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

J. Timeline and Milestones for the Sentinel Monitoring for Climate Change Program Table




1.  Plan Development

  1. CT:  CT Work group began with a CTDEP/UCONN/Sea Grant partnership in 2008. Series of meetings with expanding work groups in 2008 and 2009, as well as emails soliciting information and input from non-attendees and related experts.
  2. NY: Series of meetings with conference calls beginning February 2009.  Gathering of scientists, stakeholders, managers with climate change interests to create a comprehensive list of all potential Long Island Sound climate change indicators and debate the merits of each from a New York perspective.

The two state technical work groups identified habitats, species, processes, drivers etc. in LIS ecosystems that would potentially be affected by climate change.  Groups also discussed the relative merit of available and future indicators of climate change.

The bi-state work group compiled all of CT and NY state work group recommendations. 

State Technical Work group assistance  was sought to set priorities for sentinel monitoring in LIS. 

2. Sentinel Criteria 

Developed criteria to evaluate and select indicators that will serve as major sentinels to measure climate change impacts in LIS ecosystems:

  • Measurable at multiple sites
  • Discrete from natural variations or anthropogenic stressors
  • Representative
  • Used to establish reference point for comparisons
  • Feasibility to be measured or studied

Agreement on five (5) criteria to help prioritize scientifically valid sentinels within the context of climate change. 

Provided information on research and data availability

Identified a set of core physical and/or chemical parameters that are currently monitored around LIS and should accompany a pilot study.

3. Sentinel Selection

Online poll to prioritize comprehensive list of climate drivers and indicators matrix

Selection and modification to six sentinel indicators

4.  General Coordination

Formed a bi-state technical work group to coordinate state recommendations for Sound-wide monitoring strategy (August 2009). 


Assess and review technical documents from CRE Technical Assistance Grant.


Develop and execute Sea Grant agreement to sub-contract part-coordinators

Liaise with technical work groups to reconcile discussions and needs identified.  Developed consensus on key issues that help define the recommendations in the Strategic Plan.

Reports prepared by ICF under the CRE Technical Assistance Grant were reviewed and modified to fit the needs of the LIS Strategic Plan

Contracts issued and under way.

5.  Literature Review



A. Extensive literature review performed. Synthesized current climate change literature in order to assess potential climate change impacts on Long Island Sound ecosystems.




B. Reviewed sources to access archival data sets that monitor indicators of climate change (global observation systems, regional observation systems, monitoring in LIS)

  1. CT LISS representatives completed extensive literature review and provided to work groups.

    CRE Technical Assistance from ICF Synthesis of Climate Change Drivers and Responses in Long Island Sound.  17 pg. Created 11/13/09.Incorporated revisions in the Strategic Plan.

  2. STAC fellow report Review of Current Monitoring Efforts In Coastal Ecosystems.  28 pg.  Created 02-11-09. 

6.  Vision Statement

Defined the vision, established goals and objectives and identified tasks/steps and elements necessary to develop a Strategic Plan for Sentinel Monitoring for Climate Change in LIS.

Consensus statement incorporated in the Strategic Plan.

7.  Sentinel Monitoring

Established a sequential approach to evaluate and select indicators to include in a long term monitoring program.

(Figure 1) Drafted by the CT Work group and ICF as part of the CRE technical assistance grant and modified by the bi-state work group.

8.  LIS Sentinel

Applied sentinel criteria (step 3) to evaluate the indicators identified on the preliminary list (step 2) 


Used historical data availability and strength of the climate change signal to rate sentinels for inclusion in a pilot-scale monitoring program

Revised and reorganized LIS indicators matrix developed by ICF (memo dated 01-22-2010) and evaluated by technical work groups.

Obtained sentinel ratings from technical work group members using an online survey tool

9.  Bi-State Strategic Plan

Detailed report describing background, status, activities, and recommendations to establish climate change sentinel monitoring program.

Sentinel Monitoring for Climate Change in the Long Island Sound Estuarine and Coastal Ecosystemsof New York and Connecticut  26+ pgs and Appendices.

10. Data Citation Clearing
      House (web-based)

The creation of an on-line interactive, publicly accessible database of historic, current, and emerging research is intended to facilitate the synthesis of existing Long Island Sound data in the context of climate change.

Funding obtained from the Long Island Sound Study FY 2010 budget. 

Project Agreement between CTDEP and UConn is in place and work plan is under development (March 2011 – March 2012; $65,496 from LISS).

11. Pilot Study

Small scale monitoring program (subset of the larger Sound-wide strategy) designed to assess climate change impacts and leverage additional funding from outside sources.

Outline strategy to implement pilot study.


Request for Proposals from the states of CT and/or NY for pilot-scale monitoring

Funding obtained from the Long Island Sound Study FY 2008 and 2010 budgets.


Recommendations to LISS for Development of Pilot Projects to Monitor Climate Change.  ICF 7 pg Memo

RFP in development by bi-state work group

12.  Fiscal Assurance

Identify future funding to continue support of sentinel monitoring coordination in LIS.



Sought funding from EPA Climate Ready Estuary (CRE) Program to enhance sentinel monitoring planning.


Participation in climate conferences


Synthesis of existing data to determine emerging climate change trends in LIS.

Prepare and submit a work plan to LISS annually (first submitted September 2009). 

Leverage the strategic plan to secure more funding for further implementation.

CRE application was approved (September 2009) and ICF assigned contract to provide technical assistance. 

LISS representation in the EPA CRE partners workshop.

Priority acknowledged in the technical work groups and identified as a priority for funding in bi-state work group annual work plan to the LISS Management Committee.


Chart 1. Flow chart outlining the steps taken by the technical and bi-state work groups to develop the strategic plan and list of proposed sentinels
Description: SM Flow Chart_final


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