Preserve Plum Island - Fighting to preserve 843 acres of wildlife habitat from development

Plum IslandLocated less than a mile from Orient Point, the tip of Long Island’s North Fork, lies the 840 acre, pork chop-shaped Plum Island. Well-known from Nelson DeMille's book of the same title and even more so because of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center ("PIADC") that exists there, this wildlife rich island is a vital stopover site and breeding ground for migratory birds, seals and other species. Unfortunately, its ecological resources are in danger of being lost. In 2008, Congress approved sale of parts of the island, with plans to move the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility to another state. While the legislation required only the sale of those parts of the island that supported the PIADC and required government interests to be protected and government programs to be followed, the General Services Administration and the Department of Homeland Security are seeking to sell the entire island to the highest bidder, without measures to conserve or protect the government’s interests in preservation.

The approximately 90% of Plum Island that is undeveloped holds significant ecological and scenic sites.

In fact,  Plum Island has been recognized as:

  • “Important Bird Area” – Audubon, New York
  • “Critical Natural Resource Area” – US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • “Peconic Bay Environs Critical Environmental Area” - Suffolk County, New York
  • “New York State Significant Coastal Fish & Wildlife Habitat” – NYS Dept. of State
  • “Environmental Stewardship Area” - Long Island Sound Study

The Island also holds nationally-significant artifacts and historic buildings – including the 1870 Plum Gut Lighthouse and the 1897 Fort Terry army barracks and weapons batteries.  Plum Island’s scenic value, ecological resources and historic sites offer tremendous potential for recreation and public education, and make it an ideal candidate for permanent preservation.

Read the latest update on the coalition's efforts


The mission of the Preserve Plum Island Coalition (PPIC) is to secure the permanent protection of the significant natural and cultural resources of Plum Island. The PPIC advocates for comprehensive solutions that safeguard this national treasure; this includes dedicating Plum Island's undeveloped acreage, approximately 80% of the island, as a National Wildlife Refuge, or creating a preserve providing equivalent protection in perpetuity. The PPIC recognizes the existence of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) and the jobs supported by this facility. If the Center is closed, and no adaptive reuse occurs, the PPIC supports the removal of non-historic buildings and surplus infrastructure, the clean-up and restoration of any impacted resources and the dedication of the PIADC property as conservation lands.

Least Tern and Chick - Courtesy of Lloyd Spitalnik


  • Have your organization join the Preserve Plum Island Coalition
  • Check the website and Facebook page often for updates and announcements
  • Call or write to your elected officials, Senators Gillibrand and Schumer and Congressman Zeldin,  to let them know your concerns and ask them to fight to reverse the sale of the island 
  • Write letters to your local papers, as well as publications such as Newsday to voice your concerns
  • Share your knowledge with friends and neighbors.

Aerial of Plum Island LighthouseGrey Seal


Fill out my online form.
Preserve Plum Island Coalition - PO Box 735 - Huntington, NY 11743 -