The purpose of the Long Island Sound Blue Plan is to identify and protect places of traditional use and ecological significance, and to minimize conflicts, now and in the future. This includes preserving a collective vision of Long Island Sound, and facilitating a transparent, science-based decision-making process. The Long Island Sound Blue Plan process included (1) gathering data to develop an inventory of ecological resources and human uses and producing corresponding maps that were reviewed by experts and stakeholders for relevance and accuracy and (2) development of Blue Plan policy to be implemented though existing State permit processes that will minimize conflict with natural resources and traditional uses.
The Long Island Sound Blue Plan section of the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection contains the Blue Plan and a wealth of information about it.
Three technical documents are excerpts from the Blue Plan and focus on the data layers and mapping information.
- Blue Plan Policy Area and Area of Interest. This document is an extract from Section 3.3 of the Final Draft Version of the Blue Plan (version 1.2 dated September 2019) describing the process to create the Blue Plan Policy Area and Area of Interest.
- Ecologically Significant Areas (ESAs). This document is an extract from Appendix 2 of the Final Draft Version of the Blue Plan (version 1.2 dated September 2019) describing the process to create Ecologically Significant Areas (ESAs).
- Significant Human Use Areas (SHUAs). The document is an extract from Appendix 3 of the Final Draft Version of the Blue Plan (version 1.2 dated September 2019) describing the process to create Significant Human Use Areas (ESAs).
The Blue Plan legislation identifies an area of Long Island Sound within which Blue Plan policies and standards would apply. This Policy Area is delineated on the map shown in this viewer, and is no shallower than the 11.8 ft depth contour relative to Mean Lower Low Water. This value represents the closest approximation to the depth as referenced in statute without going shallower and is used to leverage the convenience of deriving it from NOAA Nautical Chart data. During the development of the Blue Plan, the boundaries of this generally defined area were refined through discussions with various stakeholders and approved by the Blue Plan Advisory Committee. The revisions are intended to exclude certain areas (e.g., sections of navigation channels within harbors, or self-contained pockets of deeper water) which meet the legislative description but are located in close proximity to the shore where the legislation was not intended to apply. An additional “Area of Interest” – while not identified within the legislation - is also provided to help users identify the areas where data for the Blue Plan was collected. A more complete description of these areas and how they were derived can be found in Chapter 3.3 of the Blue Plan located here.”
These map layers are based on (and limited to) available data. Within any map there may be areas of LIS that have not been assessed because of limited data.
Layers comprising “Ecologically Significant Areas” (ESAs) and “Significant Human Use Areas”(SHUAs) do not by themselves represent a full description of the Long Island Sound ecosystem or human uses. Rather, while ESAs and SHUAs call attention to priority areas, the Sound’s overall ecological integrity and the ways in which people use the Sound remains important. By recognizing an area as an ESA or SHUA does NOT mean non-ESA or non-SHUA areas are unimportant.
Reasonable attempts have been made to ensure that this data and documentation is accurate and reliable; however neither the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, nor its partners assumes liability for any damages caused by inaccuracies in this data or documentation, or as a result of the failure of the data or software to function in a particular manner. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the University of Connecticut make no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness, or utility of this information, nor does the fact of distribution constitute a warranty.