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Water: Estuaries and Coastal Watersheds

Long Island Sound (NEP Profile)

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Summary Information

Year Established: 1987
Location: New York, Connecticut
Area of Watershed: 45,050 square kilometers

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Overviews and Highlights

Long Island Sound, bounded by New York and Connecticut, has more than 8 million people living within its watershed. It is approximately 110 miles long (east to west) and about 21 miles across at its widest point. Research commissioned by the Long Island Sound Study estimated that more than $5 billion is generated annually in the regional economy from boating, commercial and sport fishing, swimming, and beachgoing. Congress passed legislation in 1990 establishing an EPA Long Island Sound Office to support the program. The office was established in January 1992 with offices in Stamford, CT and Stony Brook, NY.

The Long Island Sound Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) is the result of a strong partnership between EPA Regions 1 and 2 and the states of Connecticut and New York. The CCMP was approved by EPA Administrator Browner and the Governors of Connecticut and New York in September 1994. The Plan identifies seven issues meriting special attention, including (1) low oxygen conditions (hypoxia), (2) toxic contamination, (3) pathogen contamination, (4) floatable debris, (5) the impact of these water quality conditions and habitat degradation and loss on living marine resources, (6) land use, and (7) public involvement and education.

The top priority of the Long Island Sound Study is reducing nitrogen loads which contribute to the low levels of oxygen affecting substantial areas of western Long Island Sound in late summer. Other implementation priorities are habitat restoration, watershed management, disposal of dredged materials, and public education and involvement on Long Island Sound issues.

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