Make Plum Island a National Monument

by Sofia Choudhri

The New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV), as a part of the Preserve Plum Island Coalition (PPIC), urges President Biden to proclaim Plum Island a National Monument, which would give this haven of biodiversity and history permanent federal protection.

Plum Island is an 843-acre federally-owned island located near the tip of Long Island’s North Fork. The island is a site of historical and ecological importance. It harbors hundreds of species, comprising over 111 species of conservation concern and a quarter of all North American bird species. The island’s undisturbed biodiversity is an unintended result of the protection of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, a Department of Homeland Security research facility covering just a fraction of the island.

The majority of Plum Island, approximately 80%, became an undeveloped, ecological refuge because of the protections afforded to the research facility. Now, the Center is in the process of decommissioning, leaving the island vulnerable to sale.

Although PPIC fought to take Plum Island off the auction block in 2020, the island could still be sold to governmental agencies. President Biden, under the Antiquities Act, has the power to permanently preserve the island by establishing it as a national monument. He has received pressure from many governmental figures, including all four of the senators from New York and Connecticut.

If Plum Island is protected, PPIC envisions conserving Plum island’s Native American culture and environment with an ecological research facility and ecotourism. Visitors would have the opportunity to explore Fort Terry, the Plum Island Lighthouse, a museum, and hiking trails. The site would bring in money for the local economy and create many high-paying jobs.

President Biden has recently designated his first national monument. This is a tremendous victory for Biden’s “America the Beautiful” initiative, which aims to conserve at least 30% of the nation’s land by 2030 and support local and Native ecological efforts. PPIC believes Plum Island is a perfect fit for this initiative, and strongly recommends that the President designate Plum Island as a national monument.

You can add your support by contacting the Biden Administration here.’

By Sofia Choudhri

10.20.22 // AUTHOR: admin //