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Long Island Sound summit looks to future

Save the Sound, the Long Island Sound Study and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission recently held their 23rd annual Long Island Sound Citizens Summit at Iona College in New Rochelle.

The summit, “Sound Discoveries: Celebrating Long Island Sound's Past & Charting its Future,” looked back to Adriaen Block's exploration of the Sound 400 years ago, and forward to Long Island Sound’s updated management blueprint.

“The history of Long Island Sound, and the land around it, is the history of America,” said Mark Tedesco, director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Long Island Sound Office.

Long Island Sound is the most densely settled estuary in the country, with about a fifth of the nation’s population living within 50 miles of its shore. It has been used for fishing, shipping, and recreation since it was first settled, but today this urban sea’s coastline is heavily developed and its water quality damaged by runoff and sewage from all over the Northeast.

The Sound’s restoration is guided by a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan first developed in 1994 by LISS and approved by the EPA and the states of Connecticut and New York. LISS is currently updating the plan.

The revised plan seeks to address Long Island Sound’s needs as a complete ecosystem intimately connected to human enjoyment and industry. It has four focus areas: Waters and Watersheds, Habitats and Wildlife, Sound Communities, and Science and Management. Experts in each topic led participants in breakout sessions today; input collected from the conversations may be incorporated into the new management plan.

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