On Long Island Sound Day, New Pledge Empowers Residents to Save the Sound

We’re celebrating Long Island Sound Day and the official opening of beach season this weekend in style: welcome to our new Long Island Sound Pledge!

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Three volunteers hard at work during last week’s Pequonnock Plant-A-Thon event.

“The Pledge is a new way for residents of the Sound region to join with neighbors already committed to saving the Sound,” said Leah Lopez Schmalz, director of legislative and legal affairs for Save the Sound. “This Long Island Sound Day, we invite everyone to do their part by taking one step—something as easy as calling your elected officials or as ambitious as building your own rain garden—that will combine with lots of other small actions from people around Connecticut and New York to make a huge difference for the Sound.”

This week is a perfect example of how citizens can get involved in restoring Long Island Sound, with a number of events bringing together experts and members of the public. Save the Sound, along with the state and other partners, will celebrate World Fish Migration Day on Saturday. The day kicks off with a presentation at Old Lyme High School from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., followed by “open houses” at 15 fish passage projects around the state. You’ll find us at two of our own projects, the Pequonnock fishway and the Harry O. Haakonsen Fishway at Wallace Dam in Wallingford. Also on Saturday, students from Ledyard High School will host a coastal cleanup at Bluff Point Beach in Groton, on behalf of Save the Sound—we’ll be there to pitch in!

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Hammonasset State Park. Photo credit Bill Revill.

Yesterday, Save the Sound and the University of Connecticut – Avery Point hosted a forum titled “Sustaining Our Fisheries: Looking at the Big Picture” in Groton. The forum gathered scientists, fishermen, policy implementers, educators, and advocates for a lively discussion of biological, historical, and recreational aspects of fisheries management. Look for a blog post reporting back from that event soon. And last Saturday, 70 volunteers from Fairfield County and speakers including Senator Richard Blumenthal joined us to celebrate our recently completed fish passage on the Pequonnock River in Bridgeport. The volunteers planted 2,100 native shrubs and wildflowers along the river to keep the water clean and provide habitat for wildlife.

“To truly conserve our natural resources and protect water quality and wildlife, these activities must become part of the fabric of our community,” said Schmalz. “We hope our Long Island Sound Pledge will inspire people across the region to band together and take action to stop pollution of this natural treasure.”

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Volunteer Cathy Desmond performing a water quality monitoring test. Thanks, Cathy!

And in the western Sound, one of Long Island Sound’s most polluted areas, a new director will help Save the Sound reach new goals and build momentum for restoring and preserving the Sound.

“When better to launch our Long Island Sound Pledge than on Long Island Sound Day?” asked Tracy Brown, Save the Sound’s new Western Long Island Sound director. “The Pledge is designed to get lots of people each doing one or two easy things that together will make a big difference in reducing water pollution. Residents can minimize fertilizer and pesticide use at home, join Save the Sound’s water quality monitoring team, write to elected officials to support investment in clean water infrastructure, or take other critical steps. That’s what the Sound needs: committed neighbors, along the shoreline and upstream, who understand that their actions affect the health of our greatest natural resource—Long Island Sound.”

This Memorial Day weekend, Save the Sound will also resume its Sound Swim Alerts to mark the beginning of the summer beach season. Residents of Westchester County can find out whether beaches near them are open or closed by visiting checking out our blog, following us on Facebook or Twitter, or signing up to receive email alerts.

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