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Partnership Releases New Blueprint to Protect and Restore Long Island Sound; Public Meetings Planned September 16 and 17 in New York and Connecticut

Release Date: 09/08/2014
Contact Information: John Martin, EPA Region 2, 212-637-3662, martin.johnj@epa.gov; Emily Zimmerman, EPA Region 1, 617-918-1037, zimmerman.emily@epa.gov

      (Stamford, CT) The Long Island Sound Study, a partnership of federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as nonprofit and community groups and businesses, today released a new updated Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for restoring and protecting the Long Island Sound over the next two decades. The Long Island Sound and its watershed is a critical economic driver; it provides estimated annual economic goods and services of many tens of billions of dollars, which underscores the need for watersheds and wetlands to be protected and restored.

      The draft Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan Update reflects the changing needs of communities, incorporates scientific and technological advances, and addresses new environmental challenges, emphasizing the principles of sustainability, climate change resiliency, and environmental justice. The draft plan also sets 20 measureable targets for the ecosystem to be achieved by 2035, including reducing beach closures due to sewage, improving water clarity, reducing the area of waters with unhealthy oxygen levels, increasing shellfish harvests, and reducing the amount of marine debris.

      "Building on the progress made to date, the challenge now is to make sustainability an integral part of achieving a cleaner, healthier Long Island Sound for people to enjoy," said Curt Spalding, Regional Administrator of EPA's New England office.

      “Superstorm Sandy changed forever how we think about our coasts and coastal communities”, said Judith A. Enck, EPA Region 2 Administrator. “The draft plan highlights that actions can be taken to adapt to climate change, making Long Island Sound healthier and our communities and economy more resilient.”

      The plan highlights progress made in the past 20 years to improve water and habitat quality.
        Under an innovative, bi-state program to reduce nitrogen pollution there are now 35 million fewer pounds per year of nitrogen discharged from 106 wastewater treatment facilities to Long Island Sound.
        More than a million gallons of recreational boat sewage are kept out of the water each year by the ‘No Discharge Zone’ for vessel waste in Long Island Sound established by Connecticut and New York.
        Regional partners have restored a total of 1,548 acres of habitat and reopened 300 miles of river and stream corridors to fish passage since 1998. Since 2006, partners have protected 2,580 acres of open space and coastal habitat through easements and land acquisitions.

      “The initial 1994 comprehensive restoration plan has led to substantial progress in restoring and protecting Long Island Sound, but there is more work to be done,” said Joe Martens, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. “The comprehensive update of the draft plan will guide the ecological restoration of the Sound for years to come, using the best current science to further improve this outstanding natural and economic resource.”

      “This draft plan recognizes Long Island Sound as a vital recreational, ecological and economic resource for the citizens of our state and region - and proposes measures to protect water quality, public access, and the safeguarding of natural resources and habitats” said Robert Klee, Commissioner of CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. “With the release of the draft CCMP, the public now has an important opportunity to contribute to the collective vision and shared action agenda that will set the course for protection and management of Long Island Sound for generations to come.”

      The Long Island Sound Study, sponsored by the EPA and the states of Connecticut and New York, is a partnership of federal, state, and local agencies, universities, businesses, and environmental and community groups with a mission to restore and protect the Long Island Sound. Visit http://www.longislandsoundstudy.net for more information.

      A copy of the draft Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan is available at the Long Island Sound Study website at http://longislandsoundstudy.net/Planupdate. The public is invited to attend public meetings to learn about the plan update and provide comments.


        September 16, 1:00 to 3:00 pm, in Westbury, NY at the Yes We Can Community Center.
        September 16, 6:00 to 8:00 pm, in the Bronx, NY at Rocking The Boat.
        September 17, 2:30 to 4:30 in New Haven, CT at Southern Connecticut State University.
      Public comments on the document will be accepted via email and post until Saturday, November 8, 2014. Emailed comments should be sent to contact@watervisionllc.com. Mailed comments should be set to:

      EPA Long Island Sound Office

          Stamford Government Center
          888 Washington Blvd.
          Stamford, CT 06904-2152
      At the close of the public comment period, the Long Island Sound Study will prepare a public responsiveness document that summaries and responds to all comments provided on the CCMP. Upon completion of the public review and comment period, the LISS will revise the CCMP and submit it to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for approval.
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