This article originally appeared as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law fact sheet series in December 2022. See the bottom of the page for updates and links for more information.
In 2022, the Long Island Sound Study (LISS) launched a multi-million-dollar program to address environmental justice concerns impacting underserved communities in the Long Island Sound (LIS) region. The Long Island Sound Community Impact Fund (LISCIF) will direct funds and technical assistance to communities affected by adverse and disproportionate environmental and human health risks or harms. LISCIF is a significant step to expand the reach of LISS program benefits – and enhance equitable access and participation in the protection and restoration of Long Island Sound.
There are two components of LISCIF: creating and administering a competitive subaward program and providing a technical assistance program. EPA selected Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) to administer the LISCIF and implement these two program elements. RAE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of bays and estuaries as essential resources for our nation.
LISCIF’s competitive grant program will provide two rounds of roughly $1 million in funding annually through competitive grants ($5,000 to $100,000 per award). LISCIF is unique in its focus on supporting underserved communities as well as its structure to provide smaller grants than other LISS programs. Technical assistance will be available to help establish or strengthen organizations’ ability to ease environmental-related burdens facing their communities. Examples of technical assistance topics include proposal preparation, applying for government grants, and project/financial management. RAE has structured the technical assistance program so trainings will be free, and stipends will be available to approximately 50 individuals per year.
Funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), the intent of LISCIF exemplifies the vision of BIL and related Justice40 goals – to direct benefits and investments to the communities and organizations that need them most.
Environmental justice (EJ) is a core principle of the LISS Comprehensive Conservation & Management Plan (CCMP). The CCMP has three underlying principles to integrate into all LISS efforts: 1) resiliency to climate change, 2) long-term sustainability, and 3) environmental justice. In 2020 LISS formalized an Environmental Justice Work Group (EJWG), which meets quarterly and includes a subgroup focused on outreach and engagement with underserved communities. The EJWG has a five-year strategic plan; Work Group members identified LISCIF as a key activity for achieving LISS CCMP EJ goals.
LISCIF work will happen over multiple years. Information about LISCIF’s competitive grant program and training opportunities will be posted on the LISS website as information is available.