Photo courtesy of NASA
Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound is a vital recreational, tourist and economic resource to New York and Connecticut, generating over $8.5 billion in annual revenue for the local economy. The health of the Sound is important to the livelihood of the communities that surround it. There are over 20 million people that live within a 50-mile radius of Long Island Sound—that’s 10% of the United States population! CCE is very active in working to restore and protect the Sound. We have led the fight against Broadwater, a liquefied natural gas facility, fended off plans to dump toxic dredged material into the Sound, and continually advocate for adequate federal funding to continue restoration efforts.
CCE’s Long Island Sound campaigns:
Long Island Sound Protection
Under the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act and Long Island Sound Restoration Act, the federal government can allocate up to $65 million a year in funding to state and local conservation programs focused on the Sound. Last year, federal funding for programs to protect and restore the Sound was $3.75 million. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama's 2014 budget proposes to cut that spending to $2.9 million, reducing the funding for the very programs that seek to keep the Sound on the road to recovery and put people to work modernizing our sewer systems, shifting the burden of paying for these programs to cash strapped local governments. To ensure that the recovery of the Sound continues, CCE is urging Congress to increase funding for the Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Acts to $10 million in the final FY 2014 budget.
On Tuesday October 6, 2009, CCE’s Adrienne Esposito testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment. Read Adrienne’s testimony, and watch the video from the hearing.
Northport Harbor Water Quality Protection Committee
The Northport Harbor Water Quality Protection Committee was established in the spring of 2010 to develop an action plan to restore water quality in the Northport/Centerport Harbor/Bay complex. The committee is co-chaired by Adrienne Esposito, CCE’s Executive Director, and Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone and is joined by the two villages bordering the harbors, Northport and Asharoken. Also active in the group are SUNY Stony Brook, Suffolk County, state and federal elected leaders and agencies, and non-profit groups. The committee has provided a dynamic forum to inform and engage multiple levels of government, agencies, and stakeholder organizations in the restoration and preservation process.
Excessive nitrogen in Northport Harbor is contributing to the growth of toxic red tide, which poisons shellfish and poses a threat to human health. These red tide blooms have caused shell fishing closures throughout the harbor in recent years. Monitoring shows that Northport Harbor has had the most intense red tide blooms in the northeast U.S. The Committee has drafted a detailed matrix of remediation projects, small and large, that will significantly aid in restoring the quality of harbor waters. Several of the committee recommendations are in the planning stages or underway. The committee has identified the top three priorities for 2011 as research/studies, infrastructure, and dredging. The group is currently working to identify funding to document the major nitrogen sources as first step toward curbing nitrogen pollution. One known source of nitrogen is the Northport Harbor Sewage Treatment Facility. The facility is currently in the planning process to meet the 2014 mandated nitrogen reductions as set by the Long Island Sound TMDL. The cost to upgrade the Northport Sewage Treatment Plant is estimated to be $9 million. The Committee continues to work with federal and state elected and appointed officials to advance the financing of the larger projects.
Davids Island is a rare, undeveloped, 78-acre Island located 1/4 mile off the coast of New Rochelle in Long Island Sound. It is the only large undeveloped island in western Long Island Sound.
Over the last 40 years, there have been many development proposals, ranging from a nuclear power plant to high-end condos. Fortunately, none of these proposals advanced. However, there remains constant pressure to develop the island for private use. More than 90% of Long Island Sound’s coastline is already developed, making it difficult for the public to access. Davids Island creates a rare opportunity for New Rochelle to preserve and protect 78 acres of waterfront land on the Sound for the public to access and enjoy.
Plum Island is an 840+ square acre island located less than one mile off the North Fork of Long Island in the Long Island Sound. It is the site of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, a germ research facility operated by the Federal Government. Homeland Security is planning to relocate this federal facility to Manhattan, KS. The future use of Plum Island has become a much discussed topic. The federal government has advanced the idea of selling this island. CCE is a member of the Preserve Plum Island Coalition, advocating for the sale of Plum Island to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be preserved as a part of the National Wildlife Refuge System. CCE views this as an extraordinary opportunity to restore and protect the history and ecology of this island for generations to come.
The American Lobster was once a flourishing species in LIS. Today, the fishery sustains less than two dozen professional lobstermen in New York and Connecticut. A mass mortality event took place in the summer of 1999 that led to a 95% drop in the commercial lobster harvest in the first year. The lobster fishery and related industries in and around LIS have since experienced a steady decline, putting lobstermen out of work and forcing local businesses to look to other states to import their lobsters.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has responded to the die-off by putting strict limitations on commercial lobstering in LIS, the most recent being a temporary moratorium on all lobster fishing activities. CCE opposed this moratorium on the grounds that it would put an undue burden on the few remaining lobstermen in the Sound, while ignoring environmental factors such as rising water temperatures and the overuse of toxic pesticides.
CCE supports implementing a federally funded bi-state V-notch program, as this program has proved successful in the past. A V-notch program would protect the species, while also maintaining the maritime history and generational livelihood of lobstermen in the Sound.
Broadwater: Liquefied Natural Gas Facility Endangers Long Island Sound Victory!
The attacks on Long Island Sound continue. Broadwater, a venture between Shell Oil and TransCanada Pipeline, is seeking to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility nine miles off Rocky Point in the middle of the Long Island Sound. If approved this facility could represent the first of its kind throughout the world and would be the largest industrial use in the Sound. CCE is working to stop development of this LNG facility.
Long Island Sound Dredged Materials Victory!
On April 9, 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency released a plan to designate two sites in Long Island Sound as long-term dumpsites, to receive 20 million cubic yards of untreated dredged material. CCE opposed this harmful plan. In spring of 2005, New York and Connecticut came to an agreement, which marked the beginning of the end to dumping in the Sound!
Millstone Nuclear Power Station
Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford, Connecticut uses 2 billion gallons of Long Island Sound water per day for its outdated "once-through cooling system” which kills billions of larvae, eggs, juveniles, and adult fish through entrainment, impingement, and thermal shock. CCE is working to urge the CT Department of Environmental Protection to require Millstone upgrade its cooling system to a "closed-cycle system" to protect marine life by reducing water usage by 90%.
Updated by lburch 11/6/13