LI Sound Marine Debris Action Plan Organizes Bi-State Partners for Cleaner Coasts, Waterways
Marine Debris - Press Release


Katherine Bunting-Howarth, Associate Director, New York Sea Grant, E:, P: (607) 255-2832

Nancy Balcom, Associate Director, Connecticut Sea Grant, E: 

Judy Benson, Communications Coordinator, Connecticut Sea Grant, E:; P: (860) 287-6426

Stony Brook, NY, May 20, 2022 - Consumer litter, tiny plastic shards, lost or improperly discarded fishing gear and other trash will be more effectively removed or kept out of Long Island Sound under the Marine Debris Action Plan (pdf) completed this month. 

The 38-page plan, released today, was created through a two-year process under the leadership of the Connecticut and New York Sea Grant programs with support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program. The project brought together almost four dozen state, local, academic and community partner groups interested in marine debris reduction in the two states that share the Sound. Together they developed a comprehensive framework to address the problem through collaborative solutions to be carried out over the next five years.

“Facilitating the development of this plan was a great opportunity to work with more than 75 people from different agencies and organizations who are already taking action to reduce the presence and impacts of marine debris in the Sound,” said Nancy Balcom, associate director of CTSG and co-lead of the project. “This plan will enable us to better assess and share our collective progress in achieving our stated goals.”

NYSG Associate Director Katherine Bunting-Howarth, who served with Balcom as co-lead of the project, said, "I’m excited to see how the collaborative efforts of the partners involved will achieve the plan's goals and protect our aquatic resources. Marine debris is a major concern along the coasts and in our oceans. Sources of debris are many and enter our waters through upstream creeks and rivers as well as coastal waters."

The plan organizes goals, strategies and actions intended to realize a vision of “Long Island Sound, its coast and watersheds, people and wildlife free of marine debris and its impacts.” These impacts include harm to coastal and marine habitats and organisms, economic losses, spread of invasive species and damage to vessels, among others. The plan is structured under three categories: Single-Use Plastic and other Land and Water-based Consumer Debris; Abandoned and Lost Fishing and Aquaculture Gear; and Microplastics and Microfibers. 

Each action directed by the plan will be tracked and monitored with specific metrics and updated as new situations arise. The actions include public education efforts, behavior change campaigns, prevention policies and improved recycling and waste collection, among many others. 

“We are pleased to support this collaborative initiative,” said Demi Fox, coordinator for the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Northeast Region. “The Long Island Sound Marine Debris Action Plan facilitates partnerships between organizations and agencies in different sectors and different states, which is critically important in addressing and preventing marine debris.”

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, University at Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County on Long Island; at Brooklyn College, with New York City Department of Environmental Protection in Queens and at Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Elmsford and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly. 

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