The Long Island Sound Study (LISS) is one of 28 National Estuary Programs funded by EPA under Section 320 of the Clean Water Act. Long Island Sound is one of the northeast region’s most important and valuable estuaries, which are areas where freshwater delivered by rivers and streams flows into the ocean, mixing with salt water. The Sound provides crucial habitat for a diverse range of plant and animal life, and tourism associated with the Sound contributes an estimated $5.5 billion per year in revenue to the regional economy. Although the Sound is commonly associated with coastal Connecticut and Long Island, the watershed actually extends north to include parts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. More than 8 million people live in the Long Island Sound watershed, and the associated development has resulted in an increase in some types of pollution, altered land surfaces, reduced open spaces, and restricted access to the Sound. Protecting and restoring the water quality of the Sound is a critical goal for NEIWPCC.
The LISS Management Conference, a partnership of stakeholders representing citizen and environmental groups, businesses and industries, academic institutions, and local, state, and federal governments, is working to implement the 1994 Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). As a LISS partner, NEIWPCC is focusing mainly on two components of the CCMP: involving and educating the public in the restoration and protection of the Sound and assisting New York State in its habitat restoration efforts. As part of the LISS Public Information and Education Program, NEIWPCC staff produce numerous outreach and educational products, including Sound Health, the LISS Biennial Report, and the LISS website.
NEIWPCC also manages the LISS CCMP Enhancement Program. This annual competitive program funds priority projects that further the effort to achieve the goals established in the 1994 CCMP. In addition, NEIWPCC staff are also engaged in the ongoing effort to revise the LIS Total Maximum Daily Load for nitrogen. The Connecticut River Nitrogen Assessment Project is one important result of this work.
For more information about NEIWPCC’s involvement with LISS, contact Emily Bird.