPA Region 1, E: senn.john@epa.gov, P: 617-918-1019

Ivar G. Babb, University of Connecticut, Department of Marine Sciences, E: babb@uconn.edu, P: 860-405-9121

Groton, CT, April 22, 2019 - In honor of Earth Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Long Island Sound Study (LISS) and the University of Connecticut’s (UCONN) Department of Marine Sciences are announcing the publication of the Long Island Sound Habitat Mapping Initiative website.

The Long Island Sound Habitat Mapping Initiative is a federal, state and academic partnership using cutting-edge technologies to collect data and develop advanced seafloor maps to make better-informed decisions for managing the sound. The sound’s diverse seafloor topography supports equally diverse habitats, providing environmental and economic benefits such as recreational and commercial fishing, tourism, marine transportation, wildlife habitat, flood and storm mitigation, and water filtration.

“When Earth Day was created in 1970, the oxygen depletion in the Long Island Sound’s waters was drastically diminishing the fish population and that, along with the physical disruption of the tidal wetlands, was destroying one of the most productive ecosystems in the world,” said EPA Region 2 Administrator Pete Lopez. “Today, the Sound has made remarkable improvements through pollution prevention, stormwater control, and water monitoring. Sharing habitat restoration technology advancements through the new Habitat Mapping Initiative website educates and involves the community in the progress of the Sound’s long-term health and recovery.”

“This new website provides important scientific information about Long Island Sound to the public, which will help create a better understanding of the Sound’s ecosystems,” said EPA Region 1 Acting Regional Administrator Deb Szaro. “This effort demonstrates EPA’s commitment to protect and restore Long Island Sound as well as the use of sound science and new technology to advance environmental protection.”

“Habitat mapping is crucial for an understanding of how the marine communities of Long Island Sound respond to changing environmental conditions, said Professor J. Evan Ward, Head of the Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut. “The collaborative mapping efforts are providing critically needed data that will allow us to assess, for example, how communities might be negatively impacted by future climate change or recovering as a result of nutrient mitigation initiatives.”

“What is not seen is often as important, if not more important, than what we can see. Understanding all of the life that the Sound supports is crucial to appreciating and managing this national resource and this website places these previously inaccessible areas of the Sound at the fingertips of scientists, managers and the public,” said Katherine Bunting-Howarth, Interim Director, New York Sea Grant.

"Data from the mapping initiative has already proved useful in identifying areas of particular ecological significance as part of the Long Island Sound Blue Plan,” said Sylvain De Guise, Director, Connecticut Sea Grant and member of the Blue Plan Advisory Committee.

The new website provides background information and goals for the mapping initiative, summaries of ongoing and finished field work, interpretive story maps describing results, and pictures and video illustrating the beauty and complexity of the underwater habitats of the sound.

Funded by the Long Island Sound Cable Fund and administered by the LISS and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CTDEEP), there are three teams of scientists leading the mapping effort:

- The Long Island Sound Mapping and Research Collaborative (UCONN, the University of New Haven and the U.S. Geological Survey).

- The Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory Collaborative (Columbia University, Queens College and Stony Brook University).

- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and the Office of Coast Survey).

The Long Island Sound Habitat Mapping Initiative is overseen by EPA, CTDEEP, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York Department of State, and the Sea Grant Programs from Connecticut and New York. LISS, developed under EPA’s National Estuary Program, is a cooperative effort between EPA and the states of Connecticut and New York to protect and restore the sound and its ecosystem. To learn more about the Long Island Sound Study, visit www.longislandsoundstudy.net.

More Info: Long Island Sound Study

Long Island Sound is one of the 28 nationally-designated estuaries under the 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, conducted under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Estuary Program (NEP), is a cooperative effort between the EPA and the states of Connecticut and New York to restore and protect the Sound and its ecosystems.

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 Web site. 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.

For daily updates and tips on how you can help protect and restore Long Island Sound, please join LISS on Facebook, Twitter or, sign up for their RSS feeds.

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 33 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, SUNY 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 Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/nycoastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly. Our program also produces an occasional e-newsletter,"NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog, www.nyseagrant.org/blog.

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