More Than $1.6 Million Awarded for Community-Based Projects to Improve Health and Vitality of Long Island Sound

Supports Education & Stewardship, Improves Water Quality, Restores & Protects Rivers and Beaches (CT Press Release)

Oct. 14, 2011, NEW HAVEN, CT − Top federal and state environmental officials today announced that 39 grants totaling $1.6 million were awarded to state and local government and community groups under the Long Island Sound Futures Fund.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, second from left, attended the announcement of the 2011 Long Island Sound Futures Fund Award winners at the Peabody Museum at Yale University. He is joined in this photo (left to right) by Mark Beekey, Sacred Heart University, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Mack McCleary, Tom Baptist of CT Audubon, Kevin Magee, town of Guilford, and Mark Tedesco, director of the EPA Long Island Sound Office.

When leveraged by $1.7 million contributed by the recipients themselves, a total of $3.3 million will support on-the-ground conservation in Connecticut and New York.

In Connecticut, twenty-one grants totaling $886,107 will be awarded and leveraged by $826,697 contributed by recipients themselves towards the projects resulting in $1.7 million for community-based conservation in the state.  Grant recipients include Yale University, Audubon Connecticut and the Maritime Aquarium.  The Aquarium will receive almost $35,000 for its live animal series “Creature Encounters,” which teaches visitors about the effects of pollution on Long Island Sound. 

The grant program pools funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for projects to restore the health and living resources of Long Island Sound.

“Protecting and restoring Long Island Sound have long been priorities for EPA,” said EPA Regional Administrator for New England Curt Spalding. “These grants will support vital and diverse projects throughout the region to improve water quality and remove pollution from the Long Island Sound watershed, and involve the public in the protection of one of the nation’s most important natural treasures.”

The Long Island Sound Study through EPA’s Long Island Sound Office and NFWF, initiated the Long Island Sound Futures Fund in 2005. To date, the program has invested $8.8 million in 227 projects in communities surrounding the Sound. The projects in both states will open up 78 river miles for fish passage, and restore or acquire more than 569 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat. This habitat includes lakes, underwater grasses, woodlands, meadows, wetlands, beaches, dunes and river and park frontage.  With grantee match of $20 million, the Long Island Sound Futures Fund has generated a total of almost $29 million for locally-based conservation in both states. Since 2005, groups in Connecticut have received 121 grants totaling $4.5 million. With grantee match of $13 million dedicated to projects in Connecticut the grants have resulted in $17.5 million for conservation in the state.

With the funding announced today, grant recipients, in both states, will restore 176 acres of tidal marsh, grassland, coastal forest, barrier beach and salt marsh benefitting native fish and wildlife; reach 285,000 citizens; and engage 6,300 volunteers.  Some examples of the types of projects funded by the grants announced today are:

  • A project to enhance a 35-acre mosaic of barrier beach, dunes, tidal wetlands and sand flats for native bird species least tern and piping-plover in Stratford, Connecticut.
  • A project that will voluntarily engage farmers and land managers in activities that reduce nitrogen, one of the major forms of pollution into the Sound, from horse operations throughout Connecticut.

 “One of the greatest environmental challenges facing our communities is the protection and restoration of estuaries,” said David O’Neill, Director, Eastern Partnership Office, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. “The funding awarded today represents the Foundation’s continuing commitment, as well as the commitment of our federal and state partners, to further restoration efforts aimed at improving the overall health of the Long Island Sound.

Long Island Sound is an estuary that provides economic and recreational benefits to millions of people, while also providing natural habitats to more than 1,200 invertebrates, 170 species of fish, and dozens of species of migratory birds.

“Communities, fish and wildlife are the real winners of the Long Island Sound Futures Fund grants,” said Regional Director Wendi Weber of the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Northeast Region. “The health of this estuary of national significance depends on our work with landowners and partners. These grants go directly to protecting our shared natural resources—from restoring salt marsh for fish and protecting nests for piping plovers and other shorebirds to educating children who may be the future stewards of the Sound.”

Jay Mar, State Conservationist, NRCS added, “NRCS and many other organizations have shown a long-term commitment to protecting and restoring Long Island Sound. This year’s funding of projects to engage farmers and land managers throughout communities in the watershed will help accomplish important advances in our work to improve ecological and economic health of the Sound.”

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Daniel C. Esty said, “Long Island Sound is one of Connecticut’s most important natural resources and is critical to our quality of life and economic well-being.  The $886,107 in Long Island Sound Futures Funds grants being awarded for twenty-one Connecticut projects will support programs that ensure protection and preservation of this unique estuary.

The Long Island Sound Study (LISS), 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. In 1994, it created a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan o guide federal, state and local governments to improve water quality, restore and protect habitats, and reach out to the public to foster environmental stewardship. To learn more about the LISS:

A nonprofit established by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation sustains, restores and enhances the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Through leadership conservation investments with public and private partners, NFWF is dedicated to achieving maximum conservation impact.  The Foundation has awarded over 10,800 grants to more than 3,700 organizations in the United States and abroad and leveraged – with its partners – more than $490 million in federal funds into more than $1.6 billion for on-the-ground conservation. To learn more, visit

Twenty-One LISFF Grant Awards 2011 in Connecticut

  •  Pequonnock River Apron Fish Passage Project  Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Bridgeport, CT −  $59,172
  • Long Beach West Invasive Species Control, Town of Stratford −  $56,100
  • Long Cove Tidal Marsh Restoration, Town of Guilford −  $49,250
  •  Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbird Stewardship,  Audubon Connecticut, CT Coast and Coastal Islands − $117,707
  • Improving Equine Operation Nutrient  Management, Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District, All CT −  $150,000
  • Fish Passage Improvement on Spoonville Dam on the Farmington River,     Farmington River Watershed Association, East Granby and Bloomfield − $60,000
  • Restoration of a Coastal Shoreline at Stratford Point,  Sacred Heart University, Stratford Point − $54,854
  • An Online Guide to Responding to Impervious Cover Regulation, University of Connecticut Center for Land Use Education & Research, All CT − $60,000
  • Poquetanuck Cove Action Plan, Eastern Connecticut Conservation District, Preston & Ledyard − $60,000
  • Water Quality Project Used to Implement Pollution Sollutions, Clean-up Stonington Harbors, Stonington Harbor, CT − $24,481
  • Creature Encounters , Maritime Aquarium, Norwalk −  $34,890
  • Raising Awareness of Rising Sea-levels in  Coastal Marshes, Yale University, Yale Peabody Museum, New Haven − $35,000
  • SoundWaters Public Engagement Sails Connecting Long Island Sound, SoundWaters, LI Sound Ports NY and CT − $34,486
  • Diving Deeper: Children’s Sound Programs  at Common Ground, New Haven Ecology Project, Inc. / Common Ground, New Haven − $15,024
  • Riparian Corridors and the Pequonnock River Watershed, University of Connecticut, Fairfield County; & Monroe, Trumbull & Bridgeport- $34,999
  • Save the Sound Coastal Cleanup Program,  Connecticut Fund for the Environment, All CT − $10,000
  • Byram River Eel Passage and Volunteer Eel  Restoration, Town of Greenwich, Byram River, CT −$3,498
  • Celebration of Our Woods and Streams: Links  to Long Island Sound,   Darien Land Trust –  $3,000
  • Estuary Health Program, Sea Research Foundation, Mystic − $7,165
  • Beardsley Zoo’s “Trout in the Classroom”,  Connecticut Zoological Society, Bridgeport − $7,000
  • Norwalk Harbor Interpretive Signage Project, City Marina,   Harbor Management Commission, Norwalk − $9,480 



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