Stretching more than 110 miles into the Atlantic, with 600 miles of coastline, the Long Island Sound is home to hundreds of species of fish, birds, and other animals. Millions of people visit the Sound each year to swim, boat, and enjoy its beauty, enriching their own lives and stimulating the local economy.
Maintaining the Sound as a healthy ecosystem, while balancing human uses, presents a challenge. Over centuries, stormwater runoff, debris and other sources of man-made pollution have degraded the Sound and compromised its vitality.
NFWF's Long Island Sound Futures Fund supports projects in local communities that aim to protect and restore the Long Island Sound. It unites federal and state agencies, foundations and corporations to achieve high-priority conservation objectives. Funded activities demonstrate a real, on-the-ground commitment to securing a healthy future for the Long Island Sound.
Funding priorities for this program include:
- Urban waters: assisting communities, especially underserved communities, to access, improve and benefit from their urban waters and the surrounding land;
- Clean waters and healthy watersheds: planning and implementing low impact development (LID) and green infrastructure or green street projects;
- Restoring and protecting habitat, and conserving wildlife;
- Engaging people and communities around the sound: fostering sustainable behaviors through social marketing; and
- Improving conservation on private lands: working with landowners to increase the number of best conservation practices.
Since 2005, NFWF's Long Island Sound Futures Fund has invested $10.5 million in 262 projects in communities surrounding the Sound. The projects will open up 128 river miles for fish passage, and restore or acquire more than 959 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat. This habitat includes lakes, underwater grasses, woodlands, meadows, wetlands, beaches, dunes and river and park frontage. With grantee matches of almost $24 million, the Long Island Sound Futures Fund has generated a total of almost $35 million for locally-based conservation.
NFWF manages the Long Island Sound Futures Fund in partnership with the Long Island Sound Study through U.S. EPA’s Long Island Sound Office. Major funding for the program is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Long Island Sound Study, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.