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Northeastern Coastal Zone

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NameColor on MapEPA Code‡
Connecticut Valley59a
Lower Worcester Plateau/Eastern Connecticut Upland59b
Southern New England Coastal Plains and Hills59c
Boston Basin59d
Narragansett/Bristol Lowland59e
Gulf of Maine Coastal Lowland59f
Long Island Sound Coastal Lowland59g
Gulf of Maine Coastal Plain59h
Hudson Valley59i

† Status: ✓ = Complete ○ = Needs Image … = Incomplete ∅ = Stub Only

This code refers to the US EPA's Level 4 ecoregion codes for the continental U.S., see here.


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About the Northeastern Coastal Zone

The Northeastern Coastal Zone covers much of southern New England, extending from part of long island up to the southern coast of Maine, and extending inland along the Hudson and Connecticut river valleys. This area is characterized by nutrient-poor, rocky soils, and an abundance of glacial lakes. It is similar to the more inland Northeastern Highlands, but flatter overall, and more populous.

The terrain consists of irregular plains, sometimes interspersed with tall hills. The underlying bedrock is diverse, mostly a mixture of igneous and metamorphic rocks, with some areas of sedimentary rock. The climate is a humid continental climate with warm summers and rather severe winters; precipitation is roughly equally distributed year-round. Originally, this region was covered by Appalachian oak forests and northeastern oak-pine forests. Dominant trees include white oak, northern red oak, hickories, eastern white pine, with maple, beech, birch, and hemlock in cooler areas.

Historically, this region was farmed more than today, although the nutrient-poor soil often yielded poor results, leading agriculture to be abandoned more quickly here than in more fertile regions to the southwest. Some farms remain, but the majority of the region is taken up by a mix of woodlands and urban and suburban development.

Surface waters in this areas, including both lakes and streams, are sensitive to acidification caused by acid rain.

This area contains the Boston metro area and much of the New York City metro area, as well as numerous smaller cities.

This region is bordered inland by the similar but more rugged and upland Northeastern Highlands. To the northeast along the coast, it is bordered by the Acadian Plains and Hills. Although this region extends to the coast (either of the ocean, or Long Island sound) in most areas, on Long Island itself and the region around Cape Cod, it is bordered to the southeast by the Atlantic Coastal Pine Barrens.

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1. Wiken, E., Griffith, G. "North American Terrestrial Ecoregions - Level III", Commission for Environmental Cooperation, (2011) Web.