Grantee: Borough of Naugatuck
Project Area: Downtown Naugatuck
LISFF Grant: $535,589Grantee Matching Funds: $229,538Total Conservation Impact: $765,127
Implement stormwater infrastructure improvements with Low Impact Development and green infrastructure in Naugatuck, Connecticut. Project will prevent annual reduction of 105 pounds of nitrogen, 8.6 pounds of phosphorus, 2,791 pounds of sediment, and 4.39 million gallons of stormwater from entering the Naugatuck River and downstream to Long Island Sound.
The Borough of Naugatuck will remove 600 sq. ft. of impervious pavement and construct 600 sq. ft. of Low Impact Development and green infrastructure stormwater improvements in its downtown in Connecticut. The downtown is highly developed, with approximately 80 acres of impervious streets, sidewalks, and buildings. The existing stormwater collection system is overwhelmed during storms resulting in flooding. Additionally, the age and condition of the stormwater infrastructure contributes to nitrogen and other pollution loading to the Naugatuck River causing downstream dead zones in the Sound. Low Impact Development and green infrastructure are structural and nature-based solutions to infiltrate water and reduce stormwater pollution. The project will install six biofiltration with underdrain areas, one subsurface infiltration area and one grass swale with a detention area. The project will demonstrate best practices for stormwater management to the community and the reduction in pollution will enhance the health of Naugatuck River and Long Island Sound.
Grantee: Eastern Connecticut Conservation District
Project Area: Pease Brook, Lebanon
LISFF Grant: $819,513Grantee Matching Funds: $204,880Total Conservation Impact: $1,024,393
Construct a manure management facility at a dairy farm in Lebanon, Connecticut. Project will prevent 29,798 lbs. of nitrogen from flowing into local waterways and then downstream to Long Island Sound.
The Eastern Connecticut Conservation District in collaboration with a dairy farmer and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), will install a facility to improve manure management reducing nitrogen and phosphorus pollution discharging from farm operations into Pease Brook and ultimately downstream to Long Island Sound. The USDA and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the joint Unified National Strategy for Animal Feeding Operations which supports implementation of site-specific comprehensive nutrient management plans (CNMPs) to minimize impacts on water quality and public health. Pease Brook has impaired water quality for fish, wildlife and aquatic species and recreation. This project will construct the facility based upon an NRCS CNMP. The project will enhance manure management of 200 cows at the farm by installing a covered waste storage facility that eliminates outdoor manure exposure to rainwater and discharges from the farm to low-lying land and water. The project will prevent 29,798 lbs. of nitrogen and 36,665 lbs. of phosphorus annually from the farm to Pease Brook and the Sound.
Grantee: Town of Trumbull
Project Area: Long Hill Green District, Trumbull
LISFF Grant: $249,069Grantee Matching Funds: $62,267Total Conservation Impact: $311,366
Remove existing impervious paved areas and replace with a 5,400 sq, ft. of permeable green infrastructure paver areas and install bioretention planters in the Town of Trumbull, Connecticut. Project will filter 2,270 cubic ft. of stormwater runoff before it flows downstream to Bridgeport Harbor and Long Island Sound.
The Town of Trumbull will replace “gray” infrastructure of public parking areas with “green” infrastructure of pervious pavers and bioretention planters in Connecticut. Trumbull is one of four towns that share the Pequonnock River and contribute polluted stormwater runoff from the hard surfaces like parking lots, sidewalks, and roofs downstream to Bridgeport Harbor and Long Island Sound. Stormwater runoff is made up of petroleum products, sediment, fertilizers and pesticides, heavy metals, road salts, and trash/debris. The project builds upon a holistic stormwater management effort which is part of the redevelopment of the Long Hill Green District. Reconstructing existing parking areas with a pervious paver system slows the speed of runoff to reduce streambank erosion and captures and filters stormwater before it flows untreated into existing storm sewers and local waters. Project activities: 1) Install surface green infrastructure and underground stormwater management systems; and 2) Provide public education about the project’s green elements and benefits to 36,000 residents and visitors. The project will provide a more attractive downtown and reduce the chemical components of stormwater runoff including 83 percent of nitrogen, 95 percent of sediment and 65 percent of phosphorus before they damage the environment of local waters and the Sound.
Grantee: Town of Sprague
Project Area: Beaver Brook a tributary of the Shetucket River, Sprague
LISFF Grant: $343,750Grantee Matching Funds: $175,000Total Conservation Impact: $518,750
Address a barrier to fish migration on Beaver Brook, Sprague, Connecticut. Project will provide access along a waterway for migrating river herring and American eel by opening up 3.7 miles of river to Long Island Sound.
The Town of Sprague will remove the Harrington Apartments dam, a barrier to fish passage on the Beaver Brook a tributary of the Shetucket River, Sprague, Connecticut. This dam is one of the first barriers along an important riverine migratory corridor preventing fish from fully accessing upstream spawning habitat. Riverine migratory corridors are river systems that drain to Long Island Sound. Migratory fish use these rivers to travel from the Sound to rivers to spawn. Dams block their passage. The project will also restore a stream channel, stream flow, and provide a streambank buffer to enhance community resilience to storms and floods. Project activities: 1) Finalize all permits; 2) Provide for fish passage by removing the dam; and 3) Provide information to 500 community members about the project in a meeting and with a sign. The project will fully reconnect 3.7 miles of river corridor benefiting migratory fish and the freshwater and marine systems of Long Island Sound.
Grantee: Middlesex Land Trust
Project Area: Sawmill Brook at tributary of the Mattabesset River, Middletown
LISFF Grant: $719,950Grantee Matching Funds: $249,000Total Conservation Impact: $968,950
Remove a barrier to fish passage on the Sawmill Brook in Middletown, Connecticut. Project will restore access to one mile of spawning and nursery habitat for alewife, blueback herring, American eel, and sea lamprey to Long Island Sound.
The Middlesex Land Trust, Inc. will address a barrier to fish passage along a riverine migratory corridor in Middletown, Connecticut. Riverine migratory corridors are river systems that drain to Long Island Sound. Migratory fish use these river corridors to travel from the Sound to rivers to spawn. Highland Pond dam is the first barrier on a riverine migratory corridor preventing fish from fully accessing upstream spawning and nursery habitat at the headwaters of the Mattabesset and Connecticut River drainage in the Long Island Sound watershed. Project activities: 1) Finalize permits; 2) Remove sediment behind the dam to an off-site land-based location and the dam from bank to bank; 3) Install a series of five stone weirs in the stream bed to create a natural cascade that allows fish passage upstream; and 4) Return the water flow to the main channel and side tributary exposing the natural floodplain offering flood control benefits to the community. The project will restore one mile of river corridor for river herring, American eel and other fish of Long Island Sound.
Grantee: Norwalk Land Trust
Project Area: Hoyt Island offshore of Norwalk
LISFF Grant: $50,000Grantee Matching Funds: $12,500Total Conservation Impact: $62,500
Restore three acres of coastal island forest on Hoyt Island offshore of Norwalk, Connecticut. Project will improve an important coastal habitat of Long Island Sound.
The Norwalk Land Trust will restore coastal island habitat to its natural state on Hoyt Island which is part of the Norwalk Island chain in Connecticut. This island is on the Atlantic Flyway and heavily used by migrating shorebirds and colonial waterbirds. More than 148 bird species have been identified in the area as well as wildlife including horseshoe crab and diamondback terrapin. In 2021 a part of the island was cleared of more than 50 tons of hazardous materials. This project will engage 30 volunteers in its continuing restoration as a bird sanctuary. Project activities: 1) Plant native vegetation in the one acre of area cleared of hazardous materials; 2) Thin existing trees to encourage canopy spread; 3) Maintain the new plantings with regular watering in the first year after planting; 4) Install fencing to protect the plants from overgrazing by deer; 5) Continue active removal and control of invasive plant species; and 6) Install bird and bat houses. The project will restore the ecological value of the island as critical habitat for birds and wildlife.
Grantee: Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, Inc.
Project Area: Veterans Park, Norwalk Harbor, Norwalk
LISFF Grant: $91,865Grantee Matching Funds: $39,592Total Conservation Impact: $131,457
Evaluate shoreline restoration options for Veterans Park in Norwalk, Connecticut. Project will evaluate methods to increase resilience of the park to storms and sea-level rise and to improve public access to it.
The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk will assess options to protect 12 acres and 1,520 linear feet of shoreline at Veteran’s Park, Norwalk Harbor, Connecticut. Like many places around Long Island Sound, Norwalk Harbor has a history of shoreline modification. One such place, in the center of the Harbor, the 36-acre Veterans Memorial Park was once a tidal marsh since developed as a landfill and now as a popular community recreational area. Today the southern edge of the park features lawn with paved walking paths, with a narrow band of salt marsh interspersed with rocks and boulders at the edge. Flooding has left the walking paths damaged and inaccessible to park visitors. The area is also threatened by sea-level rise. Project activities: 1) Evaluate site conditions and explore nature-based solutions to restore the remaining marsh including development of a living shoreline; and 2) Engage local stakeholders in development of ideas to buffer the shoreline and protect public access. This project will restore lost ecological function while also making the park more resilient into the future.
Grantee: Trust for Public Land
Project Area: Pequonnock River, City of Bridgeport Waterfront
LISFF Grant: $313,610Grantee Matching Funds: $235,000Total Conservation Impact: $548,610
Produce design and construction documents for green infrastructure and coastal resilience improvements at a new park in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Project will set the stage for park “greening” to improve water quality, enhance community resilience to storms and floods, and provide public access in an urban coastal community of Long Island Sound.
Trust for Public Land will advance a concept design in tandem with the community to produce an engineered design and construction documents for greening three-acres of waterfront in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Water quality in the Pequonnock River, which flows into Long Island Sound near this site, is poor due to combined sewer overflows, stormwater runoff, and flooding. The area is part of a valuable coastal fishery and provides habitat for shorebirds. Bridgeport is also a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Environmental Justice Community affected by socioeconomic and environmental threats. About 70% of City’s waterfront is inaccessible to the public. Bridgeport’s population is vulnerable to threats of extreme weather with sea-level rise projections higher than the national average. Working from a concept design developed with the community, the project will contribute to the City’s Waterfront Master Plan and be a section of a planned, 20+ mile Waterfront Pathway connecting nine of the City’s 13 neighborhoods. Activities: 1) Conduct workshops and community outreach to 2,000 residents ensuring an inclusive planning process; and 2) Prepare plan sections, elevations, plantings, layouts, grading, a permits checklist, schedule and project budget. Because a majority of the waterfront is publicly owned or managed, there is ample opportunity for this plan to increase public access, enhance water quality, improve coastal resilience, and address environmental justice.
Grantee: Town of Westbrook
Project Area: Towns of Westbrook, Clinton and Old Saybrook, and the Borough of Fenwick
LISFF Grant: $150,000Grantee Matching Funds: $80,250Total Conservation Impact: $230,250
Prepare a combined coastal resiliency plan for the neighboring communities of Westbrook, Clinton, Old Saybrook, and the Borough of Fenwick, Connecticut. Project will develop a shared strategy to reduce the impacts of sea-level rise and storms on these coastal communities of Long Island Sound.
The Town of Westbrook will collaborate with nearby communities to prepare a comprehensive plan to address sea-level rise and storms working with Clinton, Old Saybrook, and the Borough of Fenwick, Connecticut. Each community has documented specific impacts associated with rising sea-level and storms; and understands the need to plan for the anticipated 20” + rise in sea-level. Each community shares concerns related to the problem such as: flooding, shoreline erosion, impaired wastewater treatment systems, limits on emergency response and access, increases in groundwater levels, habitat degradation etc. None have a plan to guide planning and decision making in the face of these challenges. Project activities: 1) Engage community Coastal Resiliency Plan Committee and working groups; 2) Conduct education and interviews with neighborhood/beach associations, residents, businesses, public officials and regional stakeholders; 3) Review reports about flooding, storm impacts and stormwater mapping; 4) Conduct field studies identifying community physical resources; 5) Prepare hydrodynamic modeling for time horizons to include 2050 and 2070; 6) Provide education in workshops and with a web-based platform; 7) Identify where and how community assets are most vulnerable; and 8) Provide a prioritized list, costs, and short and long-range nature-based and other sustainable improvements. The multi-jurisdictional approach will identify solutions with a broader benefit to the communities.
Grantee: Connecticut Collage
Project Area: Thames River, Connecticut College Arboretum shoreline, New London
LISFF Grant: $86,311Grantee Matching Funds: $42,000Total Conservation Impact: $128,311
Install and evaluate the use of Reef Balls, a nature-based approach to protect coastal shorelines at the Connecticut College Arboretum in New London, Connecticut. Project will expand the use of green strategies to reduce storm-surge and restore salt marsh as buffers from storms and sea-level rise, and open community access to Long Island Sound.
Connecticut College will deploy Reef Balls, a nature-based tool to enhance resilience to storms, provide habitat for fish and wildlife and enhance a shoreline for public enjoyment in New London, Connecticut. Historically, oyster reefs and adjacent marsh grass such as are found at this project site, have provided communities protection from storms. Accelerating coastline loss including degrading salt marshes have weakened these buffers making communities more vulnerable to sea-level rise with critical local infrastructure now regularly flooding. A typical response to this has been to harden shorelines using “gray” structures like seawalls which contribute to loss of “green” buffers and are expensive to maintain. Many residents of this under-resourced community lack access to shorelines. This project will use a nature-based approach to restore habitat improving the shoreline resilience and enhance public access to it. Project activities: 1) Install .50 acres of Reef Balls® “breakwater style” parallel to shore; 2) Remove invasive trees and drop and anchor them to reduce erosion; 3) Engage 100 volunteers from the College and local nonprofits, K-12 students, and the marine industries to plant native trees and marsh grass and maintain the area; 4) Evaluate the use of Reef Balls® to protect shorelines, restore marsh and provide fish and wildlife habitat; and 5) Conduct educational events about project accomplishments.
Grantee: Earthplace – The Nature Discovery Center, Inc.
Project Area: Bridgeport, Norwalk and Westport, Fairfield County
LISFF Grant: $123,821.65Grantee Matching Funds: $48,619.00Total Conservation Impact: $172,440
Engage 200 high school and college student citizen scientists in virtual, field and laboratory-based experiential learning programs about water quality and Long Island Sound ecology using rivers, harbors, and the Sound as outdoor classrooms, and make public presentations about their activities at public events in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Project will empower the next generation of environmental stewards and improve public knowledge and understanding of the Sound.
Earthplace – The Nature Discovery Center, Inc. will educate 200 high-school and college students in seven education programs about careers in conservation and improve public knowledge about the environment of Long Island Sound in Fairfield County, Connecticut. The Sound is a valuable local resource affected by pollution from surrounding land and waters. The project will establish a connection between individual actions and environmental improvements. The project operates virtually, out of a laboratory, at water quality monitoring field sites, and aboard a research vessel. Project activities: (1) Conduct the Virtual River Research Program a combination of discussion groups, in-person events with hands-on learning, and a Virtual Water Quality Symposium for students attending high schools in under-resourced towns including Bridgeport, Norwalk, Stamford, and Stratford; 2) Provide students with field experience in water quality monitoring in the Summer River and Summer Harbor Undergraduate Internships; 3) Teach high school students about how to conduct fish monitoring aboard a boat in the Summer Fish Study; 4) Conduct the High School Visiting Scientist Lecture Series to teach students about water quality using local waterways; and 5) Presentations about the data the students collected will inform the public and municipal partners. The project will teach students green jobs skills including field methods to collect and analyze data and engage them in efforts to restore the Sound.
Grantee: Farmington River Watershed Association
Project Area: Bristol, Canton, Winsted, and Bloomfield, Farmington River Valley
LISFF Grant: $69,180Grantee Matching Funds: $41,380Total Conservation Impact: $110,560
Conduct the River Smart education program connecting the story of local storm drains to the problem of stormwater pollution into local waterways that feed Long Island Sound; and install green infrastructure projects in the Farmington River Watershed, Connecticut. Project will educate adults and youth about everyday actions people can take to reduce polluted stormwater from inland communities into the Sound.
The Farmington River Watershed Association will conduct the River Smart environmental education program deploying tools from festivals to field trips about how to reduce the amount of polluted stormwater from urban and suburban inland communities into Long Island in Connecticut. The Farmington River Watershed faces many environmental challenges, in part, from stormwater runoff including poor water quality affecting wildlife, public recreation, and flooding. The project will offer good environmental housekeeping ideas to address the problem at a community and individual level and use green infrastructure to demonstrate natural ways to improve water quality and reduce flooding. Project activities: 1) Install 800 sq. ft. of green infrastructure such as up to four rain gardens or bioswales with educational signage in public locations; 2) Conduct outreach events and activities for 25,000 adults and youth groups via workshops and tours, field trips, festivals/farmers markets, and social media outreach. The outreach will present stormwater reduction topics including organic lawn care, disconnecting downspouts at home, and river-friendly landscaping; and 3) Instruct teachers and educate high school students and participants at a summer camp about how to prevent stormwater in combination with visits to a rain garden demonstration site and provide volunteer opportunities.
Grantee: University of Connecticut
Project Area: Ella T. Grasso Technical High School, shorelines and beaches, Groton and New London
LISFF Grant: $69,022Grantee Matching Funds: $17,955Total Conservation Impact: $86,977
Deliver classroom education and generate student-driven solutions to be shared with the community about how to prevent single-use plastic pollution in Groton and New London, Connecticut. Project will raise awareness and motivate stewardship to prevent many types of common marine debris from flowing into Long Island Sound.
University of Connecticut will engage and educate 125 high school students and collaborate with 325 teachers and community partners to raise public awareness about marine debris in Groton and New London, Connecticut. Plastics production is projected to double in 20 years. Most plastics enter waters from the land surrounding coastlines. The International Coastal Cleanup Report found among the top 10 debris on shorelines are plastic bottles, caps, bags, straws, and take-out containers. Scientists estimate there will be more plastic in than fish in the ocean by 2050. Project activities: 1) Present the Green Scholar curriculum about marine debris to students and teachers. The lessons will address both recyclable and non-recyclable plastics; 2) Develop student-driven hands-on projects about marine debris prevention. Many of the student projects will focus on single-use plastics related to food and beverages at schools, restaurants, and stores; 3) Train students to use the Marine Debris Tracker app and apply the app at beach cleanups to better understand the nature and distribution of plastic pollution; and 4) Provide project information about meaningful ways to reduce plastic on a dedicated website. The project will motivate the next generation of environmental stewards from an economically and ethnically diverse high school to raise awareness and catalyze local community action about the issue.
Grantee: Connecticut Audubon Society
Project Area: Communities of the Long Sound watershed including East Hartford, East Lyme, Griswold, Pomfret, Putnam, Stamford, and Stratford
LISFF Grant: $153,794Grantee Matching Funds: $167,031Total Conservation Impact: $320,825
Deliver lessons and train teachers about the problem of debris polluting coasts and the ocean in communities of the Long Island Sound watershed, Connecticut. Project will raise awareness of the local and regional need to prevent plastic and other marine debris into the Sound.
Connecticut Audubon Society will deliver classroom and field-based lessons for 1,600 elementary and middle school students and train 46 teachers in 14 schools about plastic and other types of debris entering local waterways in coastal and inland communities of Long Island Sound in Connecticut. Debris pollution poses environmental and quality of life threats to the Sound. Wildlife can be entangled in and choke on debris like plastic bags. Debris pollution reduces water quality and public enjoyment of beaches and shorelines local communities use for recreation. The United Nations report From Pollution to Solution found an estimated eight million tons of plastic waste enter the world’s oceans annually accounting for at least 85% of total marine waste. Residents in Connecticut use more than 400 million plastic bags annually, few of which are recycled or reused and many of which end up on the ground or in local waters. Student activities: 1) Conduct an inventory of the types of debris littering the coast and seven clean-up days of shorelines near their schools removing 15 pounds of debris; 2) Identify barriers preventing people from taking action about the problem of marine debris, and devise student-driven strategies to address the problem; 3) Communicate using those strategies to 21,750 people in their communities and as part of the Long Island Sound Study’s regional social media debris prevention campaign “#DontTrashLIS”; and 4) Deliver school-wide waste reduction campaigns.
Grantee: National Audubon Society (Audubon Connecticut)
Project Area: Pleasure Beach in Bridgeport, Sandy Point in West Haven, and Great Meadows Marsh and Long Beach in Stratford
LISFF Grant: $249,989Grantee Matching Funds: $100,000Total Conservation Impact: $349,989
Employ young people from environmental justice communities in restoration and stewardship of coastal habitats and public outreach activities about coastal birds along Connecticut’s shorelines of Long Island Sound. Project will provide training and professional experiences to increase the diversity of future conservation practitioners.
National Audubon Society will provide a ladder of education, experience, and professional skill development for young adults to position them to pursue biological science-focused higher education and careers in conservation recruiting participants from environmental justice communities along Long Island Sound’s coast in Connecticut. This project will address two problems. The lack of racial and ethnic diversity in the conservation community and among professional conservation practitioners. The need to restore and protect coastal habitats for waterbirds while also increasing appreciation for the value of these birds and habitats amongst local residents. The first rung of the career ladder is to employ high school students as Wildlife Guards and Salt Marsh Stewards, the next step up is to employ college students as Crew Leaders of the two programs or as interns, and the top of the ladder are jobs as Audubon field staff. Activities: 1) Partner with Bridgeport, West Haven and Stratford governments to recruit and hire local youth; and 2) Employ and train high school students and young adults in 70 green jobs to deliver hands-on stewardship and scientific monitoring of 780-acres of bird nesting areas; and to conduct outreach to people from local communities to share the shore with the birds. The project will increase the diversity of people not traditionally employed or otherwise engaged in conservation careers and community environmental leadership and protect coastal birds.
Grantee: Gather New Haven
Project Area: City of New Haven and its coastal waters and lands
LISFF Grant: $126,649Grantee Matching Funds: $118,050Total Conservation Impact: $244,699
Provide science, conservation, exploration, and leadership programs to low-income middle school students in New Haven, Connecticut. Project will improve student understanding of and appreciation for the relationship between their community and Long Island Sound.
Gather New Haven will deliver environmental education and field experiences to 60 low-income 7th and 8th graders in New Haven, Connecticut. With its harbor, miles of coast, and three rivers that empty into its waters, New Haven is connected to Long Island Sound. Despite being surrounded by water many residents have little knowledge about the Sound. Public access to the Sound is limited by highways, rail, and shoreline infrastructure to the point where many New Haven children have never put their feet in its waters. The chance to experience local waters is particularly acute among youth in this low-income community where nature exploration is further limited by a lack of transportation, encouragement, or opportunity. Activities: 1) In the winter/spring, students will attend workshops and take field trips to places like the NOAA Fisheries Laboratory and local nature preserves to learn about the Sound’s watershed and how people and nature are impacted by environmental problems; 2) In summer, students will attend Schooner Camp participating in field-studies about coastal ecology, watersheds, and marine systems while learning to sail in New Haven Harbor; and 3) In autumn, students will attend workshops where staff will guide them in synthesizing their knowledge in presentations and social media campaigns for their families, neighbors and peers to demonstrate their environmental literacy and leadership skills. The project will develop student capacity to be advocates for the Sound.
Grantee: Earthplace – The Nature Discovery Center
Project Area: Fairfield, County: Stratford, Bridgeport, Fairfield, Westport, Norwalk, Darien, Stamford, and Greenwich, Connecticut
LISFF Grant: $80,607Grantee Matching Funds: $45,000Total Conservation Impact: $125,607
Conduct a water quality data synthesis and sharing project about local water quality trends in eight towns of Fairfield County, Connecticut. Project will provide water resource managers with information to prioritize projects and take action to reduce sewage pollution and improve water quality in local waters and Long Island Sound.
Earthplace – The Nature Discovery Center, Inc., will collect multi-decade water quality datasets and synthesize that information to develop tailored information for local government decision-makers to inform their management to better address sewage and other pollution into waterways that flow to Long Island Sound in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Assessing water quality data is often the only way to know that a pollution issue (such as illicit discharges of sewage) is occurring, and long-term datasets are the only way to assess the impact of long-term stressors such as land-use and climate change, as well as the impact of local government efforts to address specific water quality problems. This project will synthesize existing data and partner with each municipality to ensure that these communities have the best available information for management of their waters. Project Activities: 1) Convene stakeholders from each municipality as collaborators in development of the information; 2) Produce water quality data resources relevant to each city and town to enhance the utility and application of data; and 3) Share the findings with the public through presentations, social media, and print and digital outreach materials. The project will produce a standardized approach to support municipal decision-making long-term about managing their water quality.