Sustainability Environment

NOAA names Long Island Sound estuary as a protected place

(CTNERR/NOAA)

Story at a glance

  • NOAA on Friday designated a new estuarine research reserve, spanning more than 52,000 acres across southeastern Connecticut.
  • The reserve, which is the nation’s 30th, will be managed by both NOAA and state officials.
  • Estuaries come with a number of benefits, including protection from flooding and soil erosion.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Friday designated a new national estuarine research reserve in Long Island Sound.

The Connecticut National Estuarine Research Reserve spans more than 52,000 acres across the southeastern part of the state, NOAA said in a news release.

The agency’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System is a network of coastal sites designated to study estuarine systems, where freshwater from bodies of water like rivers mixes with saltwater from the ocean. Estuaries are home to diverse plant and animal communities which have adapted to brackish water, or a mix of freshwater and saltwater.

They also protect nearby communities from crashing waves and storms by soaking up excess water from floods and tidal surges, according to NOAA, which also helps prevent soil erosion.


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The new estuarine research reserve will be managed by both NOAA and Connecticut state officials, with the goal of improving coastal management, community sustainability, and ecosystem resilience.

The designation of the reserve – the nation’s 30th – represents “a win for science-based decision making and helping to enhance environmental education at all levels for the people of Connecticut,” Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said in a statement.

“We’re excited that some of the amazing natural resources of Long Island Sound, the Connecticut River, and some of our state parks and natural area preserves will be utilized as a living laboratory that can help advance national efforts in addressing issues such as climate change and environmental stewardship now and in the future,” he said.

NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said the effort is part of the Biden administration’s America the Beautiful initiative, which aims to conserve 30 percent of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030.

“NOAA is doing all we can to advance the President’s conservation goals to help address nature loss, mitigate climate change, and create equitable access to the outdoors,” he said in a statement. “Protecting special places along our coast and making them accessible for future generations benefits our planet, our people, and our economy, and helps build a climate ready nation.”


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