2024 Grants in New York


Identifying Industrial Pollution Along the Hutchinson River and Its Community Impact

Grantee: Hutchinson River Restoration Project
Grant Amount: $83,020.65
LISCIF Program Priority: Planning and design that set the stage for implementation of water quality projects, eligible habitat restoration projects, and resilience projects.

To further the goals of creating a clean healthy waterway and shoreline, the Hutchinson River Restoration Project will be conducting a preliminary study to look for the probable harmful contaminants along the shoreline and water near industrial settings.

The Hutchinson River is a highly polluted tributary to the Eastchester Bay at the mouth of Long Island Sound. Several agencies monitor the bacterial load in the river; however, there is little information about the point source pollution or quantity of industrial chemicals and minerals from runoff into the river. There are industrial and commercial companies along the river such as scrap metal recycling, asphalt production, bus depots, auto body shops, shopping centers, etc. To further the goals of creating a clean healthy waterway and shoreline, the Hutchinson River Restoration Project will be conducting a preliminary study to look for the probable harmful contaminants along the shoreline and water near the industrial settings to set the stage for further study and mitigation planning. The HRRP will take water and soil samples at specific locations and time frames and send those samples to a private laboratory to be analyzed and to determine the presence of harmful chemical contaminants. Another important aspect to this project is to engage the communities that live alongside the Hutchinson River in the project’s objectives and communicate the results of this preliminary study to the appropriate stakeholders. HRRP will reach out to the public to increase their knowledge about industrial pollution in the river and help to create the appropriate mitigation and stewardship of the river.

Kiana: An Urban Riparian Forest Preservation and Restoration Project, Phase 1 – Assessment

Grantee: Westchester Land Trust
Grant Amount: $99,273.00
LISCIF Program Priority: Restoring habitat within the important Coastal Habitat Types targeted by LIS

The Westchester Land Trust will be conducting an assessment of an urban riparian forest lot in Mount Vernon to see if there is an opportunity for local organizations to partner to protect the land for the purpose of centering both western and indigenous ecological restoration practices, and to reconnect a predominantly Black, indigenous, and people of color community to nature.

Through conversations with mainly Black, indigeneous, and people of color (BIIPOC) residents, Westchester Land Trust learned of a 2.85-acre urban riparian forest lot in Mount Vernon owned by the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT). The lot is bounded by the Hutchinson River, Metro-North Railroad, and residential homes. The land is not managed for ecological purposes or for public access. There is an opportunity for local organizations to partner to protect the land for the purpose of centering both western and indigenous ecological restoration practices, and to reconnect a predominantly BIPOC community to nature. With the resquested funding, the Westchester Land Trust will conduct an assessment, the first phase of a a four-phase project to complete a riparian forest preservation and restoraton project(1. Assessment; 2. Community-Driven Design; 3. Restoration and Public Access Implementation; 4. Community Stewardship and Land Protection). Phase 1 includes site investigation and assessment: conducting physical, environmental, historical, and cultural assessments of the parcel; coalition building; and conducting community workshops. These assessments will guide a sound strategy for long-term protection, restoration, and stewardship. The results of the assessments will be shared with the community. Based on the outcomes of Phase I, the community will lead Phases 2–4, the restoration design, preservation, and stewardship of the project. Once Phase 1 is completed, the Westchester Land Trust will pursue funding for Phases 2, 3, and 4.


Long Island Sound Oyster Shell Recovery Expansion Project

Grantee: Seatuck Environmental Association
Grant Amount: $86,933.66
LISCIF Program Priority: Projects that foster a diverse balance and abundant populations of fish, birds, and wildlife.

The Seatuck Environmental Association will be conducting a project to increase collection of local oyster shell resources in Nassau and Suffolk Counties for use in shellfish restoration and shoreline protection projects in Long Island Sound.

The project will include working with the Town of Huntington and Port Jefferson Village (in the Town of Brookhaven) to improve and expand their fledgling oyster shell collection initiatives, and with the Town of North Hempstead to initiate a sustainable shell collection program. Seatuck, the coordinator of the island-wide Half Shells for Habitat (H4H) shell recovery collective, will provide scientific, organizational, technical and outreach expertise and support. Seatuck will also maintain a system for tracking shell collection efforts to ensure compliance with New York State guidance and to safeguard water quality and shellfish resources.


A Resilient Bronx River Community for Long Island Sound

Grantee: Bronx River Alliance
Grant Amount: $48,951.00
LISCIF Program Priority: Public engagement, knowledge, and stewardship.

The Bronx River Alliance will be conducting a variety of public engagement activities at Concrete Plant Park, a popular community park along the Bronx River that was formerly the site of an abandoned concrete plant before its restoration.

The Bronx River Alliance has received funding to support the active involvement and education of the diverse and vibrant Bronx River Community in advocating for a thriving Long Island Sound. The approach will involve organizing captivating public stewardship events, offering accessible and dynamic educational programs, and utilizing creative storytelling through social media platforms centered around the Long Island Sound. The work takes place at a former derelict site that was once a concrete factory. Thanks to years of community organizing, the site has been transformed into a thriving beloved community park, known as Concrete Plant Park, home to NYC’s only public edible food forest, the Bronx River Foodway. This park has not only provided solace to local residents but has also become a sanctuary for coastal/migratory bird species such as cormorants, and insects like butterflies and bees that have reignited Bronxites’ connection to land. Through this project, the Bronx River Alliance aims to educate more than 200 community members about the importance of these vital greenspaces, engage them in stewardship activities, and motivate regular community members to protect and advocate for this and other similar spaces along the Bronx River, which feeds into the Long Island Sound.

Future Stewards of the Sound

Grantee: Citizens Campaign Fund for the Environment
Grant Amount: $65,003
LISCIF Program Priority: Public engagement, knowledge, and stewardship.

The Citizens Campaign for the Environment, the Waterfront Center, and Uniondale High School will partner in a hands-on innovative project, “Future Stewards of the Sound,” in which Uniondale High School Students will connect global and local impacts to the Long Island Sound.

Uniondale High School is in a designated disadvantaged community. The total minority enrollment is 99 percent, where 62 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged. Despite being only 11 miles from the Long Island Sound, the vast majority of Uniondale students have never been to this important water body or any coastal waterway. This program will break down barriers to allow access to the Sound, teach them about the marine environment, and this important program will provide a framework for students to become more involved in protection and restoration of the Sound to become Future Stewards of the Sound. In addition, two high school students will be eligible for a paid summer internship focused on the Sound.

The New Rochelle Coastal Eco-Ambassadors

Grantee: The Energy Justice Law and Policy Center
Grant Amount: $100,000
LISCIF Program Priority: Public engagement, knowledge, and stewardship.

The New Rochelle Coastal Eco-Ambassadors, through the Energy Justice Law and Policy Center, will be conducting a project to address the urgent need for youth empowerment and environmental education in an environmental justice community located on Long Island Sound. This summer program provides summer employment for youth ages 14-18 and paid internships for environmental justice interns.

The youth will gain place-based environmental education, leadership opportunities, training in environmental science and restoration methods, networking with community organizations, training in waterfront and watercraft safety and get to experience the joy of exploring Long Island Sound. The New Rochelle Eco-Ambassadors are partnered with environmental justice organizations in New Rochelle that provide additional enrichment and outreach opportunities. The coordinators of the New Rochelle Eco-Ambassadors are veteran teachers in the City School District of New Rochelle and leaders of the school district-based Green Schools Committee. The LISCIF funding will expand the program to include field equipment and opportunities, curriculum development for youth participants and interns and opportunities to expand the summer programming to more students and teachers in New Rochelle during the school year through the Green Schools Committee. This project builds capacity for the establishment of a permanent coastal educational center focused on environmental justice and coastal resilience initiatives. This will be a hub for continuous stewardship and monitoring of the local environment.

Student Environmental Ambassadors – Don’t Strain Your Drain

Grantee: Environmental Leaders of Color (ELOC)
Grant Amount: $99,999.90
LISCIF Program Priority: Public engagement, knowledge, and stewardship

Environmental Leaders of Color (ELOC) will host the Student Summer Energy and Environmental Program for Teens in socially and economically vulnerable communities in Westchester County.

With LISCIF grant funding, ELOC will expand the program to a year-round education and community-involvement program in Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, and Port Chester, the Student Environmental Ambassador (SEA) program. We will teach students about environmental issues and share knowledge within marginalized communities affected by environmental injustice. 2024’s theme is “Don’t Strain Your Drain!,” focusing on the impacts of improper waste disposal on the Long Island Sound watershed. ELOC will identify 15 student ambassadors from our summer program graduates. While learning more about the environmental impacts of waste, students will launch community awareness campaigns about substances harmful to drains and their proper disposal. The substances can cause damage to private and public sewer systems eventually contaminating the Long Island Sound watershed. We will identify local sites (such as fire stations, places of worship, libraries, local businesses, etc.) to collect and dispose of residential cooking oil and hazardous substances.

Building a Network of Rain Garden Stewards in Flushing Waterways

Grantee: Guardians of Flushing Bay
Grant Amount: $99,993.08
LISCIF Program Priority: Public engagement, knowledge, and stewardship.

The Guardians of Flushing Bay will conduct a community-based approach to green infrastructure maintenance as part of a partnership with a Queens middle school to co-steward 10 rain gardens.

In response to the need for an improved and community-based approach to green infrastructure rain garden maintenance, Guardians of Flushing Bay (GoFB) will: 1) build our internal capacity for rain garden maintenance by hiring a bilingual (English/Spanish) stewardship organizer; 2) Continue to grow its partnership with a middle school in Corona, Queens to co-steward 10 rain gardens; and 3) develop a program strategy framework to scale up our stewardship program based on lessons learned from the partnership in Corona. To ensure successful engagement in Corona, GoFB will translate all materials (online and print) into English and Spanish. the proposed work will be achieved in close coordination with the Raingarden Action in Neighborhoods (RAIN) Coalition, of which GoFB is a member, and Corona Arts and Sciences Academy, a Title 1 public middle school in Corona, Queens.

Climate Resiliency and FloodSafe Swim Initiative

Grantee: Hispanic Resource Center of Larchmont-Mamaroneck (Community Resource Center)
Grant Amount: $100,000
LISCIF Program Priority: Projects that enhance community resilience and sustainability.

The Community Resource Center will implement water safety and swimming lessons “survival skills” to 108 residents who live in flood prone areas of Sound Shore communities in Larchmont and Mamaroneck.

Introducing a swim program for an underserved community prone to flooding, The Community Resource Center will require careful planning to ensure safety, accessibility, and meaningful engagement. CRC will provide ongoing water education through classes and forums. It will provide a demonstration of lifesaving techniques and flotation device use. Basic swimming skills taught by certified instructors through a 12-week swim program engaging all ages from caregiver and me (under 5 years of age) to youth and adult individuals. Classes on water safety basics, including drowning prevention, recognizing flood hazards, and emergency procedures. Staff will use maps and walks to point out areas of caution. CRC will provide demonstrations of life-saving techniques and flotation device use. Flood preparedness and survival skills discussion, including evacuation plans and emergency supplies, will be taught as well as simulation exercises on safely navigating floodwaters, including currents and debris. Funding will secure an indoor pool facility. CRC will provide appropriate water safety equipment and swim gear, including life jackets, goggles, and swim caps as well as ensure the availability of first aid kits and emergency response equipment at all locations.

Hunts Point Waterfront Shuttle

Grantee: THE POINT Community Development Corporation
Grant Amount: $99,854.00
LISCIF Program Priority: Public engagement, knowledge, and stewardship

THE POINT Community Development Corporation will be establishing a free shuttle service that will transport residents of the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx to three waterfront parks that are currently inaccessible because of their location on the outskirts of the industrial area of the neighborhood.

THE POINT’S aim is to increase access of Hunts Point residents to the Long Island Sound and inspire stewardship of the waterways through public programming and workshops held at the parks. The shuttle vehicles will be electric – an important factor, given its location in a neighborhood with an overabundance of vehicle emissions. The goal is to serve 150 individuals each weekend, for a total of 2,400 visits to the waterfront that THE POINT will facilitate over the course of the grant period. In addition, THE POINT will create public programming around stewardship of the watershed to be held at the parks on the shuttle weekends, including: four environmental stewardship workshops led by students of the Marine Environmental Science program at SUNY Maritime College in The Bronx; two waterfront cleanup days; – four performances to draw people to the parks and which will include an appeal around waterfront stewardship and tabling with information about keeping our waterways clean; and four workshops in recreational birding and/or fishing, led by New York City clubs and groups dedicated to that purpose.

Environmental Science and Justice Youth Development Program

Grantee: Rocking the Boat
Grant Amount: $54,848
LISCIF Program Priority: Community-based science projects and public engagement, knowledge, and stewardship.

Rocking the Boat will be using the funding to help support its Environmental Science and Justice Youth Development Program, an intensive educational and experiential program serving 48 high school students annually in the Bronx.

Over their four years of high school, a year-round curriculum invests them in the natural resources of their neighborhoods with hands-on study of the Bronx River in student-built rowboats. They learn the tools and methods to carry out conservation projects, share valuable knowledge and environmental awareness with their community, and are prepared for options to pursue study and work in environmental fields after high school. The organization closely partners with neighborhood schools and community-based organizations to recruit participants, and benefits from word of mouth, a robust alumni community, and legacy family enrollments. Joining as freshmen or sophomores, students advance through progressive levels of skill and responsibility. Participants who have reached their junior and senior years in high school and have demonstrated a level of proficiency in their technical track enter the Job Skills Program, tackling more complex projects and becoming responsible for sharing what they have learned and helping lead environmental and outdoor activities for the wider community.

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