Photos of the Long Island Sound

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2017 Large Grants Projects

Connecticut

 CLEAN WATER AND HEALTHY WATERSHEDS

Rapid Action Plans to Deliver Green Infrastructure in Coastal Connecticut Communities

Recipient: University of Connecticut
LISFF Funds: $234,712.00
Matching Funds: $134,148.00
Total Project: $368,360.00
Project Area:  South Central Region Basin which includes the communities of Bethany, Branford, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Meridan, Milford, North Branford, Orange, Wallingford, West Haven, and Woodbridge.

The University of Connecticut (CT), Center for Land Use Education and Research will promote Green Infrastructure (GI) by helping towns identify high priority areas for GI and getting them started on implementation in the South Central Basin towns of CT.  Stormwater runoff is a documented source of pollution to Long Island Sound. GI practices rain gardens, green streets, etc. have documented benefits in reducing stormwater pollution. This project will address stormwater pollution by eliminating barriers to “scaling up” implementation of GI by towns.  The project will: 1) Conduct  rapid action assessments to identify priority GI sites in five municipalities; 2) provide reports with sites for GI implementation, type of GI, conceptual  designs/ cost estimates/estimates of  pollution reduction for each project; 3) Work with 20+ town staff to identify GI installations and provide professional guidance and financial resources to complete projects; 4) Install 3000 sq. ft. of  GI, remove 18,000 sq. ft of impervious surface, and prevent 430,900 gallons of stormwater from entering local waterways annually;  and 5) disseminate project information using: a project website attracting 25,000 visitors, conducting  two webinars, preparing an article for an e-newsletter to 4,000 readers, and adding information about stormwater reductions from the projects to the National Low Impact Development Atlas.  The project will catalyze GI implementation in Connecticut’s towns. 

Rain Gardens and Rain Barrels for Eastern Connecticut

Recipient: Eastern Connecticut Conservation District
LISFF Funds: $84,996.00
Matching Funds: $95,365.00
Total Project: $180,361.00
Project Area: The project will occur in the 36 towns of the Eastern CT Conservation District Region which includes the Thames, Quinebaug and Shetucket Basins.

The Eastern Connecticut Conservation District will address stormwater pollution into the Thames River and Long Island Sound by installing rain gardens and rain barrels in Eastern Connecticut.  Stormwater runoff is a documented source of pollution to the Sound.  Green Infrastructure such as rain gardens and rain barrels help reduce stormwater pollution. The project will: 1) Develop a network of 150 Boy Scouts of America (BSA) troop leaders, troops and scouts to help install rain gardens and rain barrels; 2) Deliver 10 workshops about local and residential sources of stormwater pollution into waterways, and on-site tools to harvest rainwater and treat polluted stormwater; 3) Provide rain garden plans and rain barrels/instructions to workshop participants;  4) Conduct a pre-and post-assessment of workshop participants to evaluate what they learned about pollution, its impacts on the health of waterways, and personal actions which may be taken to reduce pollution; 5) Obtain rain barrels and conversion kits from Coca-Cola and the River Network’s National Rain Barrel Program; and 6) Provide technical help and labor to design and install rain gardens.  Project partners include the BSA-Mohegan Council and the Alpha Phi Omega Community Service Fraternity, University of Connecticut. The project will develop a new network of community stewards of Long Island Sound water quality.

Partnering for Pollution Prevention: Water quality Monitoring of Impaired Waterways

Recipient: Earthplace – The Nature Discovery Center
LISFF Funds: $65,363.00
Matching Funds: $54,383.00
Total Project: $119,746.00
Project Area:  The project will take place in eight waterways: Bruce Brook, Byram River, Comstock Brook, Greenwich Creek, Horseneck Brook, Mianus River, Rippowam River, and Rooster River, Fairfield County.

Earthplace – The Nature Discovery Center will conduct water quality monitoring in the Byram River, Bruce Brook, Comstock Brook, Greenwich Creek, Horseneck Brook, Mianus River, Rippowam River, and Rooster River to identify sources of pollution in Fairfield County, Connecticut. These rivers and/or their downstream harbors are listed as impaired on the Connecticut Impaired Waters List for habitat, recreation, and/or shellfishing due to issues such as elevated bacteria concentrations or low dissolved oxygen levels. These impairments indicate that there is a need to reduce pollutants to Fairfield County tributaries and Long Island Sound.  The project will: 1) Conduct monitoring will take place at 5-12 sites on each river 10 times between

May and September 2018; and 2) Data collected at each site will include dissolved oxygen, conductivity, water temperature, fecal coliform, and E. coli. Track-down work will be conducted based on these river water quality data to identify sources of pollution such as leaking sewer laterals, disjointed or cracked sanitary lines, or leaching septic systems.  Partners for this project include municipal officials in public works, conservation, and health departments of towns where monitoring will be conducted. This project will update a dataset of water quality conditions where currently limited information exists, reduce bacteria and nutrient inputs to Long Island Sound tributaries, and as a result reduce beach and shellfish bed closures. 

Promoting Green Infrastructure through Monitoring & Evaluation of Bioswales

Recipient: New Haven Urban Resources Initiative
LISFF Funds: $42,966.00
Matching Funds: $66,685.00
Total Project: $109,651.00
Project Area:  City of New Haven

The New Haven Urban Resources Initiative will evaluate the effectiveness of Green Infrastructure (GI) bioswales at a large-scale in New Haven, Connecticut.  Long Island Sound’s environmental quality is degraded by pollution delivered from surrounding coastal communities. Polluted stormwater runoff from residential and commercial properties enters waterways untreated through sewer systems. With most urban areas also comes a great deal of paved areas creating more untreated runoff. GI practices such as bioswales have documented benefits in reducing stormwater pollution. New Haven was awarded a $2 million grant to install 200 bioswales in the downtown to improve stormwater quality and reduce storm flows to separated and combined sewers.  This project will: 1) evaluate the effectiveness the bioswales by continuously measuring flow at the outlets of two sewersheds with 50 bioswales each; 2) Measure water flow through 10 bioswales to assess the influence of soil permeability in relation to local drainage area; 3) Combine the flow data with measurements of contaminants to quantify the amount of pollution prevented by  the GI; and 4) Raise public awareness about the bioswales with informational meetings with 700 residents and businesses; and 5) engage and educate municipal leaders in Bridgeport and Hartford about the benefits of bioswales. The combination of these activities will catalyze use of Green Infrastructure in Connecticut’s coastal cities surrounding Long Island Sound.

 

Thriving Habitats and Abundant Wildlife

H. Smith Richardson Wildlife Preserve Restoration Project 

Recipient: Connecticut Audubon Society
LISFF Funds: $145,780.00
Matching Funds: $134,047.00
Total Project: $279,827.00
Project Area: Westport

Connecticut Audubon Society will restore 33 acres of coastal forest at the H. Smith Richardson Preserve (Preserve) in Westport, Connecticut.  Decades of agriculture have left the site vulnerable to invasive plants that cover 90 percent of the property resulting in loss of birds and other wildlife. The Preserve borders a tidal creek that flows into Sasco Creek at its confluence with Long Island Sound, and is home and a stopover point for 60 bird species, including 48 migratory species, dozens of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and 200 species of insects.  The project will: 1) Remove invasive plants including mugwort, garlic mustard, porcelain-berry, Asiatic bittersweet, Japanese honeysuckle, and Norway maple; 2) revegetate the Preserve with 1,200 native plants and seed 30 acres, 3) install four educational signs along trails, 4) Involve 130 volunteers in invasive plant removal/replanting; 5) develop a long-term adaptive management plan; 6) Educate local residents about the site’s history and conservation activities through social media, print media, and radio to reach 2,000 residents, and 7) Involve the adjacent public school in conservation activities as a part of their grade seven curriculum about Sound habitats. The project will improve conditions for coastal birds including resident and migrating coastal songbirds and other wildlife with the restoration of native forest structure, improved soil health, and through restoration of continuous acreage of coastal forest. 

Resilience Management Planning and Restoration at Dodge Paddock/Beal Preserve

Recipient: University of Connecticut
LISFF Funds: $55,449.00
Matching Funds: $34,478.00
Total Project: $89,927.00
Project Area: Stonington

The University of Connecticut will develop a resilience management plan and restore coastal grassland and upland at the 3.7 acre Dodge Paddock/Beal Preserve (Preserve) in Stonington, Connecticut. The Preserve includes high priority Long Island habitat including tidal wetlands, coastal grassland, beach/dunes and rocky intertidal habitat.  Issues with the inlet to the tidal wetland are ongoing and increasing with rising tides and storms. The tidal inlet to the wetland was buried by sediment and adjacent dunes were damaged by Superstorm Sandy. The project will: 1) Update the current management plan to incorporate coastal resiliency; 2) Conduct an engineering analysis of the nearshore environment to determine what type of living shoreline would be most effective to control erosion along the tidal inlet to the marsh and dunes; and then develop a living shoreline design based on that analysis; 3) Plant .2 acres of native vegetation to facilitate marsh migration and form an upland buffer allowing for marsh resilience; 4)  Remove invasive plants from and restore 1.5 acres with native grassland species; 5) Use public forums to describe plans and activities for the Preserve; and 6) Engage 220 volunteers in planting and invasive control activities.  A coastal resilience management plan will ensure the future of the Preserve.

Planning for Fish Passage at Starr Mill Pond Dam

Recipient: The Nature Conservancy-Connecticut
LISFF Funds: $85,482.00
Matching Funds: $43,676.00
Total Project: $129,158.00
Project Area: Starr Mill dam is the first dam on the Coginchaug River, Middleton.

The Nature Conservancy-Connecticut will develop a final design for fish passage suitable for bidding and permit applications at the Starr Mill dam in Middleton, Connecticut.  The Coginchaug/Mattabesett River drainage is one of the largest tributary systems of the Connecticut River. These low gradient streams provide excellent spawning and nursery habitat for anadromous herring species.  The Starr Mill Dam is the first dam on the Coginchaug River.  The dam represents a complete barrier to fish passage preventing American shad, Alewife, Blueback herring, Sea Lamprey and American eel from accessing upstream habitat. Resident fish populations are also unable to move freely between stream reaches above and below this dam. The impoundment above the dam has very little storage capacity and has become silted-in over time.  The project will: 1) Conduct a pre-bid, on-site meeting to familiarize interested engineers with the project site, any unique site concerns and to understand the desired project outcomes; 2) Secure bids; 3) Convene project meetings to present and refine designs; 4) Consult with state and federal permitting agencies about the project design; and 5) Develop a final design.  The project will be the start of a long-term project to get fish back to their full historic range on the river.

EDUCATING TO ENGAGE SUSTAINABLE AND RESILIENT COMMUNITIES

From the Schoolyard to the Sound:  Engaging Communities through Schoolyard Habitats

Recipient: National Audubon Society
LISFF Funds: $44,999.00
Matching Funds: $60,645.00
Total Project: $105,644.00
Project Area: Municipalities in Fairfield and New Haven Counties particularly Stamford and New Haven

National Audubon Society (Audubon Connecticut) will create a network of schoolyard habitats and connect local residents to Long Island Sound by engaging them in conservation in Fairfield and New Haven Counties, Connecticut. In the urbanized Northeast parks and schoolyards are often the only habitat available to birds and other wildlife, and provide a wealth of environmental services, such as improved water and air quality. The project will: 1) create new and enhance existing schoolyard habitats to serve as outdoor classrooms to raise awareness about Long Island Sound; 2) Increase understanding among teachers, students, and families about the Sound and personal actions to help improve its health; 3) Pilot teacher training using the Schoolyard Habitat curriculum to ensure integration of content about the Sound; 4) Engage target audiences in hands-on conservation action by providing them with tools and opportunities to improve habitat needed for sustainable and resilient communities and to participate in citizen science; and 5) Expand the network of schoolyard habitats by developing leadership, sharing best practices, and supporting the Schoolyard Habitat Community of PracticeProject outcomes include: three new and 22 enhanced schoolyard habitats; 775 volunteers engaged in habitat stewardship; 5,566 people with knowledge about the Sound; 28,000 people targeted through outreach activities; and 140 teachers trained about how to use the outdoors as a living classroom.

Audubon WildLife Guards: A Coastal Youth Conservation Program

Recipient: National Audubon Society
LISFF Funds: $27,181.00
Matching Funds: $27,067.00
Total Project: $54,248.00
Project Area:   Sandy Point Beach and Bird Sanctuary, West Haven

National Audubon Society (Audubon Connecticut) will employ eight high school students working with local partners to manage and restore habitat, and increase knowledge about protecting habitat and wildlife among visitors to Sandy Point Beach and Bird Sanctuary in West Haven, Connecticut.  A key nesting site for bird species including Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher, Sandy Point is also one of only three Horseshoe Crab sanctuaries in Connecticut. It hosts a diverse array of coastal habitat including mudflats, tidal marsh, grasslands, barrier beach, and dune; and is a popular spot for recreation.  The project is critical to the continued sustainability of Sandy Point because a projected surge in visitors is expected with the addition of new walking/biking paths. The WildLife Guards and their partners will: 1) help reduce disturbance on 43 acres of beach/dune habitat; 2) Educate 1,000 Sandy Point visitors to increase knowledge about protecting and restoring the coastal resources of Long Island Sound;  3) remove invasive non-native plants and replace them with native plants on .18 acres with 25 volunteers; and 4) Create two interpretive signs and use social media to educate the public about the WildLife Guards, Sandy Point, beach-nesting birds, and the Sound.  The end result is a Sandy Point that all visitors can enjoy with thriving habitat and abundant wildlife.  

Connections to Long Island Sound

Recipient: Sea Research Foundation
LISFF Funds: $44,966.00
Matching Funds: $34,904.00
Total Project: $78,870.00
Project Area: Mystic Aquarium, Mystic

The Sea Research Foundation (Mystic Aquarium) will create multisensory, multimedia experiences and educational programs highlighting Long Island Sound and its watersheds as a series of interconnected ecosystems that support a diversity of plants and animals and provide critical economic and ecological services at the Mystic Aquarium, Connecticut.  Mystic Aquarium’s experience has shown that few people are familiar with the most basic facts about Long Island Sound, despite its close proximity. This project will improve knowledge by presenting environmental information to show changes in the Sound over time. The project will: 1) Develop educational wall graphics and hands-on interactives activities, including a flip panel and lighted map to complement a new Long Island Sound exhibit reaching 75,0216 visitors; 2) Create a portable watershed table to be used to illustrate the interconnectedness between the Sound and its watersheds; 3) Deliver 30 programs, and field studies to students using the Where the City Meets the Sea Program an education program with a focus on the Sound;  and 4) Engage 250 teens as docents  at community events and school programs that provide opportunities to speak  to  individuals from the region and to introduce them to stewardship programs.  The project will build connections between diverse audiences and to increase interest in and knowledge about the Sound to motivate people to take action to help conserve it as a vital community resource.

Healthy Connecticut Towns for a Healthy Long Island Sound

Recipient: Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut
LISFF Funds: $36,932.00
Matching Funds: $20,700.00
Total Project: $57,632.00
Project Area:  State of Connecticut

The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut will train 100 landscapers in organic land care in two courses with a goal of having each participant transition a minimum of 25% of the properties that they are managing to an organic program in Connecticut.  The Long Island Sound suffers from excess nitrogen and toxic pollution flowing into its waters from fertilizers and pesticides applied on landscaping and lawns.  This pollution causes algal blooms, dead zones and declining marine life. One means of reducing this type of pollution is to eliminate synthetic chemicals from lawn and landscaping.  This project will: 1) Offer training in organic methods to landscapers; 2) Secure a pledge from landscapers to develop plans to transition properties to an organic program; 3) Provide signs for properties that have been transitioned to an organic program along with informational literature to be disseminated in communities; and 4) Secure a commitment from at least three municipalities located on a major river, waterway, or tributary to the Sound to sign the pledge to develop and implement their plan.  By training landscapers and securing commitments to transition to organic, non-toxic landscaping there is the potential for significant acreage in Connecticut to be maintained organically and contribute to reductions of nitrogen and pesticide runoff into the Sound.

 

new york

 CLEAN WATER AND HEALTHY WATERSHEDS

Project WASTE (Waterway and Street Trash Elimination

Recipient: Bronx River Alliance
LISFF Funds: $34,712.00
Matching Funds: $41,286.00
Total Project: $75,998.00
Project Area: Bronx River, Bronx and Westchester

Bronx River Alliance  will address floatable trash, one of the three major water quality impairments to the Bronx River, through hands-on data collection and assessment, source detection, and student-driven community outreach and education along the Bronx River, a major subwatershed of Long Island Sound, in the Bronx and up-stream in Westchester.  The project will: 1) Remove 2,000 lbs. of floatable trash from the Bronx river at two collection booms and two accumulation hotspots in upstream, midstream, and downstream locations to tally the toxicity, material, brands, and provenance of trapped trash; 2) Involve 105 citizen scientists (students and adults) with BRxA to remove trash; 3) Conduct assessments at hot-spots of river-based trash accumulation in tandem with project partners including: New York Botanical Garden, New York City Parks, and Rocking the Boat; 4) Analyze and synthesize the assessment data to educate the public and local officials through in-person meetings, one public education workshop, using five social media tools (websites, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, e-newsletter) about sources and forms of trash reaching 7,035 people; and 4) Engage five youth leaders in development and delivery of outreach projects aimed at  local businesses to reduce the amount of litter.  The project will improve water quality by reducing the volume of plastic and other trash entering the Bronx River and ultimately Long Island Sound.

 

Building Clean Water: Demonstrating Sewage Treatment & Water Conservation Strategies

Recipient: Matinecock Court HDFC
LISFF Funds: $250,000.00
Matching Funds: $1,750,000.00
Total Project: $2,000,000.00
Project Area: Town of Huntington

The Matinecock Court HDFC will install a wastewater harvesting system at an affordable housing development in the Town of Huntington, New York. The project will result in the annual recapture of 1,631,550 gallons of treated sewage effluent for reuse as on-site drip irrigation, and prevention of 6,003 Lbs. of nitrogen.  There is a need in Long Island Sound to reduce the negative effects of increased residential density on local watersheds which cause ground and surface water contamination and waste-water discharges. The high cost of expanding existing sewer districts necessitates creative, cost-effective solutions be developed to address water quality problems. The project will demonstrate low-impact development strategies, advanced wastewater treatment, and water conservation methods with on-site collection, treatment, and reuse of wastewater near the point of generation “treating” sewage effluent as a resource not just as a waste product. The project will: 1) design and install a 10,000-gallon wastewater harvesting system with drip irrigation; 2) install stormwater pretreatment measures to prevent untreated stormwater runoff through the enhanced gravity separation of pollutants; 3) upgrade and install an irrigation system with advanced water conversation measures and runoff protections; 4) install 15 educational stormwater drain markers, and conduct three on-site educational public tours; and 5) produce a case study about the lessons learned.  

Planting for Clean Water Communities

Recipient: Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District
LISFF Funds: $67,479.00
Matching Funds: $54,157.00
Total Project: $121,636.00
Project Area: Village of Bayville

The Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District will grow its “Planting for Clean Water” program using the Village of Bayville, New York (with over seven miles of shoreline in the Long Island Sound watershed) as the pilot community to develop Green Infrastructure (GI) demonstration sites strategically located where residents “play, pray and pay” including parks, churches, government and business centers. Polluted stormwater runoff from residential and commercial properties enters waterways untreated through the sewer system without pre-treatment. With most urban and suburban areas comes more paved areas creating more untreatred runoff. GI practices such as rain gardens, porous pavement etc. have documented benefits in reducing stormwater pollution.  This project will: 1) Collect existing mapping data and aerial photography to assess the priority areas which would benefit from GI to reduce stormwater pollution; 2) Engage the Village to develop GI in priority areas;  3) Provide an in-depth evaluation of three sites  and install 1,800 sq. ft of rain gardens,1,000 sq. ft. of shoreline plantings of native vegetation, and eliminate1,800 sq. ft. of impervious pavement to reduce 30 Lbs. of floatable litter annually; 4) Involve 100 resident and student volunteers in rain garden construction or maintenance; and 5) Install 20 educational signs at project sites about GI, deliver 15 GI workshops  and information about the project results via websites to 2,000 residents. 

Hempstead Harbor 2018 Water Quality Monitoring
Program X

Recipient: Incorporated Village of Sea Cliff, New York
LISFF Funds: $89,900.00
Matching Funds: $67,592.00
Total Project: $157,492.00
Project Area: Outer and Inner Hempstead Harbor and Glen Cove Creek, located on the north shore of Nassau County

The Incorporated Village of Sea Cliff, New York will monitor water quality pollution indicators to gauge the ecosystem health of the harbor and assess bacteria levels that could affect public health and use of waters (swimming and shellfish harvesting) in Hempstead Harbor, Nassau County NY.  The project will: 1) Collect water quality data.  Parameters monitored include: dissolved oxygen, nitrate + nitrite, nitrite, fecal coliform, enterococci, salinity, pH, turbidity / secchi depth, water temperature, rainfall and wildlife; 2) Track improving and declining water quality; and 3) Produce and disseminate a report to 84 individuals, local governments state and federal agencies, environmental organizations, the Long Island Sound Study and its Science and Technology Advisory Committee, the Long Island Regional Planning Council, and the public  about conditions in Hempstead Harbor. 

Thriving Habitats and Abundant Wildlife

Phillips Mill Fish Passage Project

Recipient: Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Save the Sound
LISFF Funds: $99,999.00
Matching Funds: $110,000.00
Total Project: $209,999.00
Project Area: Nissequogue River, Town of Smithtown

Connecticut Fund for the Environment will develop a permit-ready engineered plan for fish passage at Phillips Mill Pond Dam on the Nissequogue River, Town of Smithtown, New York.  The Nissequogue is the largest tidal river on Long Island’s North Shore draining into Long Island Sound and is a Riverine Migratory Corridor an Important Habitat Type targeted for restoration by the Long Island Sound Study.  Much of the river includes designated New York State Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat. Diadromous fish that migrate between Long Island Sound and the Nissequogue River represent a diverse component of the river’s historical fish assemblage. The river once provided habitat for river herring, but is now not able to support viable populations of diadromous fish because of barriers like this dam, the first dam on the river.  The project will: 1) Develop modifications to the dam spillways and embankment to allow fish passage; 2) Create fish passage design plans and supporting documentation for permit applications; 3) Coordinate design review with relevant regulatory agencies and stakeholder groups; 4) Engage a minimum of 50 volunteers to participate in meetings, workshops, site visits, and alewife observation throughout the project; and 5) Hold eight meetings and workshops to garner support for the project, raise the profile of fish passage on Long Island.  The project will be the start of a long-term project to get fish back to their full historic range on the river.

Coastal Wetland and Forest Restoration Planning Project

Recipient: City Parks Foundation
LISFF Funds: $99,976.00
Matching Funds: $87,349.00
Total Project: $187,325.00
Project Area: Hammond Cove and Harding Park, Bronx River, New York

The City Parks Foundation will produce restoration plans for up to 10 acres of tidal wetland and coastal forest using a community-driven model to inform the habitat restoration of local parkland in the Bronx, New York.  Much of New York City’s 520 miles of shoreline has been armored, dredged, and filled to support development resulting in loss of nearly 90% of the historical extent of wetlands. This loss of wetland habitat is especially acute in the western extent of Long Island Sound.  Small remnants of salt marsh are found scattered along largely armored shorelines.  

These remaining salt marshes and adjacent habitat represent important areas of refuge and patches of habitat for fish and shorebirds.  There is a need to identify restoration opportunities at these sites. The project will: 1) Produce three restoration plans including final designs and cost estimates across approximately 4.5 acres of habitat at Harding Park and Hammond Cove;  2) Conduct two stewardship events in the associated neighborhoods engaging 24 volunteers to remove adjacent invasive plants and recruiting residents to become actively involved with the restoration; 3) Hold community meetings with approximately 150 community members to explain the value of the proposed restoration; and  4) Incorporate community feedback into the final design and begin permit application consultations; and 5) Identify restoration opportunities to add to the New York City Coastal Restoration Opportunities Inventory.

EDUCATING TO ENGAGE SUSTAINABLE AND RESILIENT COMMUNITIES

Be a Good Egg- II

Recipient: National Audubon Society, Inc. – Audubon New York
LISFF Funds: $36,037.00
Matching Funds: $36,435.00
Total Project: $72,472.00
Project Area: Centre Island, Stehli Beach, Sands City/Hobart, West Meadow Beach, and Sunken Meadow State Parks.

National Audubon Society (Audubon New York) will provide an environmental education program “Be a Good Egg” (BGE) encouraging people to share the shore with shorebirds on five beaches in Long Island, New York.  Because Long Island Sound beaches are a magnet for birds and people and shorebirds rely on beach habitat, their needs can conflict with recreation. The project will encourage beachgoers to be active players in shorebird protection. The project will: 1) Conduct eight outreach events at Centre Island, Stehli Beach, Sands City/Hobart, West Meadow Beach, and Sunken Meadow State Parks used by thousands of beachgoers; 2) Create and deliver a presentation to communicate Long Island Sound and share the shore messages; 3) Train 50 volunteers to assist with beach stewardship and outreach; 4) Deliver three conservation project engagement days; 5) Educate 1,500 visitors with share the shore messages; and engage 1,000 of them to sign the BGE pledge; 6) Teach 200 children a shorebird lesson and involve them in a beach sign design project with at least 30 signs installed at nesting sites about sharing the shore with the birds; 7) Administer surveys to  evaluate the effectiveness of the school program and the children’s signs; and 8) Reach 37,000 people  with share the shore messages through an electronic newsletter, webpage, and through social media.  The project will increase support for beach-nesting bird conservation engaging people to act to reduce threats to the birds.

Septic Change-Out Education Program Recipient:  Citizens Campaign Fund for the Environment

LISFF Funds: $45,000.00
Matching Funds: $36,000.00
Total Project: $81,000.00
Project Area: Towns of Huntington, Smithtown, and Riverhead, New York

Citizens Campaign Fund for the Environment will educate homeowners about the importance of upgrading their onsite septic system and make it easy  for them to apply for assistance grants in Huntington, Smithtown, and Riverhead, New York.  Suffolk County is 74% – with many homeowners in the Long Island Sound watershed relaying on antiquated septic and cesspool technology to treat wastewater. Wastewater is a major contributor of nitrogen which has significantly impacted water quality in the Sound. New York State recognized the need to change-out homeowners’ old systems by providing $75 million for grants for septic replacement. Suffolk County also established a voluntary grant and loan assistance program. The program will help homeowners understand how to participate. The project will deliver an education about the systems, grants and loans including: 1) Distribute 7,000 pieces of literature and conduct 10 presentations; 2) Create and air one radio Public Service Announcement engaging the Suffolk County Executive; 3)  Create a wrap ad for local bus lines; 4)  Produce two ads to run in local papers; 4) Generate three earned media articles; 5) Message on social media with 15 Facebook posts and 20 tweets; and 6) Launch a webpage to connect homeowners with information needed to change to an innovative septic system. This project will generate 50 application from residents to change to systems that reduce nitrogen up to 70% and contribute to curbing nitrogen pollution.

BI-STATE (CT & NY)

 CLEAN WATER AND HEALTHY WATERSHEDS

The Unified Water Study Equipment Loan Program: Collaboration in Embayment Monitoring (NY, CT)

Recipient: Earthplace – The Nature Discovery Center
LISFF Funds: $99,971.00
Matching Funds: $118,153.00
Total Project: $218,124.00
Project Area: Long Island Sound Embayments in Connecticut and New York

Earthplace – The Nature Discovery Center will manage an Equipment Loan Program for the Unified Water Study (UWS) for embayments in Connecticut and New York. While systematic monitoring of the main stem of Long Island Sound has long been conducted, coastal embayments around the Sound have not always been studied in a way that lends itself well to cross-system comparisons and synthesis. The focus on embayments is critical because they are can serve as sentinels for water quality issues that impact the Sound. While many monitoring groups around the Sound are interested in participating in the UWS, many lack the necessary technical expertise, supplies, and equipment to be able to participate.  This project will: 1) Provide a central repository for all supplies and equipment; 2) Prepare the equipment for field use; 3) Provide training about how to use the equipment; 4) Serve as a point of contact if technical issues during the field season; 5) Visit participant groups on monitoring days in their own embayments to ensure compliance with the Standard Operating Procedures and appropriate equipment use; 6) Coordinate the return of equipment at the end of the sampling season and prepare the equipment for winter storage; 7) Present about the program, status, and findings at UWS workshops, and at other venues as appropriate.  The project will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the health of Long Island Sound when integrated with data form the open water monitoring. 

Unified Water Study: Long Island Sound Embayment Monitoring (CT, NY)

Recipient: Connecticut Fund for the Environment
LISFF Funds: $99,991.00
Matching Funds: $132,000.00
Total Project: $231,991.00
Project Area:   Long Island Sound Embayments in Connecticut and New York.

Connecticut Fund for the Environment (CFE) will implement the Unified Water Study (UWS) to measure pollution impacts on Sound bays and harbors in Connecticut and New York.  Monitoring of the open waters of Long Island Sound has documented the negative impact of pollution including algae blooms, red tides, and fish die-offs. Scientific research has shown that conditions in the Sound’s bays and harbors, where the public most often comes into contact with the Sound is different.  More monitoring is needed to judge the effect of pollution on these inlets and what actions are needed to restore them. Until recently there has been no common approach to collecting and representing data from embayments. The UWS requires all groups who participate to follow a uniform set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and complete a study-specific Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP). The project will:1) Expand CFE UWS monitoring from one to two embayments; 2) Implement a competitive application process to select five new groups to participate; 3) Support groups to complete study-specific  QAPP to guide embayment monitoring; 4) Deliver training in monitoring SOPs; 5)  Conduct in-the-field quality reviews with each group; 6) Provide ongoing monitoring support; 6)  Collect data storing it in public sites; and 7) provide quality assurance/quality control of data.  This project will scale-up the UWS which is already being used in 20 bays and harbors and establish a process to support new groups.

Collaborative Watershed Planning for the Ten Mile River (CT, NY)

Recipient: Housatonic Valley Association
LISFF Funds: $64,358.00
Matching Funds: $83,000.00
Total Project: $147,358.00
Project Area:   The Ten Mile River watershed: Eastern Dutchess County, NY and western Litchfield County.

The Housatonic Valley Association will prepare a community-supported watershed management plan for the Ten Mile River watershed in Dutchess County, New York and Litchfield County, Connecticut. A watershed plan is needed because this major tributary of the Housatonic River and Long Island Sound faces regional management challenges, increasing development pressure, and jurisdictional challenges to collaboration. Watershed-scale planning to protect surface waters before they become impaired is more cost effective and less complicated than restoring waters after becoming impaired by pollution. Without a coordinated management plan created through an inclusive planning process, the Ten Mile River may become a source of nitrogen and other pollution in downstream waters including those of the Sound.  The project will: 1) Manage a watershed plan steering committee of stakeholders during plan development; 2) Develop a report characterizing existing conditions in the watershed including a baseline water quality profile; 3) Develop a vision statement and goals for the plan; 4) Develop an implementation strategy for water quality protection including identifying pollution reduction/prevention projects; 5) Assemble a draft plan and solicit more stakeholder and public comments; and 6) Facilitate municipal adoption of a final plan. The plan will provide information for communities who wish to pursue economic development that also conserves the health of the watershed.

EDUCATING TO ENGAGE SUSTAINABLE AND RESILIENT COMMUNITIES

Identifying Ecologically Significant Areas for the Blue Plan (CT, NY)

Recipient: The Nature Conservancy of Connecticut
LISFF Funds: $45,000.00
Matching Funds: $49,607.00
Total Project: $94,607.00
Project Area: Long Island Sound Watershed, Connecticut and New York

The Nature Conservancy of Connecticut will engage scientists, government, industry, and the public in development of Ecologically Significant Areas (ESAs) to become part of the Blue Plan.  This is a plan being developed to protect important aquatic habitats of Long Island Sound in Connecticut and New York.  The project will support the public process needed for development the plan which looks at human activities in the marine environment to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives and to protect and restore the Sound.  The Sound hosts diverse uses, recreation, aquaculture, marine trades and transportation, and fish and wildlife habitat.  Blue Plans are a way to manage different uses of oceans.  The plans consider all uses of the ocean, and provide decision-makers with information about the geography, environment, and current uses of it. This helps prepare for existing and new uses.  A key tenet of the plans is robust stakeholder engagement to ensure the openness and legitimacy, and to assure local knowledge is part of the process.  The project will secure: 1) Review and endorsement by scientists and the public of the information used to produce the ESAs; 2) Science community feedback and input on the design and methods for forming and establishing the ESAs; and 3) Collect key information through Delphic and participatory mapping exercises.  The project will also facilitate sessions to gain consensus on the ESAs, manage the engagement process aimed at achieving consensus around ESAs. 

Upper New England States (MA, NH, & VT)

 CLEAN WATER AND HEALTHY WATERSHEDS

Using Flow Meters to Remove Nitrogen at the Amherst Wastewater Treatment Plant (MA)

Recipient: Town of Amherst Department of Public Works
LISFF Funds: $17,650.00
Matching Funds: $8,850.00
Total Project: $26,500.00
Project Area:  The effluent pipe discharges into the Connecticut River which flows to Long Island Sound, Hadley, MA.

The Town of Amherst Department of Public Works will install a permanent effluent flow monitor in the Amherst Wastewater Treatment Plant discharge pipe, Massachusetts.    Currently the Amherst Wastewater Treatment Plant discharge treats waste and sewage (effluent) through a 2.8 mile concrete pipe to the Connecticut River which drains into Long Island Sound. In recent years, the plant has been able to reduce the amount of nitrogen in its effluent and thus the amount of nitrogen loading into the river from the plant. The current effluent flow monitor has led to inaccurate readings. With a new monitor, precise flow rates can be measured and allowing the plant operators to quantify the amount of nitrogen discharged in real-time; and use the real-time effluent flow data to control the treatment process along with monitoring of the return activated sludge (RAS).  The project will perform daily monitoring of return activated sludge flow that is going back into the aeration basins.   Currently no return activated sludge monitors are in place. Knowing precise RAS rates will allow operators at the treatment plant to adjust aeration and recycle rates based on daily analyzed nitrogen levels. A firmer grasp on the nitrification/denitrification process control at the plant will allow operators to decrease our total mass daily loading of nitrogen.  If an average reduction of 1 mg/L is achieved, this will result in a decrease of 9,595 pounds of nitrogen to the Connecticut River and the Sound.

A Watershed Monitoring Strategy to Support the Long Island Sound Nitrogen Strategy (MA, NH,VT)

Recipient: Connecticut River Conservancy
LISFF Funds: $65,284.00
Matching Funds: $40,000.00
Total Project: $105,284.00
Project Area: Monitoring locations within the Connecticut River watershed on the mainstem and tributaries in MA, NH, and VT

The Connecticut River Conservancy  will develop a water quality monitoring strategy designed to collect data about the nutrient status of waters, and provide the data to complement and enhance the Long Island Sound Nitrogen Reduction Strategy within the Connecticut and Housatonic River watershed in MA, NH, and VT. The nitrogen reduction strategy for the Sound involves development and application of nitrogen thresholds for watersheds and will use a diverse existing data set from a variety of sources and include locations throughout the watershed.   This project will develop a strategy to provide the most current dataset representing multiple locations and hydrologic conditions to inform the development and review of ecological thresholds, loadings, and effluent limits that are protective of aquatic life standards within each state. The project will include overall objectives, core and supplemental indicators, the monitoring design, a Quality Assurance Project Plan, as well as how data management in each of the participating states will be accomplished in order to meet state and federal requirements as well as allow pooled analysis of the multistate data sets. The strategy will be developed to monitor and assess local conditions, where in the upstream states, phosphorous is generally the limiting nutrient while measuring and assessing nitrogen to determine the impact it has regionally with regard to thresholds and standards in the Sound. 

 

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