The Friday before Memorial Day is Long Island Sound Day—by law and official proclamation in Connecticut, although we’re not letting a little thing like a state border stop us from celebrating it in New York as well.
Long Island Sound Day marks the start of the busiest season and the most enjoyable season on the Sound, but also the season where the Sound’s problems—like low levels of dissolved oxygen and beach closings—are most evident.
In other words, it’s a good day to celebrate but also to re-double our efforts to preserve and improve the Sound.
Everyone has a role and a responsibility. We’re marking the occasion by looking back at our State of the Sound report, which we released last year (you can find a link here).
It includes a list of 10 Things You Can Do To Protect Long Island Sound:
1. Call or e-mail your state legislators and congressional representatives and encourage them to act now to make Long Island Sound a higher priority.
2. Enjoy the birds when visiting marshes and beaches, but don’t disturb them. Also, reconsider bringing your pets.
3. Volunteer for a beach cleanup or a local riverbank restoration. Or help environmental agencies by assisting at the Stewart B. McKinney Wildlife Refuge, or the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) state parks, or at local parks like Marshlands Conservancy in Westchester County.
4. Get involved with your local watershed association, land trust or conservation commission.
5. Storm drains lead to the Sound, so be sure to clean up after your dog and wash your car in the grass or at a car wash that recycles its water.
6. Test soil to apply the right type and amount of fertilizer, and try to use organic fertilizer, compost, or grass clippings to fertilize your lawn naturally. Reduce or eliminate pesticide use.
7. Whenever possible, recycle compact fluorescent light bulbs and electronics. And be sure to dispose of all products containing heavy metals, like mercury thermometers, old thermostats, and lead-acid batteries, at a hazardous waste facility.
8. Keep cigarettes and other litter off your local beaches and sidewalks.
9. Maintain your septic tank regularly. Never hook your storm gutters up to sewers, and report illegal storm drain hookups to Connecticut DEEP and New York DEC.
10. Purchase a Preserve the Sound License Plate in Connecticut or a Marine and Coastal District License Plate in New York. Portions of both fees go to protect our coastal waters!
Want more? Here are some tips specific to stormwater:
10 Things You Can Do to Make Your Community Greener and Our Water Cleaner
1. Build a rain garden to absorb runoff from your roof and driveway. Visit ReduceRunoff.org for more information.
2. Use a rain barrel to collect rainwater.
3. Use organic lawn and gardening practices to minimize pesticides and herbicides that can harm marine life.
4. Do not pour fertilizer or other chemicals onto the street or into storm drains.
5. Pick up pet waste and dispose of it in the trash.
6. Inspect septic tanks annually, and pump them out every three to five years.
7. Wash your car at a carwash or on your lawn, not in the driveway.
8. Never use your toilet or sink to dispose of toxic chemicals or pharmaceuticals. Check with your local government to find out where to dispose of them safely.
9. Join a Save the Sound coastal cleanup.
10. Don’t litter. Recycle cans and plastic bottles.
And finally, an 11th Thing to Do: Join Save the Sound and be part of our work to preserve and protect our greatest natural resource.
To become a member, click here.
To join our email activist network, click here.