NY & CT Long Island Sound Stakeholders Request Strengthened Sound Restoration Plan

Citizen Advisory Committee members ask for clear, focused blueprint for Long Island Sound



October 16, 2014

Maureen Dolan Murphy, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, 516-390-7150
Sarah Ganong, Save the Sound, 203-787-0646 ext.128

Bridgeport, Conn.—Today stakeholders from New York and Connecticut submitted a letter to the Long Island Sound Management Committee calling for a stronger and more focused restoration plan for Long Island Sound. The Committee has been updating the original Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP), first drafted in 1994, and is currently holding stakeholder meetings and accepting public comment on the draft document. The Long Island Sound Study Citizens Advisory Committee (LISS CAC) is deeply grateful to the Management Committee for their work so far and looks forward to implementing the plan to protect and restore Long Island Sound.

“Long Island Sound is too important to rush a document. The Management Plan summary must be a visionary guide for Long Island Sound for the next 20 years. We need a plan that speaks to the public, can be measured by ecosystem improvements, restores Long Island Sound and is achievable. We look forward to strengthening this call to action for Long Island Sound,” stated Nancy Seligson, town supervisor for the Town of Mamaroneck and New York co-chair of the LISS CAC.

“The 23 million people who live within 50 miles of Long Island Sound deserve clean, safe beaches and wildlife-sustaining waters in their urban estuary,” said Curt Johnson, Connecticut co-chair of the LISS CAC and executive director of Save the Sound, a bi-state program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment. “We thank the Management Committee for their hard work in breathing life back into the Sound, and look forward to a strong plan that reduces nitrogen and bacteria pollution.”

“The Nature Conservancy believes the CCMP will help set the future agenda for Long Island Sound—a resource important to millions of people,” said Chantal Collier, Long Island Sound program director for The Nature Conservancy. “The CCMP is an opportunity to accelerate the water quality improvements we still need to assure healthy bays and harbors through reductions in multiple sources of nitrogen pollution. It should focus us on enhancing natural coastal habitats like salt marsh that help protect coastal communities from major storms. The CCMP can help realize the benefit of Sound-wide management for protecting both marine habitats and traditional uses like boating and fishing through marine spatial planning.”

“Long Island Sound is a key economic and natural asset in our region,” said Sandy Breslin, director of governmental affairs for Audubon Connecticut, speaking on behalf of the New York and Connecticut state offices of the National Audubon Society. “And the CCMP is our blueprint for the next 20 years of managing and investing in that asset. Though we live in one of the most densely populated areas of the US, Long Island Sound is situated at a critical juncture on the Atlantic Flyway, the migratory route followed by millions of birds each fall and spring. Its waters and shores host an incredible diversity of bird species from federal and state listed species on our beaches and on Great Gull Island in New York and Falkner’s Island in Connecticut, to historically significant populations of waterfowl and globally significant populations of saltmarsh birds. We applaud the work that has been done so far and call upon the Management Committee to ensure that the final CCMP will lead us to a healthy and sustainable future for people, birds and wildlife. The CCMP is our opportunity to chart a successful course to that future. We can’t let it pass by.”

The Long Island Sound Study Citizens Advisory Committee is a volunteer organization comprised of 35 members including environmental not-for-profits, businesses, local municipalities, boating and fishing groups. As part of its mission to provide ongoing advice to the federal, state, and local government partners of the Management Committee, the CAC has submitted a detailed letter outlining specific goals and priorities that should be included in the revised CCMP for the strongest possible plan for the Sound’s future.

The CAC’s letter includes recommendations on nitrogen and pathogen reduction; habitat protection and restoration for birds, fish, and other wildlife; climate resiliency planning and implementation; and a bi-state marine spatial plan to guide uses of the Sound’s resources, among other topics. The full letter may be read here.

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