Plum Island, one of a string of small islands that extends off the tip of Orient Point, Long Island, is owned by the federal government and is being put up for sale. Its 840 acres are mostly undeveloped and encompass bluffs, beach, grasslands and other rare coastal habitat (more here). Roseate Terns, Piping Plovers, Least Terns and American Oystercatchers, among many of species, all nest in the area.
We (like many conservation groups) believe it should be protected as open space. Here’s how we phrased it in our letter to the U.S. General Services Administration: “Although Plum Island is in New York State, we view its habitat value as critical to the Long Island Sound ecosystem, and we view the Long Island Sound ecosystem as critical to the ecological health of Connecticut.”
The full letter is below. It’s not too late to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement prepared by the federal government. Click here for more information. Here’s our letter:
October 24, 2012
Connecticut Audubon Society is concerned about the effect that the sale of Plum Island would have on Connecticut’s birds and their habitats. We urge the United States government to work with New York State, local government on Long Island and conservation organizations to ensure that the island is protected as open space and wildlife habitat to the greatest extent possible.
Along with Great Gull and Little Gull, Plum Island is one of a string of islands in the eastern end of Long Island Sound that constitute an assemblage of remarkable, rare and wild habitats.
The islands are home to endangered and threatened birds such as Roseate Terns, Least Terns, Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers – species that can nest only in the ever-diminishing coastal habitat found on Plum Island.
The Long Island Sound Study, overseen by the U.S. EPA, has included the islands in its Stewardship Area program. The New York State Department of State has identified them as a Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat. Audubon New York has included the islands in its Important Bird Area program.
Although Plum Island is in New York State, we view its habitat value as critical to the Long Island Sound ecosystem, and we view the Long Island Sound ecosystem as critical to the ecological health of Connecticut.
Connecticut Audubon Society believes the analysis provided in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement makes a compelling case for the GSA to be proactive in working with state and local agencies and organizations on a plan for permanent preservation. The importance of Plum Island demands it.