Mike Smith, NFWF, 703-623-3834
Jennifer May-Reddy, EPA, 212-637-3658
Village of Old Field, NY (Dec. 4, 2017)—Today, top federal and state environmental officials from New York announced 31 grants totaling $2.04 million to local government and community groups to improve the health and ecosystem of Long Island Sound. Fifteen projects, totaling $1.05 million directly benefit New York. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator, Pete Lopez, joined U.S. Congressman Lee Zeldin, Carrie Meek Gallagher from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and Amanda Bassow from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) at the Childs Mansion and Flax Pond Marine Laboratory to highlight how the grants will benefit people who live, work and play around Long Island Sound.
The projects highlighted today are funded through the Long Island Sound Futures Fund (LISFF) and show how relatively small projects, with participation from local groups and communities, can make a very big difference in improving water quality and restoring habitat throughout the Long Island Sound watershed. This grant program combines funds from EPA and NFWF.
“Throughout my career in public service, I have seen time and again how effective local actions can be in solving daunting problems,” said Regional Administrator Lopez. “Engaging the people who are most connected to the Long Island Sound is the most effective way to work toward the Sound’s recovery – evidenced by the tremendous success we have already enjoyed in restoring this world-famous jewel.”
The Long Island Sound Futures Fund 2017 grants will reach more than 870,000 residents through environmental and conservation education programs. Water quality improvement projects will treat 439,000 gallons of water runoff reducing more than 15,600 pounds of nitrogen and collecting 2,800 pounds of floating trash. The grant funds will be matched by $3.3 million from the grantees, resulting in $5.3 million in funding for on-the-ground conservation projects in both states. In New York, the $1.05 million in grant funds will be matched with $2.58 million from the grantees, resulting in $3.63 million in community conservation.
“The Long Island Sound is a precious feature of our life, culture, and economy, one that affects the livelihoods of thousands of Long Islanders, as well as our local recreation and tourism industries. Protecting and restoring this critical waterway, which has suffered from pollution and overdevelopment over so many years, is so important to improving our area’s water quality, restoring our area’s natural habitats, and improving Long Islanders’ quality of life. These grants, totaling $2.04 million, are a critical component of preserving the Long Island Sound for generations to come,” said Congressman Lee Zeldin.
“One of the greatest environmental challenges facing our nation and its communities is the protection and restoration of highly productive estuaries,” said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO, NFWF. “This year, funded projects will help youth become stewards of the outdoors and introduce them to wildlife in their schoolyards. Additionally, work will help restore the health of our rivers, coastal marshes, forests and grasslands for the benefit of fish and wildlife and to enhance the strength of coastal communities.”
The Long Island Sound Study initiated the Long Island Sound Futures Fund in 2005 through EPA’s Long Island Sound Office and NFWF. To date, the Futures Fund has invested $17 million in 380 projects. With a grantee match of $33 million, the program generated $50 million for locally based conservation. The projects have opened up 157 river miles for fish passage, restored 1,090 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat and open space; treated 202 million gallons of pollution, and educated and engaged three million people from communities surrounding the Sound.
NYSDEC Commissoner Basil Seggos said, “The Long Island Sound Futures Fund has effectively leveraged $50 million to accelerate implementation of the most innovative, sustainable and cost-effective strategies for improving water quality and protecting vital habitats throughout the Long Island Sound watershed. This funding complements key local projects supporting the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan and Governor Cuomo’s aggressive actions to restore and protect this vital ecosystem.”
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 people 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 $3.8 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.
CLEAN WATERS AND HEALTHY WATERSHEDS PROJECTS
Project WASTE (Waterway and Street Trash Elimination) (NY)
Bronx River Alliance
Project Area: Bronx River, Bronx and Westchester, New York
LISFF Funds: $34,712; Matching Funds: $41,286
Project WASTE will collect and analyze the sources of floatable trash on the Bronx River, sharing those results with the public and public officials. The project engages students to reach out to local businesses to help reduce trash in the Bronx and Westchester County, New York. The goal of the project is to reduce by 2,000 pounds the trash that would enter Long Island Sound. The group will also educate 140 students in seven schools grades K-12 about the impact of litter on waterways and the Sound.
Building Clean Water: Demonstrating Sewage Treatment & Water Conservation Strategies (NY)
Matinecock Court HDFC
Project Area: Town of Huntington, New York
LISFF Funds: $250,000; Matching Funds: $1,750,000
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 treated sewage effluent for reuse as on-site drip irrigation, and prevent nitrogen, total suspended solids and biochemical oxygen demand from discharge into the Long Island Sound watershed.
Planting for Clean Water Communities (NY)
Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District
Project Area: Village of Bayville, New York
LISFF Funds: $67,479; Matching Funds: $54,157
The Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District will assess priority areas and choose three sites for green infrastructure projects. As part of the project, the soil and water conservation district will hold educational workshops for residents about the value of green infrastructure to improve water quality in Long Island Sound in the Village of Bayville, New York. The project will bring visible green infrastructure projects to community centers, local parks, schools and businesses creating a model for future projects in this and other communities surrounding the sound.
Hempstead Harbor 2018 Water Quality Monitoring Program-X (NY)
Incorporated Village of Sea Cliff, New York
Project Area: Outer and Inner Hempstead Harbor and Glen Cove Creek, located on the north shore of Nassau County, Long Island, New York
LISFF Funds: $89,900; Matching Funds: $67,592
The Village of Sea Cliff will monitor water quality, including physical, chemical and biological indicators of pollution, in outer and inner Hempstead Harbor and Glen Cove Creek, Nassau County, New York. The monitoring data will help inform the management of Hempstead Harbor, an embayment of Long Island Sound.
Unified Water Study Equipment Loan Program: Collaboration in Embayment Monitoring (NY, CT)
Earthplace – The Nature Discovery Center, Inc., Harbor Watch
Project Area: Long Island Sound Embayments in Connecticut and New York
LISFF Funds: $99,971; Matching Funds: $118,153
Earthplace – the Nature Discovery Center and Harbor Watch will manage an equipment, supplies and technical resources loan program for up to 20 embayment groups and 200 citizen science volunteers to support the Unified Water Study for Long Island Sound embayments in Connecticut and New York. The project will result in a greater number of embayments being monitored, providing important information from the first areas affected by pollution sources that impact the health of Long Island Sound.
Collaborative Watershed Planning for the Ten Mile River (CT, NY)
Housatonic Valley Association, Inc.
Project Area: The Ten Mile River watershed: Eastern Dutchess County, New York; and western Litchfield County, Connecticut
LISFF Funds: $64,358; Matching Funds: $83,000
The Housatonic Valley Association, Inc. will develop a watershed management plan for the Ten Mile River in eastern Dutchess County, New York, and western Litchfield County, Connecticut. The watershed management plan will help inform restoration and water quality activities focused reducing on nitrogen loads from the Ten Mile River to the Housatonic River and Long Island Sound.
Unified Water Study: Long Island Sound Embayment Monitoring (CT, NY)
Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Save the Sound
Project Area: Long Island Sound Embayments in Connecticut and New York.
LISFF Funds: $99,991; Matching Funds: $132,000
Connecticut Fund for the Environment and Save the Sound will implement their water quality management program, the Unified Water Study (UWS), in two Long Island Sound embayments. The groups will also work with five water quality monitoring groups in nine embayments providing them with technical support as participants in the UWS in Connecticut and New York. The project will coordinate efforts to collect data on the health of bays and harbors to synthesize information about water quality issues affecting Long Island Sound.
THRIVING HABITATS AND ABUNDANT WILDLIFE PROJECTS
Phillips Mill Fish Passage Project (NY)
Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Save the Sound
Project Area: Nissequogue River, Town of Smithtown, New York
LISFF Funds: $99,999; Matching Funds: $110,000
The Connecticut Fund for the Environment and Save the Sound will engineer a fish passage plan at Phillips Mill Pond Dam on the Nissequogue River, Town of Smithtown, New York. The fish passage plan will restore native migratory fish runs from Long Island Sound to upstream spawning habitat in the Nissequogue River for the first time in 300 years.
Coastal Wetland and Forest Restoration Planning Project (NY)
City Parks Foundation
Project Area: Hammond Cove and Harding Park, Bronx River, New York
LISFF Funds: $99,976; Matching Funds: $87,349
City Parks Foundation will produce restoration plans for tidal wetland and coastal forest in Hammond Cove and Harding Park, Bronx, New York. The foundation will identify new restoration and stewardship opportunities at small neglected salt marsh sites as well as at adjacent upland and connected tributaries throughout the western Long Island Sound.
EDUCATING TO ENGAGE SUSTAINABLE AND RESILIENT COMMUNITIES PROJECTS
Be a Good Egg- II (NY)
National Audubon Society, Inc. – Audubon New York
Project Area: Centre Island, Stehli Beach, Sands City/Hobart, West Meadow Beach, and Sunken Meadow State Parks, New York.
LISFF Funds: $36,037; Matching Funds: $36,435
The National Audubon Society will provide a multifaceted education program that includes public and school programming and 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 and American oystercatcher.
Septic Change-Out Education Program (NY)
Citizens Campaign Fund for the Environment, Inc.
Project Area: Towns of Huntington, Smithtown, and Riverhead, New York
LISFF Funds: $45,000; Matching Funds: $36,000
Citizens Campaign Fund for the Environment will educate homeowners about the importance of upgrading their onsite septic systems and provide tools and information to allow them to more easily apply for assistance grants to fund these upgrades in the Towns of Huntington, Smithtown and Riverhead, New York. The project will help homeowners switch to new and innovative alternative septic systems that reduce nitrogen into Long Island Sound.
Sound Gardening: Why Your Grass Choice Matters (NY)
Citizens Campaign Fund for the Environment, Inc.
Project Area: Nassau and Suffolk County, within the Long Island
Sound watershed, New York
LISFF Funds: $9,996; Matching Funds: $7,500
Citizens Campaign Fund for the Environment will educate homeowners about the types and correct grass seed to use on lawns in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New York. The project will provide homeowners with tools to reduce their impact on the Long Island Sound and to encourage practices to reduce nitrogen (from fertilizers) and pesticides from entering the Sound’s river, streams, tributaries and embayments.
SOUNDoff Event! Creating Long Island Sound Stewards–III (NY)
The Whaling Museum Society, Inc.
Project Area: Cold Spring Harbor, New York.
LISFF Funds: $7,408; Matching Funds: $4,000
The Whaling Museum Society, Inc. will hold a one-day public event, called SOUNDoff!, to educate, inform and build awareness in local communities about conservation of Long Island Sound in a hands-on, accessible way in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. The project will reach 300 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.
Long Island Sound Fresh Pond Festival (NY)
Salonga Wetland Advocates Network, Inc.
Project Area: Hamlet of Fort Salonga, Town of Smithtown, New York.
LISFF Funds: $5,565; Matching Funds: $6,125
The Salonga Wetland Advocates Network, Inc. will conduct a festival and shoreline cleanup in Fort Salonga, New York. The event and hands-on cleanup will increase public awareness of and commitment to restoration and protection of the environment of Long Island Sound.
Identifying Ecologically Significant Areas for the Blue Plan (CT, NY)
The Nature Conservancy of Connecticut
Project Area: Long Island Sound Watershed, Connecticut and New York
LISFF Funds: $45,000; Matching Funds: $49,607
The Nature Conservancy of Connecticut will actively engage scientists, technical experts and the interested public in identifying Ecologically Significant Areas for the Long Island Sound Blue Plan in Connecticut and New York. The project will develop one of the foundational elements of a plan to protect important aquatic habitats of Long Island Sound.
Long Island Sound Futures Fund press release for Connecticut projects