$1.3 million aims to improve health of Sound in Connecticut and New York
Top federal and state environmental officials have announced 22 grants totaling more than $1.3 million to local government and community groups in Connecticut and New York to improve the health and ecosystem of Long Island Sound.
One of those grants will benefit nearby Stratford and includes funding of $148,753 to Sacred Heart University, plus $80,000 in matching funds, to restore woodland, meadow, and a vernal pool at Stratford Point.
“The project will restore the function and value of the 28 acre coastal ecosystem to add habitat structure for butterflies, resident and migratory birds, and other wildlife to feed, nest and take shelter in habitats of Long Island Sound,” according to a project description.
Altogether, the projects, which are funded through the Long Island Sound Futures Fund, will open up seven miles of river for passage of native fish and restore 180 acres of coastal habitat, including lakes, ponds, and grasslands, government officials said.
This public-private grant program pools funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“We must take steps to ensure the health of Long Island Sound for future generations, especially because of the increasing environmental stresses caused by climate change,” said EPA New England, Regional Administrator, H. Curtis Spalding. “Vibrant, sustainable and resilient communities with clean water and healthy habitats are goals we must strive towards to make sure our children and grandchildren can enjoy Long Island Sound as we do today. The grants announced today represent active efforts to protect and restore the Sound, and therefore the community and economy.”
The Long Island Sound Futures Fund grants will reach more than 130,000 citizens through environmental and conservation programs, allow nearly 1.7 million gallons of water to be treated through water quality improvement projects, and leverage $2.1 million from the grantees themselves, resulting in $3.4 million in funding for on-the-ground, hands-on conservation projects in both states, officials said.
“The Long Island Sound and its waterways are among the state and nation’s most precious natural resources. Since 2005, the Futures Fund has provided millions of dollars for hundreds of projects to protect and preserve this critical ecosystem, restoring valuable habitats, treating and cleaning polluted waters, and engaging and educating new generations of advocates and caretakers,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal. “These projects will help ensure that we can continue to enjoy the Sound’s unparalleled beauty and benefit from vital role it plays in supporting our state and region’s economy for centuries to come.”
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said that as a kid he spent his summers on the beaches of Long Island Sound, so he knows that Connecticut is defined by the economic and ecological power of the Sound.
“Today’s $1.3 million Long Island Futures Fund grant, funding that I’m proud to have fought for in the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, will support community projects along the coast that will make a real difference in continuing our progress towards cleaning up the Sound,” Murphy said. “The public-private partnerships funded by today’s grant show our commitment to the health of the Sound and to ensuring that our children and grandchildren can enjoy it for generations to come.”
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 $14 million in 324 projects in communities surrounding the sound. With grantee match of $28 million, the Long Island Sound Futures Fund has generated a total of $42 million for locally based conservation in both states. The projects have opened up 157 river miles for fish passage, restored 1,024 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat and open space; treated 100 million gallons of pollution from ground and surface sources, and educated and engaged 1.8 million people from communities surrounding the Sound, officials said.
“Long Island Sound is a vitally important ecosystem that continues to be on the road to recovery thanks to funding provided through successful programs like the Long Island Sound Futures Fund,” said Basil Seggos, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.“DEC applauds all the awardees for their innovative projects to improve the health of this environmental and economic treasure by addressing pressing issues such as stormwater runoff, fish passage and wetland loss. We look forward to working with our local, state and federal partners to keep protecting and restoring Long Island Sound.”
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.
Following is a list of projects and their descriptions.
Clean Water and Healthy Watersheds – New York
Project Title: Green Infrastructure at Mamaroneck Town Center to Improve Water Quality in Long Island Sound (NY)
Recipient: Town of Mamaroneck
LISFF Grant: $149,876 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $431,634
Project Area: Mamaroneck Town Center at the West Basin of Mamaroneck Harbor, NY
Install 8,400 sq. ft. of green infrastructure to treat 698,662 gal. of polluted stormwater runoff and prevent 319.6 lbs. of floatable pollution from flowing into Mamaroneck Harbor and Long Island Sound.
Project Title: Green Infrastructure to Reduce Stormwater Pollution at the Centerport Beach Recreation Facility (NY)
Recipient: Town of Huntington, New York
LISFF Grant: $137,322 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $137,322
Project Area: Centerport Beach Recreation Facility, Town of Huntington, Village of Centerport, NY
Install 6,700 sq. ft. of green infrastructure to treat 314,697 gal. of polluted stormwater to improve water quality in Northport Bay and Long Island Sound.
Project Title: Hempstead Harbor 2015 Water Quality Monitoring Program (NY)
Recipient: Incorporated Village of Sea Cliff, New York
LISFF Grant: $45,000 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $102,603
Project Area: Hempstead Harbor, Nassau County, New York
Conduct water quality monitoring of indicators of pollution in outer and inner Hempstead Harbor to track improving and declining water quality and to help local government detect and respond to illicit discharges in the Harbor and Long Island Sound.
Thriving Habitats and Abundant Wildlife – New York
Project Title: Coastal Habitat Restoration at Alley Pond (NY)
Recipient: City Parks Foundation
LISFF Grant: $149,938 (EPA, FWS)
Matching Funds: $ 551,766
Project Area: Alley Creek, Alley Pond Park, Little Neck Bay, NY
Restore tidal wetland, coastal forest, and vernal pool habitat. Project will establish salt marsh habitat in 0.23 acres of tidal pools to reduce marsh loss and fragmentation; and remove invasive plants on 5.5. acres of coastal forest and vernal pools to expand their size and ecological function for invertebrates, amphibians, and wildlife.
Project Title: Restoring Fish Passage at Beaver Lake and Beaver Brook (NY)
Recipient: The Nature Conservancy, Connecticut
LISFF Grant: $149,999 (EPA, FWS)
Matching Funds: $148,237
Project Area: Beaver Brook at Beaver Lake, Village of Mill Neck, NY
Install an engineered steeppass fishway at Beaver Lake on Beaver Brook to restore passage for fish such as alewife to 1.5 miles of upstream riverine spawning habitat from Long Island Sound.
Educating to Engage Sustainable and Resilient Communities – New York
Project Title: Student Scientist Monitoring of American Eel and River Herring on the Bronx River (NY)
Recipient: Rocking the Boat
LISFF Grant: $35,000 (EPA, FWS)
Matching Funds: $19,002
Project Area: Rocking the Boat facility, Hunts Point Riverside Park, Concrete Plant Park, River Park, and New York Botanical Garden, Bronx County, New York
Engage 185 students in monitoring river herring and American eel, which help indicate the biological health of Long Island Sound. The program will increase local community awareness of the Bronx River as habitat for river herring and American eels to inspire stewardship of the Sound.
Project Title: Planting for Clean Water in Long Island Sound Program (NY)
Recipient: Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District
LISFF Grant: $34,513 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $36,879
Project Area: Raingardens installed in Village of Bayville, Village of Centre Island, Cedarmere Preserve, Rosyln, New York
Deliver an educational program for residents, visitors and municipalities about development and installation of raingardens to improve water quality by educating the public about the benefits of green infrastructure to help treat polluted stormwater before it enters Long Island Sound.
Project Title: Summer Youth Marine Education Program for Long Island Sound (NY)
Recipient: City of Glen Cove
LISFF Grant: $7,750 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $11,590
Project Area: Glen Cove, NY, and the Waterfront Center and Beekman Beach, Oyster Bay, NY
Manage a summer youth marine education program for 500 campers and 116 counselors about the Long Island Sound environmental resources. The project will engage campers in hands-on activities and demonstrations at local beaches, which will create awareness of beach ecology and promote stewardship of the Sound.
Project Title: Organizing Long Island Sound Beach Cleanups (NY)
Recipient: American Littoral Society
LISFF Grant: $6,000 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $150,000
Project Area: Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, and Bronx Counties, NY
Organize beach cleanups for 80 miles of shoreline in Queens, Suffolk, Nassau, and Bronx counties, New York. Volunteers will conduct cleanups and receive education about how to prevent pollution; and data from the cleanups will be used to devise strategies for combating floatable marine pollution into waterways like Long Island Sound.
Project Title: Engaging the Public in Reducing Floatable Pollution in the Bronx River and Long Island Sound (NY)
Recipient: Bronx River Alliance, Inc.
LISFF Grant: $9,999 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $14,350
Project Area: Project activities will take place on the lower Bronx River estuary, between 219th St/Shoelace Park and Soundview Park, in Bronx County, New York
Collect floatable debris through eight paddle and pickup canoe trips, one on-shore trash collection at a boom site, and one on-shore coastal cleanup event to collect 4,500 pounds of floatables pollution and other trash from Bronx River and Long Island Sound.
Project Title: All for Wildlife: Discovering Art in Coastal Cleanups around Long Island Sound (NY)
Recipient: Group for the East End, Inc.
LISFF Grant: $10,000 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $10,000
Project Area: Town of Southold, New York
Organize educational coastal cleanups for 750 volunteers along 10 miles of shoreline. The collected debris will be documented and delivered to local artisans to be repurposed into wildlife sculptures that will be on display in public spaces, festivals and events to generate community awareness about shoreline and floatable pollution in Long Island Sound.
Project Title: Gardeners of the Sound (NY)
Recipient: National Audubon Society, Inc./Audubon New York
LISFF Grant: $9,999 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $15,180
Project Area: Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, Oyster Bay, NY
Install a native habitat garden at Sagamore Hill with information about the Long Island Sound. The program will engage 5-10 volunteers to install the native habitat, involve a total of nine classes from three schools, and hold two lecture and field workshops. The demonstration garden will inform approximately 75,000 annual visitors about native plants and animals of the Sound.
Project Title: SOUNDoff Event! Creating Long Island Sound Stewards (NY)
Recipient: The Whaling Museum & Education Center of Cold Spring Harbor
LISFF Grant: $6,902 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $3,500
Project Area: Whaling Museum and Education Center, Cold Spring Harbor, New York
Host a one-day event to engage and inform children and adults about how to play active roles in preserving the Long Island Sound through hands-on activities. The project will reach 400 participants and recruit approximately 75 families to volunteer with local alewife and water quality monitoring.
Clean Water and Healthy Watersheds – Connecticut
Project Title: City-wide Green Infrastructure Siting, Installation and Training (CT)
Recipient: New Haven Urban Resources Initiative
LISFF Grant: $91,232 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $104,690
Project Area: Newhallville Neighborhood and New Haven, CT
Develop a tool to optimize site selection and train community members to install and maintain green infrastructure bioswales to treat 710,000 gallons of polluted stormwater annually to improve water quality in New Haven Harbor and Long Island Sound.
Project Title: Tracking Down Pollution Sources Impacting Water Quality in 4 Connecticut Rivers and Long Island Sound (CT)
Recipient: Recipient: Earthplace - the Nature Discovery Center, Inc.
LISFF Grant: $44,557 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $40,212
Project Area: Mill River, Sasco Brook, Norwalk, and Noroton Rivers, Western Long Island Sound, CT
Conduct water quality monitoring and sewage track down surveys in four watersheds to help identify and support remediation of “point” sources of pollution to improve water quality conditions in rivers that follow into the Long Island Sound in Fairfield County.
Project Title: Developing a Plan to Assess and Reduce Nitrogen in Saugatuck River Watershed Communities (CT)
Recipient: The Nature Conservancy, Connecticut
LISFF Grant: $64,980 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $48,235
Project Area: Saugatuck River Watershed: Bethel, Danbury, Easton, Fairfield, Newtown, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton, Connecticut
Develop a Nitrogen Load Model assessment and reduction plan for the Saugatuck River Watershed. Project will assess the feasibility, cost and effectiveness of techniques that represent the most cost-effective, rapid and greenest approaches to measurably reducing nonpoint source nitrogen loads into the watershed and Long Island Sound.
Thriving Habitats and Abundant Wildlife – Connecticut
Project Title: Stratford Point Living Shoreline: Restoring Coastal Habitats to Maintain Resiliency and Function (CT)
Recipient: Sacred Heart University, Inc.
LISFF Grant: $148,753 (EPA, FWS)
Matching Funds: $80,000
Project Area: Stratford Point, Lordship Peninsula, Town of Stratford, CT
Restore woodland, meadow, and vernal pool at Stratford Point. Project will restore the function and value of the 28 acre coastal ecosystem to add habitat structure for butterflies, resident and migratory birds, and other wildlife to feed, nest and take shelter in habitats of Long Island Sound.
Project Title: Restoring Fish Passage on the Noroton River (CT)
Recipient: Connecticut Fund for the Environment
LISFF Grant: $150,000 (EPA, FWS)
Matching Funds: $156,927
Project Area: Noroton River and Interstate 95 at Town of Darien and City of Stamford, CT
Modify bridge culverts to restore 4.9 miles to fish passage on the Noroton River at I-95 between the Town of Darien and City of Stamford, CT. Project will provide access to a riverine migratory corridor for fish including river herring to critical upstream spawning and nursery habitat of Long Island Sound and its rivers.
Project Title: Fishway Rehabilitation at the Versailles Pond Dam (CT)
Recipient: Thames Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited
LISFF Grant: $22,000 (EPA, FWS)
Matching Funds: $22,402
Project Area: Versailles Pond, Village of Versailles, CT
Replace degraded components of the Versailles Pond Dam Fishway in the Village of Versailles, Connecticut. Project will restore passage for anadromous fish to 1.75 miles and 65 acres of spawning and nursery habitat of Long Island Sound and its rivers.
Educating to Engage Sustainable and Resilient Communities – Connecticut
Project Title: Creating a Network of Schoolyard Habitats to Engage Students in Conservation of Long Island Sound (CT)
Recipient: National Audubon Society, Audubon Connecticut
LISFF Grant: $34,993 (EPA, FWS)
Matching Funds: $46,935
Project Area: Cities of Stamford and New Haven, Connecticut
Create and expand the network of schoolyard native wildlife habitats in New Haven and Stamford, Connecticut. Project will provide critical bird habitat for migratory songbirds in urban areas using school grounds as outdoor living classrooms to engage students in hands-on conservation and to increase knowledge about and connection to Long Island Sound habitats and wildlife.
Project Title: Sound Actions: Celebrate Long Island Sound through Community Stewardship (CT)
Recipient: Sea Research Foundation, Inc.
LISFF Grant: $9,979 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $14,314
Project Area: Mystic Aquarium, Mystic, Connecticut.
Host an event educating visitors about how to be a steward for the Long Island Sound and will conduct a community cleanup. The project will engage 6,500 people to take a pledge to improve the health of the Sound and to pick up 400 pounds of debris.
Project Title: A Student Urban Field-study of Water Quality and Species Diversity along the Long Island Sound Coast (CT)
Recipient: SoundWaters, Inc.
LISFF Grant: $33,935 (EPA, FWS)
Matching Funds: $18,415
Project Area: Cove Island Park and Boccuzzi Park, Stamford, Connecticut
Support a student-driven study and presentations comparing water quality and species diversity between two coastal sites--Cove Island Park, located on a coastal embayment in a residential neighborhood and Boccuzzi Park, located on a commercial harbor in Stamford, Connecticut. Project will increase youth awareness about threats to Long Island Sound and skills to communicate information to increase awareness and participation among peers, public officials and community to maintain the Sound as a healthy ecosystem.