Mike Smith, NFWF, 703-623-3834
Emily Bender, EPA Region 1, 617-918-1037
John Martin, EPA Region 2, 212-637-3662
Town of Mamaroneck (Nov. 14, 2016)—Today, top federal and state environmental officials from New York and Connecticut announced 25 grants totaling $1.3 million to local government and community groups to improve the health and ecosystem of Long Island Sound.
The projects, which are funded through the Long Island Sound Futures Fund, will restore 27 acres of habitat, including coastal forest, dunes, and salt marshes for fish and wildlife. This grant program combines funds from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
“Protecting Long Island Sound is a top priority for the EPA,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “These projects will support vital and diverse initiatives throughout the region. We must all work to improve water quality and reduce pollution in the Long Island Sound watershed, while involving the public in protecting one of our nation’s most important natural treasures.”
”A healthy Long Island Sound stimulates the economy of the region and these grants will help achieve tangible results on water quality improvements and habitat restoration in the Sound,” said EPA Regional Administrator Curt Spalding. “By showcasing local solutions, these grants also help strengthen and expand partnerships working towards ecosystem restoration throughout the watershed.”
The Long Island Sound Futures Fund 2016 grants will reach more than 395,000 residents through environmental and conservation education programs and treat one million gallons of water pollution with water quality improvement projects, including more than 700 pounds of nitrogen reduced, and 6,000 pounds of floating trash collected. The grant funds will be matched by $1.3 million from the grantees, resulting in $2.6 million in funding for on-the-ground conservation projects in both states.
“We are incredibly fortunate here in the Lower Hudson Valley to be home to some of our nation’s most beautiful coastal habitats, including the Long Island Sound. We must continue working to preserve and improve its scenic beauty, and protect the fish and wildlife that rely on the Sound for survival. Maintaining and preserving our estuaries and waterways has always been a top priority of mine as a Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and one of the best ways to do that is through robust funding for local projects aimed at conservation. I am pleased these federal funds from the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service will be made available to local groups working to keep our Sound beautiful for future generations,” said Congressman Eliot Engel, NY.
“Estuaries like the Long Island Sound are among our nation’s most precious natural resources,” said Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey, NY. “Since 2005, the Long Island Sound Futures Fund has provided millions of dollars for projects to protect the Sound, restoring valuable habitats, and cleaning polluted waters. I commend the Long Island Sound Futures Fund for their dedicated efforts, and as Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will keep working to increase federal investments that conserve the Sound and other critical aquatic ecosystems.”
“One of the greatest environmental challenges facing our nation and its communities is the protection and restoration of highly productive estuaries,” said National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO. “The funding awarded today represents the Foundation’s and US EPA’s continuing commitment, as well as the commitment of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal and state partners, to 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 the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). To date the Futures Fund has invested $15 million in 352 projects. With grantee match of $30 million, the program has generated $45 million for locally based conservation. The projects have opened up 157 river miles for fish passage, restored 1,051 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat and open space, treated 101 million gallons of pollution, and educated and engaged 2.1 million people from communities surrounding the Sound.
“We are pleased to support our conservation partners through this collaborative funding effort,” said US Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Regional Director, Wendi Weber. “This year, funded projects will help youth and adults become active stewards of the outdoors and introduce them to wildlife around them. Additionally, work will help restore the health of our rivers, coastal marshes, and forests for the benefit of fish, wildlife and coastal communities.”
“Long Island Sound is an essential economic and environmental treasure in need of careful stewardship to protect its integrity,” said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos. “This funding from the Long Island Sound Futures Fund builds on New York’s increased support for restoration of this vital ecosystem by advancing valuable projects to conserve habitats, improve water quality, and promote public awareness. DEC congratulates the successful applicants and looks forward to seeing the success of their projects.”
“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 Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Director Land and Water Resources Division, Brian Thompson. “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.”
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.
Each of the grant projects contribute to a healthier Long Island Sound for everyone, from nearby area residents to those at the furthest reaches of the Sound. All nine million who live, work and play in the watershed impacting the Sound can benefit from and help build on the progress that has already been made.
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.
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,500 organizations and committed more than $3.5 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.
Clean Waters and Healthy Watersheds
Project: Green Infrastructure Planning Initiative
Grantee: Village of Port Chester
LISFF Grant: $47,000
Grantee Matching Funds: $47,000
Area: Village of Port Chester, New York
Scope: The project will develop a green infrastructure operations manual and prepare conceptual designs and costs for green infrastructure projects in Port Chester, New York. The project will enhance the ability of the community to reduce urban stormwater runoff and flooding and advance environmental green infrastructure projects village-wide.
Project: Green Infrastructure Planning Initiative
Grantee: City of New Rochelle
LISFF Grant: $55,000
Grantee Matching Funds: $64,232
Area: City of New Rochelle, New York
Scope: The project will prepare a green infrastructure program plan for the City of New Rochelle, New York. The project will fully integrate green infrastructure into the work practices and policies of the City to reduce urban stormwater runoff and nonpoint source pollution to improve water quality in Long Island Sound.
Project: Water Quality Monitoring Intiative for Long Island Sound Embayments
Grantee: Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound
LISFF Funds: $58,937
Grantee Matching Funds: $44,485
Area: Mamaroneck Harbor and Manhasset Bay, New York
Scope: The project will pilot common standards and methods and produce guidance to inform water quality monitoring of ecological and eutrophic conditions by citizen-science groups working in Long Island Sound embayments and harbors in Connecticut and New York. The project will help citizen-based water quality monitoring groups collect information in a common way which will help improve regional management of water quality in local waterways in the Long Island Sound Watershed.
Project: Cultivating Champions for Healthy Soil and Clean Water for Long Island Sound
Grantee: American Farmland Trust
LISFF Funds: $83,941
Grantee Matching Funds: $63,786
Area: Town of Southold, Suffolk County, New York
Scope: The project will conduct five on-farm pilots of soil health practices, document the crop, economic and environmental results, and share information about the practices and results farmer-to-farmer in the Town of Southold, New York. The project will promote the use of soil health practices among Suffolk County’s 140 vegetable farms and reduce nitrogen from farms in the Long Island Sound drainage.
Project: Demonstrating Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems for Clean Water at Uplands Farm Sanctuary
Grantee: The Nature Conservancy, Long Island
LISFF Funds: $100,075
Grantee Matching Funds: $157,630
Area: Cold Spring Harbor, Suffolk County, New York
Scope: The project will construct and publicize the results of the first nitrogen-reducing vegetated wastewater treatment system in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. The project demonstrates a system that treats wastewater in a natural manner, reduces nitrogen discharges, and safely removes pathogens providing an alternative to traditional waste treatment in cesspools which contributes nitrogen and other pollutants into Long Island Sound. The project will reduce nitrogen in effluent to nearly zero, and by at least 90% resulting in a reduction of at least 150 pounds of nitrogen annually.
Project: Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems for Clean Water R.E. Read Sr. Recreation Center
Grantee: Peconic Green Growth
LISFF Funds: $86,430
Grantee Matching Funds: $48,303
Area: Shoreham, New York
Scope: The project will design and pilot a soil-based wastewater treatment system in Shoreham, New York. The project will reduce nitrogen by 85-90% as well as treat other emerging contaminants such as pharmaceuticals in Long Island Sound.
Project: Green Infrastructure for Beardsley Zoo
Recipient: Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound
LISFF Grant: $149,834
Grantee Matching Funds: $75,880
Area: Bridgeport, Connecticut
Scope: The project will install green infrastructure including enhancing existing lawn areas with 2,000 square feet of bioretention gardens and tree pits; and replacing 4,000 square feet of impervious pavement with pervious pavers in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The project will capture and treat 1,000,000 gallons of urban stormwater runoff annually.
Project: Stonington Harbor and Coastline Water Quality Monitoring and Education Initiative
Recipient: Sea Research Foundation (Mystic Aquarium)
LISFF Grant: $24,672
Grantee Matching Funds: $24,710
Area: Stonington, Connecticut coastline
Scope: The project will monitor and identify local pollution sources in near-shore areas and conduct a public education program along the coastline of Stonington, Connecticut. The project will reduce sources of nitrogen pollution into the Stonington coast and Long Island Sound.
Thriving Habitats and Abundant Wildlife
Project: Alley Creek Shoreline and Coastal Forest Restoration
Grantee: City of New York, Department of Parks and Recreation
LISFF Grant: $150,000
Grantee Matching Funds: $150,000
Area: Alley Pond Park, Douglaston, New York
Scope: The project will construct 200 to 400 linear feet of living shoreline to restore approximately one acre of degraded salt marsh, and enhance 13 acres of coastal grassland, forest and upland in Alley Pond Park in Douglaston, New York. The project will stop the continued loss of urban salt marsh.
Project: Restoring Coastal Forest at Otter Creek Preserve
Grantee: Westchester Land Trust
LISFF Grant: $55,393
Grantee Matching Funds: $33,347
Area: Village of Mamaroneck, New York
Scope: The project will restore a 12 acre coastal forest in the Village of Mamaroneck, New York. The project will result in a forest with increased structural complexity and improved wildlife habitat for 100 species of migratory and forest birds including warblers, vireos, thrush, flycatchers, and raptors.
Project: Coastal Dune Restoration at Stratford Point
Recipient: Sacred Heart University
LISFF Grant: $115,198
Grantee Matching Funds: $200,000
Area: Stratford Point, Stratford, Connecticut
Scope: The project will restore 1.5 acres of coastal dune habitat in Stratford Point, Connecticut. The project will provide breeding habitat for shorebirds and tiger beetle.
Project: Village Creek Salt Marsh Restoration Demonstration
Recipient: Norwalk Land Trust
LISFF Grant: $20,000
Grantee Matching Funds: $20,000
Area: Norwalk, Connecticut
Scope: The project will develop the planning and design to support restoration of approximately eight acres of degraded intertidal salt meadows in Norwalk, Connecticut. The project will provide the foundation for a salt marsh restoration program with a focused project plan to improve restoration success in an important wildlife area.
Project: Planning for Restoring Fish Passage on the Falls River
Recipient: The Nature Conservancy, Connecticut
LISFF Funds: $59,983
Grantee Matching Funds: $40,960
Area: Centerbrook, Connecticut
Scope: The project will develop designs for fish passage at two dams on the Falls River a tributary to the lower Connecticut River in Centerbrook, Connecticut. The project will set the stage for access to over 45 acres and a mile and a half of stream habitat for alewife and blueback herring; and raise community awareness of these projects, river health, and the critical connection between freshwater habitats and Long Island Sound.
Educating to Engage Sustainable and Resilient Communities
Project: SOUNDoff Event! Creating Long Island Sound Stewards – II
Grantee: The Whaling Museum & Education Center of Cold Spring Harbor
LISFF Grant: $7,398
Grantee Matching Funds: $3,700
Area: Cold Spring Harbor, New York
Scope: The project will host a one-day event to engage and inform children and adults about how to play an active role in preserving the Long Island Sound through hands-on activities in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. The project will reach 400 visitors who will leave the event with a stronger understanding of their relationship to the Sound and with practical ways to contribute to a cleaner Sound.
Project: Reducing Floatable Litter and Debris Pollution in the Bronx River and Long Island Sound
Grantee: Bronx River Alliance
LISFF Grant: $10,000
Grantee Matching Funds: $10,760
Area: Bronx River, Bronx, New York
Scope: The project will collect floating trash through ten paddle and pickup canoe trips, one on-shore litter collection at a trash collection boom site, and one on-shore coastal cleanup event in the Bonx, New York. The project will prevent 4,420 pounds of floating debris and trash from entering Long Island Sound waters.
Project: Student Scientist Monitoring of American Eel and River Herring on the Bronx River – II
Grantee: Rocking the Boat
LISFF Grant: $35,000
Grantee Matching Funds: $38,242
Area: Bronx River, Bronx, New York
Scope: The project will engage 265 middle and high school students in monitoring river herring and American eel in Bronx, New York. The program will increase local community awareness of the Bronx River as a habitat for river herring and American eels and contribute to the development of a management plan for these Long Island Sound species.
Project: Share the Shore and Be a Good Egg
Grantee: National Audubon Society, Audubon New York
LISFF Grant: $34,988
Grantee Matching Funds: $35,000.00
Area: Oyster Bay, Centre Island, Stehli Beach, Sands City/Hobart, and Caumsett and Sunken Meadow State Parks, New York
Scope: The project will provide a multifaceted environmental education program which includes public and school programming, direct on- the-beach public outreach, delivering stewardship projects on the coast for birds, and securing pledges from people committing to share the shore with shorebirds on the North Shore of Long Island, New York. The project will reduce threats to coastal habitats and shorebirds including Piping Plover, Least Tern, Common Tern, American Oystercatcher, and Black Skimmer.
Project: My Yard, Our Sound: Planting for Clean Water and Wildlife
Grantee: The Maritime Explorium at Port Jeff Harbor
LISFF Grant: $25,366
Grantee Matching Funds: $69,216
Area: Port Jefferson, New York
Scope: The project will engage 1,600 people in a program that delivers an exhibit, and workshops for families to transform their yards and gardens with native plants in Port Jefferson, New York. The project will provide natural landscaping guidance to homeowners to encourage the use of alternatives to chemical and nutrient-intensive landscaping to benefit water quality and living resources of Long Island Sound.
Project: Long Island Sound Water Education for Elementary School Students
Grantee: North Shore Land Alliance
LISFF Grant: $30,500
Grantee Matching Funds: $18,000
Area: Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New York
Scope: The project will deliver three educational sessions on water quality to 1,850 elementary school students in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New York. The project will educate students about Long Island’s ground water quality, the connection to Long Island Sound and how students can protect local water resources.
Project: Coastal Youth Stewards
Recipient: North American Marine Environment Protection Association
LISFF Grant: $6,918
Grantee Matching Funds: $5,236
Area: Bridgeport, Stamford, Ridgefield and Southport/Fairfield, Connecticut
Scope: The project will educate and engage 150 K-12 youth in 10 beach cleanups and in an educational program about the marine environment and marine debris in the Southwest Coast Watershed, Connecticut. The project will prevent over 1,500 pounds of debris from entering Long Island Sound waters and encourage students to become environmental stewards through hands-on education about the impact of marine debris on the Sound as well as other waterways.
Project: Sound Engagement for Families
Recipient: Sea Research Foundation (Mystic Aquarium)
LISFF Grant: $9,300
Grantee Matching Funds: $11,895
Area: Mystic Aquarium, Mystic, Barn Island Wildlife Management Area, Pawcatuck, and Bluff Point State Park, Groton, Connecticut
Scope: The project will conduct six hands-on Long Island Sound-based conservation field programs, and a Long Island Sound Day celebration for 4,000 community members and 300 families in Mystic, Connecticut. The project will immerse families in hands-on learning and conservation activities that foster appreciation and stewardship of Long Island Sound.
Project: Audubon WildLife Guards – A Coastal Stewardship and Youth Conservation Training Program
Recipient: National Audubon Society, Audubon Connecticut
LISFF Grant: $35,000
Grantee Matching Funds: $35,100
Area: Pleasure Beach, Bridgeport, Connecticut
Scope: The project will employ 10 students to encourage 3,000 members of the public to share 9.85 acres of coast with beach-nesting coastal waterbirds; and provide coastal stewardship training to 25 municipal employees to add to student stewardship efforts at Pleasure Beach in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The project will allow residents to enjoy the beach and allow Piping Plover and Least Terns to nest successfully.
Project: Engaging Student Scientists for Long Island Sound
Recipient: Earthplace – The Nature Discovery Center
LISFF Grant: $32,829
Grantee Matching Funds: $34,050
Area: Fairfield County, Connecticut
Scope: The project will engage 46 high school and undergraduate citizen scientists in four experiential learning programs about water quality and Long Island Sound ecology using rivers, harbors, and the Sound as the classroom and make public presentations about their research at public events in Fairfield County, Connecticut. The project will train student participants for careers in conservation science and improve public knowledge and understanding of the Sound
Project: River Smart Community Stormwater Education in the Farmington River Watershed for Long Island Sound
Recipient: Farmington River Watershed Association
LISFF Grant: $31.174
Grantee Matching Funds: $32,810
Area: Towns on the Pequabuck and Still Rivers such as Simsbury, Farmington, Avon, Barkhamsted, Winsted, and Bristol, Connecticut
Scope: The project will deliver River Smart CT an education and outreach program focused on personal actions to reduce polluted stormwater to 4,000 people in the Farmington Valley, Connecticut. The project will increase the number and variety of citizens who understand the value of rivers that feed Long Island Sound and take a local action to protect its water quality.
Project: A Blue “Marine” Plan for Long Island Sound
Grantee: University of Connecticut
LISFF Grant: $34,997
Grantee Matching Funds: $37,466
Area: Long Island Sound Watershed, New York and Connecticut
Scope: The project will engage scientists, government, industry, and the public in development of maps and information on natural resources and human use to become part of an online resource for the Long Island Sound Watershed of Connecticut and New York. The project will support the public process needed for development of a Blue Plan which looks at human activities in the marine environment to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives with an aim of protecting and restoring the Sound.