NORWALK, Conn., October 24, 2013 - Top federal and state environmental officials today announced 23 grants totaling $1,295,972 to local government and community groups in Connecticut and New York to improve the health of Long Island Sound. The projects, which are funded through the Long Island Sound Futures Fund, will open up 12.2 river miles for passage of native fish and restore 50 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat including intertidal marsh, coastal forest, grasslands and freshwater wetlands. More than 989,000 citizens will be reached by environmental and conservation programs supported by the grants. Nearly 600,000 gallons of stormwater will be treated through the development of water pollution control projects.
This public-private grant program pools funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Long Island Sound Funders Collaborative.
"Protecting and restoring Long Island Sound have long been priorities for EPA," said EPA New England Regional Administrator Curt Spalding. "These grants will support vital and diverse projects throughout the region to improve water quality and remove pollution from the Long Island Sound watershed, and involve the public in the protection of one of the nation's most important natural treasures."
"This funding represents a sustained commitment to restoration and preservation of the Long Island Sound-one of our region's most precious natural resources. I will continue to fight to ensure Connecticut receives the funding and support it needs to ensure all of our ecosystems remain vibrant and healthy, not only for the health of our environment, but for the enjoyment of future generations to come," stated Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT).
“One of the greatest environmental challenges facing our communities is the protection and restoration of estuaries,” said Amanda Bassow, director of NFWF’s Eastern Partnership Office. “The funding awarded today represents the Foundation’s continuing commitment, as well as the commitment of our federal and state partners, to further restoration efforts aimed at improving the overall health of Long Island Sound.”
The Long Island Sound Study initiated the Long Island Sound Futures Fund in 2005 through the EPA’s Long Island Sound Office and NFWF. To date, the program has invested $11.7 million in 285 projects in communities surrounding the Sound. With grantee match of $24 million, the Long Island Sound Futures Fund has generated a total of almost $36 million for projects in both states.
“The conservation of local fish and wildlife depends on the communities that share these lands and waters,” said Wendi Weber, director of the northeast regional office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "We’re pleased to see funding support partnerships with schools, conservation groups and others that will protect our shared natural resources through projects such as restoring waterways used by migratory fish like American eel and shad, improving habitat for the New England cottontail and other young forest wildlife, and teaching students about endangered shorebirds.”
"We appreciate the continued support of the Long Island Sound Future's Fund and all of its partners in helping to protect and enhance Long Island Sound because the Sound is so important to Connecticut's ecology, scenic beauty, the economy, and outdoor recreation opportunities," said Daniel C. Esty, commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. "We also appreciate the thoughtfulness and ingenuity behind the grants we are announcing today, as these projects will address many issues critical to the health of Long Island Sound in new and innovative ways."
"As a longtime clam fisherman, rower, and overall outdoor enthusiast, I understand first-hand the need to preserve and protect the precious natural resource that is the Long Island Sound," said Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4). "These grants will help make tangible improvements to the health of the Sound, and I look forward to working with our partners at the state and federal level to ensure the continued success of our efforts in the region."
"The Long Island Sound Funders Collaborative is delighted to provide joint funds towards the ecosystem report card project, an innovative tool to be used by communities to foster management and sustainability of the health and living resources of the Sound," said Jeff Yates, program director for Environment, Fairfield County Community Foundation.
Long Island Sound is an estuary that provides economic and recreational benefits to millions of people, while also providing habitat for more than 1,200 invertebrates, 170 species of fish, and dozens of species of migratory birds. The Long Island Sound Study, developed under the EPA’s National Estuary Program, is a cooperative effort between the EPA and the states of Connecticut and New York to protect and restore the Sound and its ecosystem. To learn more about the LISS, visit www.longislandsoundstudy.net. For full descriptions of the Long Island Sound Futures Fund Grants, visit http://longislandsoundstudy.net/about/grants/lis-futures-fund/.
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) sustains, restores and enhances the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,000 organizations and committed more than $2.1 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.
HABITAT RESTORATION AND SPECIES CONSERVATION GRANTSCentral Connecticut Regional Planning Agency Removal of Middle Street Dam from the Pequabuck River, Bristol, CTLISFF Grant (EPA & USFWS): $100,000.00 Grantee Matching Funds: $116,723.00
Groton Open Space Association Restoring Coastal Forest and New England Cottontail Habitat, Groton, CT LISFF Grant (EPA & USFWS): $100,000.00 Grantee Matching Funds: $90,675.00
CLEAN WATER GRANTSUniversity of Connecticut Using Seaweed (Kelp) to Bioextract Pollution, Thimble Islands, Branford, CT LISFF Grant (EPA): $88,340.00 Grantee Matching Funds: $51,280.00
EDUCATION GRANTSThe Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk Keeping the Sound Healthy - Stormwater Social Marketing, Norwalk, CTLISFF Grant (EPA): $34,929.00 Grantee Matching Funds: $35,268.00
Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut Organic Lawn Care Certificate Program, Waterbury, CT LISFF Grant (EPA): $25,724.46 Grantee Matching Funds: $26,413.00
National Audubon Society, Connecticut Urban Oases Wildlife Habitats in New Haven Parks & Schools, City of New Haven, CTLISFF Grant (EPA): $34,999.80 Grantee Matching Funds: $61,845.00
PLANNING GRANTS – HABITAT RESTORATION, SPECIES CONSERVATION & CLEAN WATER
Sacred Heart UniversityRestoration of Intertidal Habitat at Stratford Point, Stratford, CT LISFF Grant (EPA & FWS): $59,056.00 Grantee Matching Funds: $88,470.00
Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District Chapman Mill Pond Fishway Design, Menunketesuck River, Clinton/Westbrook, CT LISFF Grant (EPA & FWS): $36,000.00 Grantee Matching Funds: $15,879.00
Hammonasset Chapter #446, Trout Unlimited Pages Millpond Fishway Design, Farm River, North Branford and East Haven, CT LISFF Grant (EPA & FWS): $21,375.00 Grantee Matching Funds: $11,625.00
The Connecticut Fund for the EnvironmentHousatonic Community College Green Infrastructure Project, Bridgeport, CT LISFF Grant (EPA): $60,000.00 Grantee Matching Funds: $63,486.00
Housatonic Valley Association Low Impact Development for Seymour and Oxford, Connecticut, CT LISFF Grant (EPA): $24,215.00 Grantee Matching Funds: $9,855.00
The Connecticut Fund for the EnvironmentCFE/Save the Sound Coastal Cleanup Program, Connecticut coastal areas and inland waterways, CTLISFF Grant (EPA): $10,000.00 Grantee Matching Funds: $9,974.00
WATER QUALITY MONITORING GRANTS
Earthplace - The Nature Discovery Center Track Down Water Quality Survey of Sasco Brook Estuary, Westport & Fairfield, CTLISFF Grant (EPA): $31,343.00 Grantee Matching Funds: $10,474.00
PROJECTS BENEFITING BOTH CT AND NY
University of Maryland The Long Island Sound Ecosystem Health Report Card System, Long Island Sound Watershed in NY and CT LISFF Grant (EPA, FWS & LIS Funders Collaborative): $135,568 Grantee Matching Funds: $50,702
The Nature Conservancy Three Fish Passage Projects in CT and NY, Falls River, Essex, CT, Aspetuck River,Westport, CT and Beaver Brook, Oyster Bay, NY LISFF Grant (EPA & FWS): $84,935.83 Grantee Matching Funds: $59,797.00
National Audubon Society Conserving Coastal Birds through Stewardship and Outreach, Bayville, Lattingtown, Oyster Bay, Pelham Bay, NY; &Stonington, West Haven, Silver Sands/Charles Island, Milford Point, Stratford, CTLISFF Grant (EPA & FWS): $69,744.01 Grantee Matching Funds: $62,286.32
CLEAN WATER GRANTS
Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Suffolk County Engaging Sweet Corn & Potato Farmers: Nitrogen Fertilizer Management, Towns of Riverhead and Southold, NYLISFF Grant (EPA): $100,000.00 Grantee Matching Funds: $100,000.00
Town of Oyster Bay Western Waterfront Rain Garden Planting/Training Program, Oyster Bay, NY LISFF Grant (EPA): $20,247.91 Grantee Matching Funds: $28,776.25
New York Botanical Garden Permeable Paver Storm Water Detention Lot, Bronx River, NY LISFF Grant (EPA): $100,000.00 Grantee Matching Funds: $200,000.00
Rocking the BoatBronx River Eel Monitoring and General Fish Assessment, Bronx River, NY LISFF Grant (EPA): $35,000.00 Grantee Matching Funds: $10,718.00
PLANNING GRANTS - CLEAN WATER
National Wildlife Federation Overcoming Barriers to Green Infrastructure Adoption, Huntington/Northport Harbor Complex within the town of Huntington, will include the Villages of Northport, Asharoken, and Huntington Bay, NYLISFF Grant (EPA): $59,494.00 Grantee Matching Funds: $30,640.00
Citizens Campaign Fund for the EnvironmentDon't Flush Your Drugs Educational Campaign, Long Island Sound Watershed, NY LISFF Grant (EPA): $10,000.20 Grantee Matching Funds: $7,935.00
Incorporated Village of Sea Cliff, New York Hempstead Harbor 2013 Water Quality Monitoring Program, Hempstead Harbor, NY LISFF Grant (EPA): $55,000.00 Grantee Matching Funds: $72,113.00
PROJECTS BENEFITTING BOTH NY AND CT
The Nature Conservancy Three Fish Passage Projects in CT and NY, Falls River, Essex, CT, Aspetuck River, Westport, CT and Beaver Brook, Oyster Bay, NY LISFF Grant (EPA & FWS): $84,935.83 Grantee Matching Funds: $98,809.00
National Audubon Society Conserving Coastal Birds through Stewardship and Outreach, Bayville, Lattingtown, Oyster Bay, Pelham Bay, NY; & Stonington, West Haven, Silver Sands/Charles Island, Milford Point, Stratford, CTLISFF Grant (EPA & FWS): $69,744.01 Grantee Matching Funds: $62,286.32