American Littoral Society
18 Hartshorne Drive, Suite 1
Highlands, NJ 07732
ContactMrs. Laurie Bratone
General operating support of advocacy and implementation of practices that expand nature-based approaches to estuarine habitat protection and community resiliency.
The American Littoral Society promotes the study and conservation of marine life and habitat, protects the coast from harm, and empowers others to do the same.
American Littoral Society was organized in 1961 when a group of skin divers volunteered their services to the newly established research laboratory of the US Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife at Fort Hancock, New Jersey, a Sandy Hook marine laboratory. The amateur divers' interests' had been piqued by their underwater observations. Rooms in the marine laboratory were made available to the Society and the labs energetic assistant director, John R. Clark, became the Society's first president. Littoral, for the Society, has come to mean all shoal areas where fish and underwater life dwell: seacoasts, rivers, deltas, lakes, and marshlands. Emphasis has also broadened from study to conservation work. It became clear that unless conservation steps were taken, nothing would be left for the edification of the underwater naturalist. With this increased awareness of the importance of conservation, the Society's programs became of interest to people outside the limited fraternity of divers, and now include all people who use and love the sea. As more and more anglers joined the Society, efforts expanded into the accumulation of data concerning fish migration and habitat with the birth of the amateur fish tagging program in 1965 which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2015. Since its inception, the Society has a long, substantive list of achievements in response to critical needs to protect and restore our coastal areas. Major landmark legislative victories have been won, significant affiliate organizations -- NY/NJBayKeeper, and Clean Ocean Action have been born from the Society, and the important work continues. Today, the Society's headquarters are still located at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook, and it remains a steward of a long stretch of coastline that runs from Maine to Florida. The organization is led by Tim Dillingham whose background in marine science and over 25 years in coastal and environmental policy development, management, and advocacy make the Society one of the most respected voices for coastal conservation in New Jersey.