A Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection and University of Connecticut Partnership
Long Island Sound Sentinel Monitoring for Climate Change Program

Sentinel Monitoring for Climate Change in the
Long Island Sound Estuarine and Coastal
Ecosystems of New York and Connecticut
Volume 1 (2011)

Dr. Juliana Barrett, University of Connecticut/Connecticut Sea Grant
Dr. Julie Rose, NOAA Fisheries, Milford Laboratory
Sarah Deonarine, NY State Lead, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Long
Island Sound Study
Antoinette Clemetson, NY Sea Grant
Jennifer Pagach, CT State Lead, CT Department of Environmental Protection
Mark Parker, CT Department of Environmental Protection and the Long Island Sound Study
Mark Tedesco, US EPA Long Island Sound Study

Funding Sources:
Support for the Sentinel Monitoring for Climate Change in Long Island Sound Program is
provided by the US EPA Long Island Sound Study and the US EPA Climate Ready Estuaries

Link to download Strategic Plan (pdf: 898 KB).

Mission, Goals and Objectives


The Sentinel Monitoring for Climate Change in Long Island Sound Program (SMCCP) is a multidisciplinary scientific approach to provide early warnings of climate change impacts to Long Island Sound (LIS) estuarine and coastal ecosystems, species, and processes to facilitate appropriate and timely management decisions and adaptation responses. These warnings will be based on assessments of climate-related changes to the indicators/sentinels recommended in the strategy presented here. The strategy is a dynamic document, which will evolve as data become available and are analyzed.

Goals of the Program and this Strategic Plan

The SMCCP was developed to quantify local changes in the environment brought about by climate change (Rozsa, 2008). The goal of the SMCCP is to 1) collect and synthesize data that will indicate how LIS and its associated habitats, biota and processes are changing; and, 2) utilize sentinel data to provide scientists and managers with the information necessary to prioritize climate change impacts and determine appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies for these impacts to the LIS ecosystem. These impacts include but are not limited to: loss or changes in ecosystem functions and processes; disruption in fisheries, aquaculture and other economic commodities; and changes in species population dynamics, including both the loss of and introduction of new species.

This strategy makes recommendations, based on current information, what parameters should be measured and assessed in order to provide early-warning (sentinel) detection of climate change impacts to LIS and associated habitats, biota and processes. This strategy provides recommendations for sentinel monitoring in the short term, referred to as the pilot program (1-2 years), as well as long range priorities for sentinel monitoring of climate change in Long Island Sound. Additionally, data gaps for significant parameters are identified.


The specific objectives of the SMCCP and of the strategic plan presented here are:

  1. Summarize the state of knowledge on observed and potential climate change impacts on LIS habitats, biota and processes.
  2. Develop and fund a pilot-scale adaptive monitoring program to begin the effort to measure and evaluate sentinel indicators and associated parameters that would signal the magnitudes and rates of change in LIS habitats, biota, and processes caused by climate change.
  3. This strategy and the pilot-scale program are intended to be used to leverage funding from other climate-change initiatives available at the state, regional, and federal level.
  4. Identify opportunities for collaboration(s) to establish critical research programs (if they do not already exist), foster needed technological advancements, and implement long term monitoring.
  5. Create a data citation clearinghouse that will serve as a master research web page to organize, coordinate, and promote awareness of LIS data, research, and researchers. The clearinghouse will provide access to the types, locations, and dates of data collection pertaining to climate change in LIS.
  6. Synthesize and review outcomes of the pilot program to provide regular assessments of indicators and determine if changes should be made in parameters measured.
  7. Provide data and model predictions from the pilot program to managers such that management decisions and adaptation strategies may be developed and implemented.
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