Marine Debris in Long Island Sound

After a two-year planning process, the Long Island Sound Marine Debris Action Plan is approved and ready for implementation. The development of the five-year plan was co-led by the Connecticut and New York Sea Grant programs, with support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program and NOAA National Sea Grant. Individuals representing more than 50 academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, trade organizations, advocacy groups and county, state and federal agencies were actively involved in the planning, work groups and/or reviews.

The goals of the plan are to understand, prevent and mitigate the impacts of:

  • single-use plastic and other water/land-based consumer debris
  • abandoned and lost fishing/aquaculture gear
  • microplastics and microfibers

Between 2022 and 2027, volunteer partners will strive to implement actions outlined for each goal. The plan facilitates old and new partnerships and collaborations to support both ongoing and new actions, as resources are available. Annual progress reports will provide a comprehensive picture of the progress achieved through 1) prevention, education and outreach; 2) research assessment, attention to wildlife impacts and monitoring; 3) proper disposal and infrastructure; 4) removal and/or source reduction and 5) policy and management.

A deflated balloon is trapped in dune grass on a Long Island Sound beach. Photo: Judy Preston / Connecticut Sea Grant

Marine Debris News

A balloon is fished out of the water by a wildlife tour boat crew member.

Article examines impact of balloons on Long Island Sound

Since 2017, Bill Lucey has served as the Long Island Soundkeeper, monitoring and advocating for the body of water. During the summertime, he rides his boat out three to four times a week and often finds balloons saying “Happy Graduation” or “Happy Birthday.”

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The cleanup netted 110 pounds of trash, including a swath of carpet padding, a broken dock, a shovel handle and a car mat.

Volunteers rid 110 lbs. of trash from New Haven coastal area

Lisanne Winslow extended her trash grabber into a thicket of tall reeds to extract a partially concealed plastic soda bottle. She was one of 17 volunteers who helped rid a popular coastal walkway and adjoining nature preserve of as much trash as they could collect on a sunny morning on Aug. 12.

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A cleaner city park means a cleaner Long Island Sound

Eighty-four pounds worth of the debris of modern civilization that would have polluted Long Island Sound instead ended up in trash bags on Aug. 15, when a small crew from CT Sea Grant and Save the Sound partnered on a two-hour cleanup at Seaside Park in Bridgeport.

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Data from 2021 International Coastal Cleanup

2022 CT Coastal Cleanup planned; 2021 data released

Organizing has begun for the annual International Coastal Cleanup 2022, which takes place each year during September and October and is sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy. In Connecticut, Save the Sound will celebrate its 20th year as the Connecticut Coordinator for the event.

[Read More]

LIS Marine Debris Action Plan Team:

Connecticut Sea Grant: 

Nancy Balcom, CT Sea Grant co-lead:
Juliana Barrett
Judy Benson
Sylvain De Guise
Syma Ebbin
Diana Payne
Judy Preston

New York Sea Grant:

Kathy Bunting-Howarth, NY Sea Grant;
Kathleen Fallon
Paul Focazio
Jimena Beatriz Perez-Vascasillas
Rebecca Shuford

NOAA Marine Debris Program:

Northeast Regional  and Mid-Atlantic Regional coordinators

A young woman picks up trash at a public park on Long Island Sound.

For more information on the NOAA Marine Debris Program:

Northeast region

Mid-Atlantic region