US Rep Nick Lalota to Chair Long Island Sound Caucus
By Rupert Deedes
The Long Island Sound Caucus, a bipartisan group of legislators, has chosen US Congressmen Nick LaLota (R-Huntington) and Joe Courtney (D-Connecticut) as its new co-chairs.
The Caucus focuses on protecting the Long Island Sound, including conservation, water, fishing, transportation, and energy.
“I am proud to partner with my colleague from across the Sound, Congressman Courtney, to lead the bipartisan Long Island Sound Caucus," stated Lalota. "Much has been accomplished before me, and yet much is left to be done. Protecting the Sound is not a partisan issue, it is an issue important to all Long Islanders.”
The Sound is facing many challenges - which it shares with other coastal coastal waters.
About two-thirds of the U.S. coastal areas and more than one-third of the nation's estuaries showed different levels of impairment caused by nutrient pollution. Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in rivers, lakes, and streams flows downstream and ultimately enters bays and coastal waters.
These coastal ecosystems are often an important part of the local economy and nutrient pollution has a negative impact on commercial fishing, recreation, property values, tourism, and related businesses.
Experts note that bays and estuaries are more vulnerable to the effects of nutrient pollution because they are often shallow, narrow, or confined, which limits the opportunity for water to circulate oxygen to the plants and animals.
Long Island Sound is an estuary approximately 110 miles long (east to west) and 21 miles across at its widest point, and covers an area of 1320 square miles with 600 miles of coastline. It's valuable recreational and commercial uses make it one of the most important estuaries in the nation.
“The Sound is a vital part of Suffolk County’s economy and our unique culture. I was proud to have an amendment unanimously pass the House this year to protect Long Island’s waters from offshore drilling," added Lalota. "As co-chair of this caucus, I will continue that work to protect the Sound’s water, fishing, and accessibility for generations to enjoy.”