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2015 Large Grants Projects

Connecticut

 CLEAN WATER AND HEALTHY WATERSHEDS

City-wide Green Infrastructure Siting, Installation and Training

Recipient: New Haven Urban Resources Initiative
LISFF Grant: $91,232.28 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $104,690.00
Total Project Funds: $195,922.28
Project Area: Newhallville Neighborhood and New Haven

New Haven Urban Resources Initiative will develop a tool to optimize site selection for green infrastructure bioswales, and train community members in bioswale maintenance and educate them about green infrastructure. The activities will guide installation of 200 bioswales downtown to treat 710,000 gallons of polluted stormwater draining to New Haven Harbor and Long Island Sound from combined sewers. Major activities: 1) develop a GIS-based tool to optimize site selection for bioswales to be installed in a 600-acre section of New Haven; 2) engage 150 Yale students to do fieldwork and data entry; 3) involve six high-school students and 12 ex-offenders in installing and monitoring six 5’ by 15’ bioswales and in testing different designs for swales in a compact residential sub-sewershed to demonstrate and adapt their use city-wide; 4) engage the community in selecting plants for the bioswales to develop an understanding of how bioswales work and foster buy-in to maintaining the swales; 5) deliver two workshops training 32 individuals from civic organizations, non-profits, and others interested in bioswale maintenance;  and 6) conduct an outreach to 22,500 people using social media, workshops and signs aimed at raising awareness and improving public understanding about how green infrastructure works. Partners: Common Ground High School, Emerge, Inc., the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, City of New Haven, and the Greater New Haven Water Pollution Control Authority.

 

Tracking Down Pollution Sources Impacting Water Quality in 4 Connecticut Rivers and Long Island Sound

Recipient: Earthplace – the Nature Discovery Center, Inc.
LISFF Grant: $44,557.10 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $40,212.00
Total Project Funds: $84,769.10
Project Area: Mill River, Sasco Brook, Norwalk, and Noroton Rivers, Western Long Island Sound

Earthplace–The Nature Discovery Center’s program HarborWatch will conduct water quality monitoring and sewage track down surveys in four watersheds which discharge into Long Island Sound in Fairfield County, CT. The project will identify and support remediation of “point” sources of pollution to improve water quality conditions in rivers that follow into the Sound. Currently, the watersheds lack robust monitoring to identify “point” sources of pollution although designated as impaired waters. With establishment of this program approximately four point sources are likely to be identified and efforts engaged to resolve problems. Major project activities: 1) ten citizen-scientists will conduct surveys of five water quality parameters specifically E. coli bacteria, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, and water temperature at 73 monitoring sites; 2) build cohesive and long-term datasets for the watersheds to help inform trends analysis of water quality; 3) provide data to municipalities to help them resolve pollution problems; 4) provide the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CTDEEP) with data to establish a water quality threshold to help with management of the Noroton River; and 5) provide information about the monitoring on a website and in technical reports. Partners: CTDEEP, Stamford, Westport, Norwalk, and Fairfield, Sasco Brook Pollution Abatement Committee, Norwalk River Watershed Initiative, Westport Shellfish Commission, and Copps Island Oysters.

Developing a Plan to Assess and Reduce Nitrogen in Saugatuck River Watershed Communities

Recipient: The Nature Conservancy, Connecticut
LISFF Grant: $64,980.67 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $48,235.00
Total Project Funds: $113,215.67
Project Area: Saugatuck River Watershed: Bethel, Danbury, Easton, Fairfield, Newtown, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton

The Nature Conservancy will develop a consensus-based, community-driven Nitrogen Load Model (NLM) Assessment and Reduction Plan working with 11 towns, residents and community stakeholders in three sub-watersheds of the Saugatuck River, Fairfield County, CT. Nitrogen pollution from home septics and cesspools, fertilizers, sewage treatment plants, stormwater and a myriad of other point and nonpoint sources continues to reduce water quality, degrade habitat and diminish ecosystem function in the marine and coastal environment of the Sound. This project will use the NLM to identify watershed-specific issues, needs and alternatives for addressing nonpoint pollution sources and reducing nitrogen loads to the Saugatuck River and the Sound and set the stage for on-the-ground implementation of techniques necessary to measurably reduce nitrogen from watersheds that feed the Sound. Major activities include: 1) collecting and data for the NLM; 2) convening local residents and community stakeholders to discuss: the sources of nitrogen and the impact of too much nitrogen on the health and living resources of the Saugatuck River and the Sound, and the purposes and use of NLM model; and to seek their feedback, and knowledge to be incorporated into the modeling; and 3) assess the feasibility, cost and effectiveness of traditional and non-traditional technologies and techniques for nonpoint source nitrogen pollution reduction and develop a prioritized list of acceptable options.

 

THRIVING HABITATS AND ABUNDANT WILDLIFE

Stratford Point Living Shoreline: Restoring Coastal Habitats to Maintain Resiliency and Function

Recipient: Sacred Heart University
LISFF Grant: $148,753.75 (EPA, FWS)
Matching Funds: $80,000.00
Total Project Funds: $228,753.75
Project Area: Stratford Point, Lordship Peninsula, Town of Stratford

Sacred Heart University will restore the function and value of a 28-acre coastal ecosystem by creating a “living shoreline” at Stratford Point, Stratford, CT. The Stratford Point peninsula juts out into Long Island Sound on the flight path of thousands of migrating birds. It is surrounded by natural areas including: Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, Long Beach/Pleasure Beach, Charles Island, and Silver Sands State Park. Currently, there is very little food to support the birds and vegetation to protect them from storms because of changes in habitat over the past few decades. Biologists at Sacred Heart University will partner with DuPont, Audubon Connecticut and Roger Torey Peterson Institute to restore the site by creating a “Living Shoreline.”  Major activities include: 1) restore two acres of coastal forest with native coastal trees and shrubs. This will shade out invasive plants, create a windbreak, supply food and shelter to migrating birds and resident bird species; 2) install a 2-acre meadow with native flowering plants and grasses for pollinators and species like the monarch butterfly; 3) enhance a 0.5-acre vernal pool with native wetland plants; 4) monitor the restoration activities; and 5) use the “living shoreline” as a demonstration area by providing education to three high schools and college students; disseminating information about the resources on signs and in social media, and by engaging 100 volunteers in restoration.

 

Restoring Fish Passage on the Noroton River

Recipient: Connecticut Fund for the Environment
LISFF Grant: $150,000.00 (EPA, FWS)
Matching Funds: $156,927.00
Total Project Funds: $306,927.00
Project Area: Noroton River and Interstate 95 (I-95) at Town of Darien and City of Stamford

Connecticut Fund for the Environment will modify side-by-side perched culverts which now create a barrier to upstream fish passage from Long Island Sound on the Noroton River at the bridge over I-95 between the Town of Darien and City of Stamford, CT. When the Connecticut Department of Transportation constructed I-95 in the 1950s, the Noroton River was routed through a series of concrete culverts. During normal flow conditions, the barrier varies from around six inches at high tide to 21 inches at low tide. In addition to the obstruction to upstream passage, the culverts themselves, approximately 200 feet long, create very low sheet flow conditions. Major activities include: 1) construction of twenty sets of concrete baffles within one of the three culverts; 2) construction of a rock ramp on the downstream side of the river left culvert; 3) construction of a concrete weir wall on the upstream side of the center and river right culverts to direct flow into the baffled culvert; 4) installation of a sign concerning the project; 5) dissemination of information about the project in organizational blogs and Listserves to 18,300 members and interested individuals; and 6) conducting a restoration, cleanup and ribbon-cutting event at project completion. These modifications will restore 4.9 miles of fish passage during both high and low flow for river herring and American shad. Project partners: Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Darien Land Trust, and NOAA.

Fishway Rehabilitation at the Versailles Pond Dam

Recipient: Thames Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited
LISFF Grant: $22,000.30 (EPA, FWS)
Matching Funds: $22,402.00
Total Project Funds $44,402.30
Project Area: Versailles Pond, Village of Versailles

The Thames Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited will replace rotting Denil baffles and other wooden components of the Versailles Pond Dam Fishway (Fishway) in the Village of Versailles, Connecticut to restore passage for fish including alewife, blueback herring, American shad and sea-run brown trout to 1.75 miles and 65 acres of spawning and nursery habitat. The Fishway currently does not provide effective passage to anadromous fish due to deteriorating wooden baffles that have reached the end of their lifespan. Prior to this deterioration, the fishway was functional. The solution is to replace the rotting wooden baffles with aluminum baffles, which will not deteriorate and have a lifespan of 50 years. Major activities include: 1) purchasing materials and using volunteer labor to fabricate and install new aluminum baffles into the fishway. These baffles have a 50-year lifespan and will ensure that this problem does not re-occur in the future; 2) replace other deteriorating wooden components including weirboard channels and trash racks; and 3) conduct public outreach  about the rehabilitation project, anadromous fish, and fishways using the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) website and blog, the Trout Unlimited website and with an onsite educational sign. Partners: CTDEEP and International Paper.

 

EDUCATING TO ENGAGE SUSTAINABLE AND RESILIENT COMMUNITIES

Creating a Network of Schoolyard Habitats to Engage Students in Conservation of Long Island Sound

Recipient: National Audubon Society, Audubon Connecticut
LISFF Grant: $34,993.56 (EPA, FWS)
Matching Funds: $46,935.00
Total Project Funds: $81,928.56
Project Area: Cities of Stamford and New Haven

Connecticut Audubon will support 10 enrolled and expand the Schoolyard Habitats program to three elementary schools and in the broader community of New Haven and Stamford, CT. Many barriers exist for Connecticut residents to directly connect with Long Island Sound along urban waterfronts; and students in urban communities often have limited opportunities to engage in outdoor, hands-on experiential learning in their curriculum, or to steward natural resources in their communities. Major project activities to address these challenges: 1) enhancing 1.3 acres of habitat in 13 urban schoolyards; 2) providing 60 teachers with professional development about using the outdoors as living classrooms and fostering development of student work that addresses real-world problems related to the Sound; 3) exposing 4,000 members of the public to a “call to action” concerning the Sound by conducting 31 events including Stewardship Team meetings, workdays, a leadership workshop and a Schoolyard Habitat Summit where Audubon and project partners will present program information; 3) fostering and evaluating increases in knowledge and sharing best practices among 1,250 students, teachers and 22 Leadership and Summit attendees; and 4) engaging 80 Schoolyard Habitat Stewardship Team members and 600 volunteers comprised of students, parents, and community members in training to create and maintain the sites. Project partners: US Fish and Wildlife Service, Common Ground High School, and Yale Peabody Museum.

A Student Urban Field-study of Water Quality and Species Diversity along the Long Island Sound Coast

Recipient: SoundWaters
LISFF Grant: $33,935.66 (EPA, FWS)
Matching Funds: $18,415.00
Total Project Funds: $52,350.66
Project Area: Cove Island Park and Boccuzzi Park, Stamford
 

SoundWaters will engage 1,100 6th graders from six urban middle schools in a year-long urban field study with presentations comparing water quality and species diversity at two coastal sites on Long Island Sound in Stamford, Connecticut. Maintaining the Long Island Sound as a healthy ecosystem while balancing human uses, presents a challenge as pollution and development pose a continuing challenge to water and habitat quality and species diversity particularly in the urban western Sound. This project aims to develop citizens that are educated about the science and equipped with the skills to communicate information to increase awareness and participation among peers, public officials and communities to protect and restore the Sound. Major activities: 1) classroom distance learning about the Sound watershed and natural resources; 2) field studies at Cove Island Park and Boccuzzi Park to collect and analyze data about water, soil, species, and human activities to develop knowledge about the science of problems facing the Sound; 3) a survey to gauge students’ knowledge about healthy watersheds, clean water and wildlife abundance; 4) social media posts and blogs, and three presentations of project results to a panel, convened by the Mayor of Stamford, of municipal administrators, to the Stamford School District, and to more than 1,500 participants at STEMfest, a city-wide science education fair. Middle school partners include: Cloonan, Dolan, Rippowam, Rogers International, Scofield Magnet, and Turn of River.

New York

 

CLEAN WATER AND HEALTHY WATERSHEDS

Green Infrastructure at Mamaroneck Town Center to Improve Water Quality in Long Island Sound (NY)

Recipient: Town of Mamaroneck
LISFF Grant: $149,876.00 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $431,634.00
Total Project Funds: $581,510.00
Project Area: Mamaroneck Town Center at the West Basin of Mamaroneck Harbor

The Town of Mamaroneck will install 8,400 sq. ft. of green infrastructure at Mamaroneck Town Center (Center). The Center is situated less than one-quarter mile from Mamaroneck Harbor with all stormwater from the site currently untreated. Major activities include: 1) installing 23,250 sq. ft. of permeable pavers, 2,044 sq. ft. of porous pavement in the parking lot, permeable pedestrian sidewalks, a rainwater harvesting system, a biofilter retention area, two rain gardens, and eight catch basin filter baskets; 2) monitoring project performance; 3) conducting public education about the project to 161,000 residents including: at Town Board meetings and work sessions, public meetings, community events, a ribbon cutting and press event to announce project completion, on public access television and in social and local media; and 4) installing five signs that identify and explain green infrastructure benefits to hundreds of residents who visit this central municipal facility. After project installation surface water from the entire property will flow through the green infrastructure reducing nutrient and sediment pollution into Mamaroneck Harbor and Long Island Sound. Project partners include Town of Mamaroneck: Board, Engineer, Sustainability Coordinator, Sustainability Collaborative, Building Department, Highway Department; and Village of Mamaroneck Building Department, and Larchmont/Mamaroneck Coastal Zone Management Commission.

 

Green Infrastructure to Reduce Stormwater Pollution at the Centerport Beach Recreation Facility

Recipient: Town of Huntington
LISFF Grant: $137,322.26 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $137,322.26
Total Project Funds: $274,644.52
Project Area: Centerport Beach Recreation Facility, Town of Huntington, Village of
Centerport

Town of Huntington will install green infrastructure at the Centerport Beach Recreation Facility (Facility) creating a demonstration project to reduce storm water run-off from entering Northport Bay and Long Island Sound at a large public bathing beach and park. The Huntington/Northport Bay Complex is an area in the coastal boundary of the Sound with documented problems of excessive stormwater discharges causing hypoxia, and beach and shellfish harvesting closures. The Facility currently funnels all stormwater to a pipe that discharges into Northport Bay. Major activities include: 1) removing 6,700 sq. ft. of impervious asphalt and concrete and then installing pipes, five catch basins, and bioretention  soil and swales with water absorbing native plants; 3) installing permeable brick pavers to further treat stormwater and provide for public access; and 4) creating signage, an interpretive kiosk, a how-to video about project construction, 5,000 educational brochures, 40 social media posts and tweets, and conducting a press event and other outreach to local media to educate 5,000+ residents and 25,000+ members of the public about the benefits of green infrastructure to the Sound’s watershed. After project installation, 80 percent of the stormwater from the Facility will be treated by the green infrastructure treat 314,697 gallons of stormwater annually. Project partners include: Town of Huntington and Citizens Campaign Fund for the Environment.

 

Hempstead Harbor 2015 Water Quality Monitoring Program

Recipient: Incorporated Village of Sea Cliff
LISFF Grant: $45,000.00 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $82,603.00
Total Project Funds: $127,603.00
Project Area: Hempstead Harbor, Nassau County

The Incorporated Village of Sea Cliff, New York will conduct water quality monitoring of a suite of pollution indicators in the inner and outer Hempstead Harbor aligned with Long Island Sound Study monitoring of the open waters of Long Island Sound in Hempstead Harbor, Nassau County, NY. Major project activities include: 1) eight volunteers will monitor parameters such as dissolved oxygen, salinity, pH, turbidity/secchi, ammonia/nitrate/nitrate and water temperature, and collect data about water quality trends and the impact of improvements in different parts of the Harbor; 2) analyze data to help nine local government detect and respond to illicit discharges; and 3) post project results on a website and through social media to be shared with the public and with municipal government participating in the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee. Project partners include: the Town of Oyster Bay, the Town of North Hempstead, the City of Glen Cove, the Village of Sea Cliff, the Village of Roslyn Harbor, the Village of Roslyn, the Village of Flower Hill, and the Village of Sands Point.

Thriving Habitats and Abundant Wildlife

Coastal Habitat Restoration at Alley Pond

Recipient: City Parks Foundation
LISFF Grant: $149,938.00 (EPA, FWS)
Matching Funds: $ 551,766.31
Total Project Funds: $701,704.31
Project Area: Alley Creek, Alley Pond Park, Little Neck Bay

City Parks Foundation will establish 0.23 acres of tidal pools over 15 acres of contiguous salt marsh part of a complex of 75 acres of fresh and tidal marsh; and remove 5.5 acres of invasive plants in coastal forest and vernal pool habitat on the shores of Little Neck Bay and Long Island Sound. The tidal pools have increased in size more than five times since 1974 resulting in marsh loss. As pools get bigger, and new pools formed, marsh is fragmented and limited in value as habitat, buffers to sea-level rise and filters to water pollution. This loss represents a trend in New York City where 160 acres of shoreline marsh have disappeared over 40 years. Major activities involve: 1) piloting an innovative approach to place sediment within these pools and planting to restore appropriate tidal elevations and re-establish salt marsh vegetation; 2) removing invasive vegetation to prepare for seeding and planting of native species; 3) conducting a project design meeting with community members and partners; 4) training 20 volunteers to assist with sediment placement and planting; and 5) providing project updates on two websites. These activities will re-establish ecological characteristics to improve water quality and provide habitat for fish and wildlife; and development of a tool to address loss of fringe marshes that buffer shoreline communities from sea-level rise. Project partners: Natural Areas Conservancy and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Natural Resources Group.

Restoring Fish Passage at Beaver Lake and Beaver Brook

Recipient: The Nature Conservancy, Connecticut
LISFF Grant: $149,999.99  (EPA, FWS)
Matching Funds: $148,237.00
Total Project Funds: $298,236.99
Project Area: Beaver Brook at Beaver Lake, Village of Mill Neck

The Nature Conservancy, Connecticut Chapter, will install a steep pass fishway to provide access to 1.5 miles of riverine spawning habitat for sea-run trout and alewife including in the 111-acre Beaver Lake above the Beaver Brook dam. A number of years ago, a homemade fish ladder was constructed without proper engineering for fish migrating upstream from Long Island Sound. Major activities include: 1) installing a replacement fishway designed to be passable at all flows; 2) conducting pre- and post-construction monitoring and data analysis involving pit-tagging and releasing alewife with receivers upstream in Beaver Brook and downstream at the entrance of the fishway, and video monitoring at the fishway exit to evaluate fish entering the lake through the fishway and moving upstream to riverine habitat above the dam; and 3) educational outreach to 200 residents and members of the public using social media, email blasts, websites and local media to inform them about the project and why river restoration and fish passage is important. The project will yield increases in populations of migratory fish contributing to the restoration of a healthy Sound. Partners: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Friends of the Bay, Village of Mill Neck, Hofstra University, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, North Shore Land Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, New York Chapter, and Seatuck Environmental Association.

 

EDUCATING TO ENGAGE SUSTAINABLE AND RESILIENT COMMUNITIES

Student Scientist Monitoring of American Eel and River Herring on the Bronx River

Recipient: Rocking the Boat
LISFF Grant: $35,000.00 (EPA, FWS)
Matching Funds: $19,002.45
Total Project Funds: $54,002.45
Project Area: Rocking the Boat facility, Hunts Point Riverside Park, Concrete Plant Park, River Park, and New York Botanical Garden, Bronx County

Rocking the Boat will engage 185 middle and high school students in monitoring river herring and American eel, two species which indicate the biological health of Long Island Sound in Bronx, NY. With the installation of a fish ladder at the East 182nd Street Dam in 2015, it is important to monitor the success of the ladder in pass fish, and to monitor the success of an eel ramp being constructed in the same location to aid eel migration upstream to the northern section of the Bronx River. Additionally, students in urban communities often have limited opportunities to engage in outdoor, hands-on experiential learning or to steward natural resources in their neighborhoods. Major project activities include: 1) student scientists rowing to sites using wooden boats built by them at Rocking the Boat; 2) monitoring the fish ladder for blueback herring and alewife, keeping the ladder clear of debris, and checking water levels and flow; 2) monitoring eels by collecting eel mop data to assess presence and abundance; 3) the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Natural Resources Group (NRG) will provide two training sessions about ladder maintenance and fish monitoring; and Wildlife Conservation Society and Queens College scientists will provide two trainings and one wrap-up session about eel monitoring; and 4) project results will be shared with the public at four events, and students will formally present their findings with the NRG staff to other scientists.

 

Planting for Clean Water in Long Island Sound Program

Recipient: Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District
LISFF Grant: $34,513.50 (EPA)
Matching Funds: $36,879.43
Total Project Funds: $ 71,392.93
Project Area: Village of Bayville, Village of Centre Island, Cedarmere Preserve, Rosyln

Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District will construct three demonstration rain gardens and use them to educate residents, visitors and municipalities about installation of them in Nassau County, NY. One significant threat to the water quality is the increase in the volume of polluted stormwater runoff entering waterways like Hempstead Harbor and Long Island Sound from surrounding communities. The significant amount of impervious surfaces such as roads and parking lots decreases the capacity of soils to naturally capture, filter, and treat polluted stormwater. Green infrastructure like rain gardens remove pollution from the stormwater before is flows or infiltrates into surface and groundwater. Major project activities: 1) 150 local volunteers, including municipal employees and students from four schools, will construct 500 sq. ft. demonstration rain gardens at the Village of Centre Island’s Main Entrance, at the Village of Bayville’s Village Hall and at Cedarmere Preserve; 2) educate 1,000 members of the public about how rain gardens work to reduce stormwater through 30 Quick Response informational signs that digitally link visitors to a website for more information about rain gardens; 3) providing a brochure to help visitors understand how rain gardens work and identifying the plants in the gardens: and 3) educate 75 members of the public about design, construction and benefits of rain gardens to the natural resources of Long Island Sound at three hands-on workshops. Partners: Villages Nassau County, Town of Oyster Bay, Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee, and Friends of Cedarmere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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