Preserving Plum Island

Urge the President: Preserve Plum Island!
Add your voice to this crucial campaign.


With our help, the Preserve Plum Island Coalition is campaigning for Plum Island to become a national monument for the purposes of ecological conservation, historical interpretation, and the discovery and celebration of our shared cultural heritage. A potential donor has been identified, offering the possibility of long-term stewardship through a public–philanthropic partnership. We see a pressing need for immediate conservation of the island’s sensitive environmental, historical, and cultural resources.

A public–philanthropic partnership would engage the Department of Interior, Indigenous stakeholders, the State of New York, regional and local entities, and the community with the amazing richness of plant and animal species, people’s cultural heritage, and the history of Plum Island, to help tell the stories of America, together. Properly managed, Plum Island can showcase a full reckoning of America’s history, from times of ecological abundance to those of significant cultural disservice. Our vision is to protect and enhance Plum Island’s remarkable ecological value; unite people with preservation, interpretation, and educational opportunities; and celebrate the rich cultural heritage and history of people interacting with the island over the millennia—all the way to the present day.

See the 2019 Envision Plum Island stakeholder vision here. Please note our vision evolved following repeal of congressional language that effectively had required the island be subject to a public sale. The pictorial synopsis (Envision “brochure”) reflects the current vision.

Plum Island is like no other

  • Largest seal haul-out in New York
  • Habitat for 228 bird species—nearly one out of four bird species found in North America!
  • Significant ecological communities, including marine rocky intertidal shores, marine eelgrass beds, and maritime bluffs
  • Rich fish populations in Plum Gut and several distinct subtidal marine habitats, as documented in a 2022 report by the New York Natural Heritage Program and InnerSpace Scientific Diving
  • Fort Terry, a National Register Historic Site, in use from 1897 until after World War II
  • Plum Island Lighthouse, a National Register Historic Site
  • Internationally renowned Plum Island Animal Disease Center, soon to be decommissioned

Save the Sound leads the way

We are fighting to make sure Plum Island remains a sanctuary for wildlife and becomes a place where people can enjoy fishing its waters and walking its beaches.

Save the Sound coordinates the campaign to save Plum Island, a multi-year, multi-state effort that includes:

  • Spearheading advocacy that led to support for this vision from NY senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and CT senators Richard Blumenthal and Christopher Murphy, who sent a joint letter to the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Deb Haaland, urging her and the Biden administration to “consider and utilize all available executive and administrative tools at [their] disposal to ensure the permanent protection of Plum Island and its management for conservation by the Department of the Interior.” 
  • Coordinating Envision Plum Island, a planning process that included the coalition and 160 stakeholders from diverse fields to develop a vision and plan for the island’s future with broad local and regional consensus. View the report here. To learn more, visit: www.preserveplumisland.org/envision-report.
  • Supporting bills introduced by Plum Island champions in Congress that successfully repealed the language driving a private sale.
  • Suing two federal agencies for their faulty environmental impact statement. Read about the lawsuit.
  • Coordinating the Preserve Plum Island Coalition, made up of 120 organizations! Learn more and join the coalition at preserveplumisland.org or contact Louise Harrison today.
  • Supporting New York’s 2016 Open Space Conservation Plan. It says New York could acquire 600–700 acres of open space on Plum Island for “wildlife habitat, shoreline preservation and protection of significant cultural resources,” if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not create a wildlife refuge there. 
  • Urging New York to use all its power under its Long Island Sound Coastal Management Program to block the sale of Plum Island to a private entity, and to support permanent conservation.

Support Save the Sound in protecting Plum Island—the home of endangered, threatened, rare, and globally significant animals and plants. Join us today.


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