Long Island Sound has earned the nickname of "The Urban Sea" because it is surrounded by people. With a population of 2,300 people per square mile in the coastal areas surrounding the Sound, it is one of the most urbanized major water bodies along America's coastlines. European settlers arrived on the East Coast they quickly began using the Sound for major transportation. Bridgeport, New Haven, New London, Middletown, and Hartford grew and flourished as cities because of their ability to serve as natural harbors with a strategic spot along the Sound or Connecticut River.
Now more people than ever before want to work, play, and live close to the Sound. However, it is ironic that the same qualities (beautiful beaches, clean water, fresh seafood) that are drawing people closer to the Sound are the same things that are being threatened by humans. In a sense humans can also be added to the invasive species list.
As mentioned earlier one of the main habitats that has been negatively compromised by human impact are salt marshes. Many of these coastal wetlands have been removed by dredging, or turned into buildable land with the addition of fill. Although the importance of salt marshes is known today, ecologists weren't able to get their laws past to protect the marshes in New England until the 1960's and 1970's. The 1979 Coastal Management Act makes it illegal to dredge or fill salt marshes this law doesn't help in undoing the damage we have already done.
Invasive species also threaten the future of the Sound. Opinions on how threatening these new organisms are vary widely. Fishermen welcome the introduction of new species of gamefish. Scientists, on the other hand, fear the changes these intruders have on the local ecology and food chain. While increased regulation is likely to slow the number of invasions that occur within the Sound and other bodies of water it is worth asking the question: What species will "rule" the Sound in 100 years?