U.S. Geological Survey Studies in Long Island Sound: Geology, Contaminants, and Environmental Issues

Science Center Objects

This project is complete and the website is archived and no longer updated.

Long Island Sound is a major coastal estuary near the New York-Connecticut metropolitan area. More than eight million people live in its watershed. Due to the enormous population, the Sound is used heavily and its sea floor has been impacted by human activities. There are many benthic habitats in the Sound that support large commercial and recreational fisheries. Sediments of the Sound are a sink for wastes and contaminants from various sources such as wastewater treatment plants, urban and agricultural runoff, and waste disposal.

The U.S. Geological Survey's Coastal and Marine Geology Program began studying the Long Island Sound region in the 1980s. The Long Island Sound Environmental Studies program, initiated in 1995, was designed to understand three main points: 1) the modern sedimentary processes that control the transport of bottom processes and the formation of related habitats, 2) to identify and define benthic habitats throughout the region for future studies and management decisions, and 3) to understand the distribution, transport, and fate of contaminants in sediments of the Sound.