State of the Beach/Model Programs/Beach Ecology

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Beach Ecology

Below, examples pertaining to beach ecology follow an outline of the Surfrider Foundation's goals in this area.

Beach Ecology Goals

In the interest of promoting better monitoring of sandy beach systems, the Surfrider Foundation would like to see the development of standardized methodology for assessing beach ecological health. We believe that in combination, the identified metrics such as those described below could function to provide a revealing picture of the status of beach systems. A standardized and systematic procedure for assessing ecological health would provide a badly needed tool for ecosystem-based management. We believe that the adoption of such a procedure will function to better inform decision makers, and help bridge the gap that continues to exist between science and policy. Four metrics that could be used to complete ecological health assessments of sandy beaches include 1) quality of habitat, 2) status of 'indicator' species, 3) maintenance of species richness, and 4) management practices.

Program Examples



Washington tends to look at beaches as an integral part of the nearshore system which is centered on the intertidal zone, and extends both landward and seaward. On the landward side the nearshore extends a variable distance into dune fields, marshes, low banks, and bluffs — in general, the "riparian zone." On the waterward side the nearshore extends a variable distance over subtidal zones. Beaches, or the intertidal area, are rarely addressed in isolation as that would have no utility in science or management, and would be detrimental to the goals of science and management programs.

For example: the sand supply for Washington's southwest coast ocean beaches comes from the Columbia River basin. On the other hand, the sediment supply which maintains Puget Sound beaches comes principally from the slow, chronic erosion of the Puget Sound banks and bluffs, and rather little from the watersheds.

As another example, to a large degree, the ecologic integrity of Puget Sound beaches as habitat for spawning Surf Smelt or Pacific Herring is dependent on shade from over-hanging trees and large brush rooted above the beach in banks and bluffs. In places these over-hanging trees cantilever over the beach tens of feet, their shade moderating beach temperatures and evaporation of pore water in the upper intertidal.

Beach fill rarely occurs in Washington, therefore the state has no specific beach fill policies other than the general coastal management policies in the Shoreline Management Act. Because of this, there are no specific policies directed at beach ecological health considerations for beach fill projects. Instead the state relies on the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), Washington's state version of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) which requires environmental assessment, and possibly a full environmental impact statement (EIS) when necessary. Similarly, beach grooming is not practiced (and is essentially unknown) in Washington, so there are no beach ecology policies for this practice.

Aquatic Habitat Guidelines (AHG) Program - In 1999, the governor's Salmon Recovery Office commissioned the Departments of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), Ecology, and Transportation (WSDOT) to develop technical assistance guidance for those who want to protect and restore salmonid habitat. The scope of the program has recently broadened and now includes the promotion, protection, and restoration of fully functioning marine, freshwater, and riparian habitat through comprehensive and effective management of activities affecting Washington's aquatic and riparian ecosystems. Participation in the project has also expanded with the addition of the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation (IAC), the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to the list of contributing agencies.

The Aquatic Reserves Program is part of Department of Natural Resources (DNR) efforts to promote preservation, restoration, and enhancement of state-owned aquatic lands—sites that benefit the health of native aquatic habitat and species in the state. DNR is to establish state Aquatic Reserves to protect important native ecosystems on state-owned aquatic lands throughout the state. These are to be aquatic lands of special educational or scientific interest, or lands of special environmental importance. By examining past successes in site-based conservation, DNR helps ensure that aquatic reserve status is applied when it is the most appropriate management tool.


Washington has a program in place for collecting data related to beach ecology. The Nearshore Habitat Program at the state Department of Natural Resources is the lead agency for this inter-agency program in Washington State. Presently, the program is focused on the Puget Sound inland marine waters and beaches:

"Puget Sound's nearshore environment is a rich, complex, and important part of the ecosystem. Kelp beds, eelgrass meadows, salt marshes, rocky shores, beaches and tidal flats are vital to the health of Puget Sound. They provide critical habitat for populations of biologic and economic value, including shellfish, salmon, groundfish, seabirds, and marine mammals. They are popular places for people to work and play. The interface between land and sea is also the site of a wide range of commercial, navigational, residential and recreational activities such as seaports, marinas, ferry docks, and log storage. As a result of these conflicts, habitat loss has become the most pressing threat to regional ecosystem health (British Columbia/Washington Marine Science Panel, 1994). The purpose of WDNR's Nearshore Habitat Program is to provide information on status and trends in nearshore habitat. Through better planning and more complete understanding, we can minimize impacts on nearshore areas."

In addition, the newly adopted state regulations for local government adoption of updated shoreline master programs requires thorough shoreline inventories be completed as a basis for planning. These inventories by the coastal cities and counties will be completed on a staggered schedule from 2005 through 2014. These shoreline inventories will be compiled by the state Department of Ecology.

Ecology does not believe that monitoring so-called priority species is necessarily a useful or appropriate approach to characterizing nearshore or beach ecology. They believe that except in unusual circumstances, it is too often simplistic and yields misleading interpretations. They monitor assemblages of species (or communities). They believe that measures such as species richness, inter-annual variation in biota, and other integrated metrics are necessary to characterizing nearshore and beach ecology. Where they do monitor a species, such as Eelgrass, they do so because it is the dominant species in a habitat type.

Ecology uses the term 'priority species' as a collective term for endangered, threatened, or otherwise at-risk species. The Nearshore Habitat Program element which specifically addresses monitoring is the Shorezone Inventory:

"The ShoreZone Inventory describes physical and biological characteristics of intertidal and shallow subtidal areas along more than 3000 miles of Washington State's saltwater shorelines. More than 50 habitat characteristics are described, including physical features such as shoreline type, vegetation types such as kelp and eelgrass, and anthropogenic features such as bulkheads. We use the ShoreZone Inventory to analyze spatial patterns in habitat throughout Washington State."

Detailed information is available at the SCALE: Spatial Classification and Landscape Extrapolation of Intertidal Biotic Communities in Central and South Puget Sound website.

The species monitored as a part of the species richness and inter-annual variation studies are numerous; please refer to the Web page at for both a listing and spatial distribution data.

Baseline information on abundance and distribution has been collected. A Summary of Results is Spatial Patterns of Intertidal Biological Communities in Central and South Sound. An April 2001 report is The Intertidal Biota of Puget Sound Gravel Beaches.

Community monitoring at the various sites is carried out on a rotating schedule. Many sites were sampled as recently as 2001, some not since 1997. Some sites have been sampled only once, some as many as three times. See the SCALE Sampling Locations Web page.

Washington has identified certain 'critical habitats' that overlap or fall within sandy beach systems. The Priority Habitats and Species Program at the state Department of Fish and Wildlife is the lead agency for this matter in Washington. In a practical sense, "critical habitats" are identified in Washington State in two ways. First, they are identified as outright habitats in a broad sense. Secondly, they are identified in association with the needs of priority species (e.g. threatened, endangered, or otherwise at-risk species) for specific types of habitat (nesting, feeding, etc.)

Of the Priority Habitats, the ones which might overlap, fall within, or lie adjacent to 'sandy beach systems' could be:

Estuary and Estuary-like
Deepwater tidal habitats and adjacent tidal wetlands, usually semi-enclosed by land but with open, partly obstructed or sporadic access to the open ocean, and in which ocean water is at least occasionally diluted by freshwater runoff from the land. The salinity may be periodically increased above that of the open ocean by evaporation. Along some low-energy coastlines there is appreciable dilution of seawater. Estuarine habitat extends upstream and landward to where ocean-derived salts measure less than 0.5% during the period of average annual low flow. Includes both estuaries and lagoons.
Criteria: High fish and wildlife density and species diversity, important breeding habitat, important fish and wildlife seasonal ranges and movement corridors, limited availability, high vulnerability to habitat alteration.

Marine/Estuarine Shorelines
Shorelines include the intertidal and subtidal zones of beaches, and may also include the backshore and adjacent components of the terrestrial landscape (e.g., cliffs, snags, mature trees, dunes, meadows) that are important to shoreline associated fish and wildlife and that contribute to shoreline function (e.g., sand/rock/log recruitment, nutrient contribution, erosion control).
Consolidated Substrate: Rocky outcroppings in the intertidal and subtidal marine/estuarine environment consisting of rocks greater that 25 cm (10 in) diameter, hardpan, and/or bedrock.
Unconsolidated Substrate: Substrata in the intertidal and subtidal marine environment consisting of rocks less than 25 cm (10 in) diameter, gravel, shell, sand, and/or mud.
Criteria: Comparatively high fish and wildlife density, high fish and wildlife species diversity, important fish and wildlife seasonal ranges, limited availability, high vulnerability to habitat alteration, dependent species.:

Vegetated Marine / Estuarine
Eelgrass meadows: Habitats consisting of intertidal and shallow subtidal shores which are colonized by rooted vascular angiosperms of the genus Zostera.
Kelp beds: Patches of sedentary floating aquatic vegetation of the genus Macrocystis and/or Nereocystis.
Turf algae: Habitats consisting of non-emergent green, red, and/or brown algae plants growing on solid substrates (rocks, shell, hardpan).
Criteria: Comparatively high fish and wildlife density, high fish and wildlife species diversity, important fish and wildlife seasonal ranges, limited availability, high vulnerability to habitat alteration, dependent species.

PRIORITY HABITAT: A habitat type with unique or significant value to many species. An area identified and mapped as priority habitat has one or more of the following attributes:

  • comparatively high fish and wildlife density
  • comparatively high fish and wildlife species diversity
  • important fish and wildlife breeding habitat
  • important fish and wildlife seasonal ranges
  • important fish and wildlife movement corridors
  • limited availability
  • high vulnerability to habitat alteration
  • unique or dependent species

A priority habitat may be described by a unique vegetation type or by a dominant plant species that is of primary importance to fish and wildlife (e.g., oak woodlands, eelgrass meadows). A priority habitat may also be described by a successional stage (e.g., old growth and mature forests). Alternatively, a priority habitat may consist of a specific habitat element (e.g., consolidated marine/estuarine shorelines, talus slopes, caves, snags) of key value to fish and wildlife.

PRIORITY SPECIES: Fish and wildlife species requiring protective measures and/or management guidelines to ensure their perpetuation.


Criterion 1. State Listed and Candidate Species

State listed species are those native fish and wildlife species legally designated as Endangered (WAC 232-12-014), Threatened (WAC 232-12-011), or Sensitive (WAC 232-12-011). State Candidate species are those fish and wildlife species that will be reviewed by the department (POL-M-6001) for possible listing as Endangered, Threatened, or Sensitive according to the process and criteria defined in WAC-232-12-297.

Criterion 2. Vulnerable Aggregations

Vulnerable aggregations include those species or groups of animals susceptible to significant population declines, within a specific area or statewide, by virtue of their inclination to aggregate. Examples include heron rookeries, seabird concentrations, marine mammal haulouts, shellfish beds, and fish spawning and rearing areas.

Criterion 3. Species of Recreational, Commercial, and/or Tribal Importance that are Vulnerable Native and non-native fish and wildlife species of recreational or commercial importance, and recognized species used for tribal ceremonial and subsistence purposes, that are vulnerable to habitat loss or degradation.

WASHINGTON STATUS: Identifies State Listed or Candidate species (Species of Concern) and species classified as game, food fish, or shellfish. For the latest Species of Concern List, call (360) 902-2515.

PRIORITY AREA: Species are often considered a priority only within known limiting habitats (e.g., breeding areas) or within areas that support a relatively high number of individuals (e.g., regular large concentrations). These important areas are identified in the PHS List under the heading Priority Area. For example, great blue herons are often found feeding along shorelines, but they are considered a priority only in areas used for breeding (see criterion 2). If limiting habitats are not known, or if a species is so rare that any occurrence is important in land-use decisions, then the priority area is described as any occurrence.

Priority areas are described with the following terms:

  • Breeding Site: The immediate area and features associated with producing and rearing young (e.g., nest tree, den). Typically, a point location.
  • Breeding Area: The area necessary to support reproduction and the rearing of young; includes breeding sites and adjacent foraging habitat, and may include a disturbance buffer.
  • Lek: An assembly area where sage and sharp-tailed grouse engage in courtship behavior.
  • Artificial Nesting Feature: Man-made features used for nesting (e.g., nest box, platform).
  • Occurrence: Fish and wildlife observation from a source deemed reliable by WDFW biologists. Occurrences may represent an observation of an individual animal or a group of animals.
  • Regular Occurrence: Areas or features (e.g., trees, cliffs) that are commonly or traditionally used on a seasonal or year-round basis by species that do not typically occur in groups.
  • Regular Concentration: Areas that are commonly or traditionally used by a group of animals on a seasonal or year-round basis.
  • Regular Large Concentrations: Areas that are commonly or traditionally used by significantly large aggregations of animals, relative to what is expected for a particular species or geographic area.
  • Communal Roosts: Habitat features (e.g., trees, caves, cliffs) that are regularly or traditionally used by a group of animals for resting, hibernation, breeding, or young-rearing.
  • Regularly Used Perches: Habitat features (e.g., trees, cliffs) that are regularly or traditionally used by one or more birds for perching.
  • Haulouts: Areas where marine mammals regularly remove themselves from the water for resting.
  • Migration Corridors: Areas regularly or traditionally used as travel routes between seasonal ranges.
  • Foraging Area: Feeding areas that are regularly used by individuals or groups of animals.
  • Hack Site: A location where juvenile diurnal raptors (usually captive-bred) are released in order to acclimate them to the wild.

An area of monitoring related to beach ecology is the evaluation of contaminants in beach sediments.

In Puget Sound, sand lance and surf smelt lay their eggs high in the intertidal zone of sandy beaches. As adults, these fish form a main part of the diet of salmon, rockfish, seals, and seabirds.19

In 1997, the Washington State Department of Ecology Marine Sediment Monitoring Team entered into a Cooperative Agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Status and Trends (NS&T) Program, to jointly examine measures of bioeffects associated with toxicants in Puget Sound sediments. This three-year monitoring effort consisted of focused studies throughout Puget Sound (1997 - north sound, 1998 - central sound, 1999 - south sound), with 100 stations being sampled annually using a stratified random sampling approach. Many of these studies span the intertidal into the subtidal.

Additionally, "The MSMT has conducted the sediment component of the Puget Sound Ambient Monitoring Program (PSAMP) since 1989. On this site you will find a description of our historical (1989-1995), NOAA partnership (1997-1999), long term/temporal (1989 - present), and current spatial/temporal (2002-future) sediment monitoring programs; a description of our Sediment Quality Triad Index; personnel contacts (below on this page); links to monitoring reports; and our downloadable ACCESS data files."

Monitoring for contaminants in beach sediments has been conducted at:

  • City Waterway (Commencement Bay) (annually, 1989 - 2001)
  • East Anderson Island (annually, 1989 - 2001)
  • North Hood Canal (South of Bridge) (8 samplings, 1989 - 2001)
  • Port Gardner (Everett) (9 samplings, 1989 - 2001)

The Puget Sound Nearshore Partnership is a large-scale initiative that affords a unique opportunity to tackle some of the foremost habitat restoration needs in Washington State's Puget Sound basin. Nearshore Project goals are to identify significant ecosystem problems, evaluate potential solutions, and restore and preserve critical nearshore habitat. They represent a partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), state, local, and federal government organizations, tribes, industries, and environmental organizations. Check out the many informative and useful technical reports produced by the Partnership, including:

  • Beaches and Bluffs of Puget Sound and the Northern Straits
  • Valuing Puget Sound’s Valued Ecosystem Components
  • Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound: A Research Plan in Support of the Puget Sound Nearshore Partnership
  • The Geomorphology of Puget Sound Beaches

Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is "reserved" for research and education about Puget Sound. Padilla Bay is an estuary at the saltwater edge of the large delta of the Skagit River. It is about eight miles long and three miles across. In 1980, this bay was selected to be included in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System.

Because the bay is filled with sediment from the Skagit River, the bottom is very shallow, flat, and muddy. It is so shallow that almost the whole bay is intertidal. This means that it is flooded at high tide. When the tide goes out the whole bay empties out, exposing miles and miles of mud flats. This condition allows unusually large eelgrass meadows to grow. There are nearly 8,000 acres of eelgrass in Padilla Bay. Click here to see a habitat map simple version (16KB) or more detailed version (2.5MB).

Eelgrass is valuable because it is habitat for wildlife and commercially harvested animals. Eelgrass is used as a nursery by salmon, crab, perch, and herring. Eelgrass is also home for millions of worms, shrimp, clams, and other invertebrates that are food for great blue herons, eagles, otters, seals, as well as humans. This is why Padilla Bay was selected to be a National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Click here to learn more about estuary plants and animals. Please be patient, this is a large file (1.2MB) and may take a long time to download.



Oregon does not allow beach "grooming". They do permit foredune management as special area management plans for small areas where sand inundation is a problem for residential homes. These approved plans allow grading within certain perimeters but also require planting and maintaining vegetation to stabilize the sand.

"Wildlife friendly" grooming protocols have been established as part of a Foredune Management Plan conducted in compliance with the guidelines set out by the Oregon Coastal Management Program and carried out and monitored by a qualified coastal geologist.

Oregon has policies related to beach nourishment that consider the potential impacts of beach nourishment projects on beach ecology. Nourishment projects must comply with standards under Goal 18 for Beaches and Dunes and the OPRD rules for Ocean Shore permits.

Bulldozing on sandy beaches is not permitted unless it is being conducted as part of the Foredune Management Plan or a Habitat Restoration project.


Oregon has several programs in place for collecting data relates to beach ecology. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has completed a coast-wide assessment of ecological resources as part of its development of an Ocean Shore Management Plan and the Snowy Plover Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP).

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) also conducts research and maps habitat areas along the coast. The Oregon Coastal Management Program helps to fund this research, specifically those areas of rocky shore habitat, and incorporate that data into management decisions made under the Territorial Sea Plan and Rocky Shore management planning efforts.

ODFW collects species-specific data on several species that occur on sandy beaches. These data are related to beach ecology in that each species abundance is partially controlled by, or reflective of, ecological characteristics of the beaches.

Oregon monitors a number of listed fauna and flora species that use the beaches such as snowy plover, pink sand verbena, salmon, and stellar sea lion. Snowy plover and salmon are listed as endangered species. These species are not monitored specifically as indicators of "beach health", more of general ecosystem health. Baseline information on abundance and distribution has been collected, with the most recent inventory for each species generally completed within the last 3 years.25

Abundance and distribution data have been collected on Northern elephant seal (2006), California sea lion (2006), Pacific harbor seal (2006), razor clam (2006), Dungeness crab (2006), and Western snowy plover.

The Oregon Nearshore Strategy, developed by ODFW, is a management strategy for the state’s nearshore environment, including the beach.

The strategy lists priority species for the nearshore under different categories. Pages 55 and 56 of the strategy document lists these “priority” species. In addition, the Oregon Conservation Strategy lists bird species that occur on sandy beaches including Western snowy plover, Aleutian Canada goose, black oystercatcher, California brown pelican, and Caspian tern.

Rocky Shore Interpretation Program - In 1999, DLCD provided OCMP funds to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to support three tide-pool volunteer programs, which not only provided awareness of the resource, but also provided for protection of the fragile habitats and the rocky shores. The projects included:

  • Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP) in Cannon Beach, in its 15th year on the beach. The program starts in April and early May as school groups begin to visit the coast and runs through the end of September. HRAP volunteers and staff interact with the area’s visitors to the rocky coastal area.
  • Three Arch Intertidal Program in Tillamook is located in a rocky intertidal area just inside the mouth of Tillamook Bay. Though not heavily used by the public, it is used extensively by groups from nearby summer camps and school groups. In its third year, the group participated in an intertidal ecology class at the local community college, was able to have interpreters in the field for four low-tide days, and published information on rocky intertidal areas which was distributed locally (it has been found difficult to recruit volunteers and thus maintain an entirely volunteer program).
  • Coast to Crest Interpreters League in Coos Bay, which has focused on contacting and assisting school groups to visit Cape Arago and Sunset Bay State Parks because of the high potential for impacts from school groups. In addition to providing on-site interpretive services at South Cove, interpretive tours were scheduled for three groups of school children, interpretive displays were set up at a high school watershed conference, information was presented to a conference of marine educators held at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, and an information hand-out on tide-pool etiquette was produced.

In 1998 and 1999 the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD),through an interagency cooperative agreement with DLCD that provided CZM § 309 funds, employed ranger-interpreters for four heavily visited rocky shore sites on coastal State parks: Seal Rock, Neptune, Devil’s Punchbowl and Cape Arango/Sunset Bay. The four summer rangers met visitors and conducted interpretive walks and learning sessions to stimulate visitor awareness and understanding of rocky shore resources. The Rocky Shores Final report was prepared to provide information based on the experience of the seasonal Rocky Shores park interpreter in the Nehalem Bay Management Unit during the summer of 2000 and help with the development of future interpretive programs within the Oregon State Parks. The program was such a success that the OPRD took over funding the program as a part of its ongoing program in 2001.


Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
3406 Cherry Avenue N.E.
Salem, OR 97303-4924
Phone: (503) 947-6000

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
725 Summer St. NE, Suite C
Salem, OR 97301
(503) 986-0718

Ocean Shore Management Plan
Kathy Schutt
(503) 986-0745
725 Summer St. NE, Suite C
Salem, OR 97301

Habitat Conservation Plan
Michelle Michaud
(503) 986-0737
725 Summer St. NE, Suite C
Salem, OR 97301

Steve Williams (Astoria to Yachats)
Voice: (541) 867-3340
Fax: (541) 867-3254



Connecticut regulates beach grooming practices, at least those conducted below the high tide line. Beach maintenance below the High Tide Line is regulated through the Structures, Dredging and Fill in Tidal, Coastal or Navigable Waters permit program. Coastal municipalities and beach associations are advised to conduct beach maintenance consistent with protection of breeding horseshoe crabs.

The state also has policies related to beach nourishment that consider the potential impacts of beach nourishment projects on beach ecology. Criteria used to evaluate permit applications for nourishment projects include: Adverse impacts of degrading beaches and dunes through significant alteration of their natural characteristics or function. Degrading natural erosion patterns through the significant alteration of littoral transport of sediments in terms of deposition or source reduction. Preserving the dynamic form and integrity of natural beach systems in order to provide critical wildlife habitats, a reservoir for sand supply, a buffer for coastal flooding and erosion, and valuable recreational opportunities. Insuring that coastal uses are compatible with the capabilities of the system and do not unreasonably interfere with natural processes of erosion and sedimentation. Encouraging the restoration and enhancement of disturbed or modified beach systems.


Connecticut has several programs in place for collecting data related to beach ecology. These include:

  • Connecticut DEP's Natural Diversity Data Base
  • Connecticut DEP's Geological & Natural History Survey
  • Required submission of environmental data pertinent to proposed development activities that are subject to review under DEP's coastal regulatory program.

The state has identified 'priority' species to monitor, but not necessarily as indicators of beach health. These species are all state-listed endangered, threatened and special concern species, as shown at and described further here. Baseline information on abundance and distribution of these species has been collected. The piping plover and least tern are surveyed yearly. Other animals and plants are surveyed every 5 years.

Connecticut has completed biodiversity inventories for sandy beaches. An Ecoregions Study of the coast conducted in the 1970s evaluated beaches and dunes. Since that time, resources have been evaluated on a site-specific basis, often related to coastal development regulatory review. DEP is presently beginning a 2-year survey of beach invertebrates.

Connecticut has identified several 'critical habitats' that overlap or fall within sandy beach systems. These habitats are beaches, dunes, tidal wetlands and coastal forests. Criteria for designation are rare plant and animal habitat. Polygon mapping is conducted of species distribution and use.

CDEP's Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby coordinates a variety of projects in which students and citizens conduct environmental monitoring, inventorying and research activities to study the environment. These include the Beach Profiles project, in which participants provide the Department of Environmental Protection with data regarding marine invertebrate inventories. At the same time, participants expand their knowledge by studying monitoring and inventorying techniques, identifying organisms and analyzing data. For more information, check out the school program offerings or contact the Center for Environmental Research Education at 203-734-2513.

A CDEP educational program that is spreading nationwide is their No Child Left Inside program, a special initiative to encourage Connecticut families and visitors alike to enjoy all the recreational resources and outdoor activities available in Connecticut's state parks, forests and waterways.

Near the coast, the Sound School in New Haven and the Bridgeport Regional Vocational Aquaculture School are using Long Island Sound as their learning environment to provide vocational and technical education in marine trades, aquaculture and the marine technology and science industries to high school students.

Governor M. Jodi Rell announced in March 2008 that $804,000 in federal funding had been awarded to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for a program to restore sensitive tidal wetlands in the state. The funding from the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) will be used by the DEP to restore 726 acres of tidal wetlands degraded by the invasive exotic plant Phragmites at three Wildlife Management Areas along the lower Connecticut River and at two state parks on Connecticut’s coast. The award money will be used to restore tidal wetlands at Silver Sands State Park in Milford, Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, Plum Bank Wildlife Management Area in Old Saybrook and the Back River and Upper Island portions of Great Island Wildlife Management Area in Old Lyme.


Tom Ouellette
Department of Environmental Protection
Office of Long Island Sound Programs
(860) 424-3612