This Fine Piece of Water An Environmental History of Long Island Sound Tom Andersen, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Publication date:
01 Apr 2004
274 pages: 229 x 152 x 15mm
black & white illustrations

Long Island Sound is not only the most heavily used estuary in North America, it is also one of the most beautiful waterways, with picturesque seascapes and landfalls. But centuries of pollution and other abuse have gradually been killing off its marine life and have pushed the Sound to the brink of disaster. This fascinating book traces the history of the Sound and its use as a resource from the time of contact between the Native Americans and Dutch traders through the suburban sprawl of recent decades-and tells how a group of scientists and citizens has been working to save the Sound from ruin. Tom Andersen begins by describing the dramatic events of the summer of 1987, when a condition called hypoxia (lack of dissolved oxygen in the water brought about by a combination of pollution and other factors) killed large numbers of fish and lobsters in the Sound. He discusses how scientists first documented and explained the development of hypoxia and how research and cleanup are now being carried out to restore the Sound. Interweaving current events, natural history, and human history, Andersen presents a cautionary tale of exploitation without concern for preservation.

Tom Andersen is projects director, Westchester Land Trust, and covered the environment as a newspaper reporter for seventeen years. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., is professor of law and director of the Environmental Litigation Clinic at Pace University, White Plains, New York, and chief prosecuting attorney, Riverkeeper, Garrison, New York.

"A superb example of environmental journalism. Thoroughly researched and elegantly written, it recounts a contemporary saga with nuance and high drama." Philip G. Terrie, New York History; "This is a murky story in the truest sense of the word, and Tom Andersen's reporting sheds some useful light." Bill McKibben; "Andersen has nicely wrapped 12,000 years of natural, social, and political history into this fine piece of work. I urge everyone with an interest in the natural and unnatural history of the Sound to read it." Soundkeeper Terry Backer; "Andersen writes vividly about the Sound and environs... A compelling narrative." Polly Shulman, Newsday; "Andersen turns a story of environmental degradation into a riveting saga full of hope. His scholarship is impressive; his style is clear; and the warmth with which he regards his subject is evident on every page." Mary Parker Buckles, author of Margins: A Naturalist Meets Long Island Sound"