Sustainable and Resilient Communities Extension Professionals Host Regional Funding Workshops in CT and NY

Formed in 2021, the Sustainable and Resilient Communities (SRC) team brings together five Extensional Professionals strategically located in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties in New York, and in Eastern and Western Connecticut. Guided by the LISS Sustainable and Resilient Communities Work Group, the SRC team works to provide community decision-makers with the resources needed to have an organized regional response to climate change through improved education, outreach, and funding support.

Participants engage in conversation at the Suffolk County workshop. Photo by Sara Powell/NYSG

Throughout March, the SRC team ran a series of funding workshops across the Long Island Sound region. Workshops were held on March 7 in Groton, Connecticut, March 21 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and March 28 in Hauppauge, New York. A Clean Water Infrastructure Workshop sponsored by New York State Assemblyman Steve Otis was also held in Rye on February 29, featuring a presentation about grant writing assistance and other resources provided by the SRC team.

The workshops combined attracted over 200 attendees, representing a diverse range of stakeholders, including state and other funding agencies, municipal officials, local nonprofits, regional planning entities, conservation organizations, and academic institutions. Workshops facilitated feedback on new project ideas from past grant recipients and funders, providing an opportunity to network, collaborate, and support important dialogue on resilience-related funding. 

Panelists for each session were selected for their expertise as past recipients of state and federal grant monies. You can read some examples of their projects below. 

Hauppauge Panelists:

  • Enrico Nardone, Executive Director at Seatuck
    • In 2022, Seatuck received $150,000 in funding from NYSDEC to design a fish passage connecting Patchogue River and a Long Island coastal stream in the village of Patchogue. The project is anticipated to be completed in the fall of this year. 
    • Seatuck also assisted the Suffolk County Council Boy Scouts of America with their $130,000 2022 LIS Futures Fund grant to plan for fish passage at the Baiting Hollow Boy Scout Camp on the north shore of Long Island. 
  • Alan Duckworth, Town of Brookhaven
    • A 2021 LIS Futures Fund grant of $79,639.62 was awarded to the Town of Brookhaven to assess the potential of American oysters to remove nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon pollution from waters and repopulate Port Jefferson Harbor, NY. Another LISFF grant was awarded in 2023 for $70,000 to support the removal of invasive species to improve 40 acres of coastal forest habitat at West Meadow Beach, NY.
  • Donald Tesoriero, Assistant to the Mayor, Village of Northport 
    • The Village of Northport was awarded $654,577 in 2022 through the NYSDEC Water Quality Improvement Program to install green stormwater infrastructure, including rain gardens, in four high priority project areas in the Village’s waterfront area. They have also partnered with Citizens Campaign for the Environment to apply to the Long Island Sound Futures Fund for the installation of rain gardens. These green infrastructure projects will improve water quality in Northport Harbor, an embayment of the Long Island Sound, by removing nutrients, sediment, debris, and other materials from road runoff. 
    • The Village of Northport was recently awarded a 2023 NY Department of State Grant to prepare a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) for the Northport Harbor coastal area, an embayment of the Long Island Sound. The LWRP will develop the community vision for a sustainable, resilient waterfront community and provide a framework for the protection of crucial resources, address climate change and sea level rise adaptation, improve water quality, advance downtown revitalization, expand public access, and incorporate smart growth principles.
  • Marian Russo, Executive Director of Community Development, Village of Patchogue
    • In the fall of 2023, the New York Department of State announced the completion of a $3 million Shorefront Park Living Shoreline project in the Village of Patchogue – one of the largest living shoreline projects in the state. The project included the replacement of a deteriorated bulkhead with a marsh habitat and increased public access through walking trails and pedestrian bridges.

Groton Panelists:

  • Dan Mullins, Executive Director of Eastern Connecticut Conservation District
    • Awarded a $1,300,000 LIS Futures Fund grant to reduce farm waste and nutrient pollution from dairy cow farms to local waterways and the Sound. 
  • Anthony Allen, Director of Restoration Strategy at Save the Sound
    • From 2020 – 2024, Save the Sound received over $8 million in grant funding support from LISS for projects that supported the program implementation of the Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan’s four themes.
Participants at the Bridgeport workshop. Photo by Deb Abibou/CTSG

Bridgeport Panelists:

  • Anthony Allen, Director of Restoration Strategy at Save the Sound 
  • Max Gray, Institutional Giving Director at Trust for Public Land
    • The Trust for Public Land was awarded two LIS Futures Fund grants in 2023, one in Connecticut for $350,000 to design a sustainable green space with a living shoreline and improved public access and the other, a grant for $493,400 in the South Bronx, NY to replace asphalt with green infrastructure on two playgrounds.
  • Christina Smith, Executive Director of Groundwork Bridgeport
    • Awarded a grant of $1.7 million by the U.S. Forest Service to advance tree data inventory, urban heat monitoring, and assessment tools and develop systems that inform tree planting efforts.
    • Awarded $19,000 from the LIS Stewardship Fund to upgrade management systems and improve program capacity. 
  • Helen Rosenberg, Economic Development Officer for the City of New Haven
    • Awarded a $999,000 grant from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s Brownfield Remediation and Development Program in early 2024 to remediate leftover debris at the former New Haven Veterans Memorial Coliseum site.

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