Long Island Sound Environmental Justice Needs Assessment Underway
Long Island Sound Study - News

Project to focus on identifying environmental objectives of underserved communities in the Long Island Sound region


Jimena Perez-Viscasillas, NYSG Long Island Sound Study Outreach Coordinator, E: jbp255@cornell.edu, P: (631) 632-8730

Stony Brook, NY, April 13, 2023 - The Long Island Sound Study (LISS) national estuary program is working with natural resources consulting group Responsive Management to assess the needs, concerns, and challenges facing underserved populations and vulnerable communities related to their coastal environments. The project is being led by New York Sea Grant on behalf of the LISS, in partnership with Connecticut Sea Grant and the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP).

Responsive Management, a social science research firm, will be holding a series of conversations with community leaders across Connecticut, and Long Island Sound-adjacent counties in New York State (the Bronx, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester). The exchanges will inform the development of a survey to be administered widely across the region and will focus on local challenges and needs concerning Long Island Sound and its surrounding environment.

The conversations and survey results will identify opportunities for the LISS to adapt its implementation strategies to meet local needs. The results will also help guide the development of the Long Island Sound Community Impact Fund (LISCIF), a new grants program run by Restore America’s Estuaries that will provide financial and technical support to community groups working on local environmental health projects and capacity-building.

In 2019, a small group of LISS partners began exploring and outlining steps to better apply environmental justice principles in the program’s implementation, and an official Environmental Justice Work Group was formed in 2020. One of the necessary steps identified by the team was to determine how the program could better serve its constituents who are members of underserved communities. The work group further identified a need to engage more with smaller community-based groups to better respond to their coastal-related needs and objectives. 

The EJ needs assessment is part of a greater ongoing effort from the LISS program and its partners to better connect with the communities in their region, make its programming more relevant and accessible to underserved populations, and enable easier participation in the program’s decision-making process. The project began its exploratory phase in late winter 2023 and is set to begin with community conversations through the spring and summer months and conclude sometime in the fall.  

More Info: Long Island Sound Study

Long Island Sound is one of the 28 nationally designated estuaries under the National Estuary Program (NEP), which was established by Congress in 1987 to improve the quality of Long Island Sound and other places where rivers meet the sea. 

The Long Island Sound Study is a cooperative effort involving researchers, regulators, user groups and other concerned organizations and individuals, and is led by the Environmental Protection Agency and the states of New York and Connecticut. 

In recent years, LISS has experienced a period of rapid expansion attributed to the increased federal funding for the program, and to implement actions, objectives, and goals established under a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. The increase is grounded in the CCMP’s four overarching themes: Clean Waters and Healthy Watersheds, Thriving Habitats and Abundant Wildlife, Sustainable and Resilient Communities, and Sound Science and Inclusive Management.  Resilience to climate change, long-term sustainability, and environmental justice, are principles that connect to all four of the themes.

For more on what you can do to make a difference, click over to the "Get Involved" or "Stewardship" sections of the Long Island Sound Study's website. News on the Long Island Sound Study can also be found in New York Sea Grant's related archives.

If you would like to receive Long Island Sound Study's newsletter, please visit their site's homepage and sign up for the "e-news/print newsletter" under the "Stay Connected" box.

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, SUNY 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 in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

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

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