2009 Small Grants Projects

New York

Development of Bronx River Watershed Education Exhibit

Recipient: Nunataks Ltd. d/b/a Greenburgh Nature Center
Federal Funds (EPA): $ 5,704
Matching Funds: $3,200
Total Project Costs: $8,904
Project Area: Scarsdale, New York

The Greenburgh Nature Center will establish an indoor permanent aquarium exhibit to display a live fish community representative of the Bronx River watershed. Educational signage will reflect ecology of Bronx River Watershed and its relationship to the Long Island Sound.

The Greenburgh Nature Center is a 33-acre woodland preserve consisting of a nature museum, live animal collection, botanical greenhouse and environmental related exhibits. The exhibit and signage will feature River herring. The Nature Center will use the aquarium exhibit as a site to conduct watershed education programs for visiting school groups.

Long Island Sound Component – 2009 NY Beach Cleanup

Recipient: American Littoral Society
Federal Funds (EPA): $6,000
Matching Funds: $150,000
Total Project Costs: $156,000
Project Area: Queens, Bronx, Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk and New York Counties

The American Littoral Society will coordinate the 2009 International Coastal Cleanup along 130 miles of beaches on the Long Island Sound involving 2,570 volunteers with data compiled for 70 sites to develop strategies for combating marine pollution and to educate the public about floatable pollution and prevention.

A site captain is responsible at a cleanup and is usually from a local group, school, or civic association. The beach cleanup gets people to see first-hand what litter is doing to the marine and coastal environment. Participants learn what they can do on a daily basis to solve the problem of floatable debris: recycling, advocating for less packaging, adopting a beach, stenciling messages next to storm drains, etc. The cleanup itself improves the habitat by removing debris and, in the case of wetlands, of restoring productivity. Beaches are cleaner, safer, and more aesthetically pleasing to the general public. The annual beach cleanup is not about debris; it is about people: enhancing their knowledge and appreciation of the environment and helping them find ways to protect and improve it. The event puts a face on issues such as “non-point source pollution,” storm drains, sewage, etc. Children learn that cities have an “environment” and “habitat” worth protecting.

Festival of Little Neck Bay and Long Island Sound

Recipient: Alley Pond Environmental Center
Federal Funds (EPA): $5,000.03
Matching Funds: $5,000
Total Project Costs: $10,000.03
Project Area: Douglaston, New York

The Alley Pond Environmental Center will present a National Estuaries Day event focused on the Long Island Sound involving 36 plus community organizations and attracting 550 participants.

Coastal Classroom

Recipient: City Parks Foundation
Federal Funds (EPA): $6,000
Matching Funds: $40,000
Total Project Costs: $46,000
Project Area: The East River, in Astoria and Long Island City, Queens, situated within the Long Island Sound watershed.

Coastal Classroom will offer hands-on lessons to schools and local residents along the Queens waterfront, introducing concepts of river ecology, water quality, and waterfront restoration and preservation.

Coastal Classroom provides educational experiences on the East River waterfront, in Astoria and Long Island City, Queens, to 1,000 children and community members. It educates residents about river ecology, environmental challenges, and how human actions affect water health. The program offers hands-on lessons to public school classes and community groups, and also holds community events and public workshops. It provides 20 in-classroom lessons and 80 outdoor lessons at waterfront parks in Queens (each class/community group receives a series of four lessons). Participants test water quality variables; enter the water, using waders, to observe wildlife; and collect flora and fauna for biodiversity sampling and identification. Additionally, Coastal Classroom will also hold a National Estuaries Day community-wide event with lessons tailored to focus on the importance of estuaries.


Save the Sound Coastal Cleanup Program (CT)

Recipient: Save the Sound
Federal Funds (EPA): $6,000
Matching Funds: $6,000
Total Project Costs: $12,000
Project Area: State of Connecticut

Save the Sound’s Coastal Cleanup program will recruit a diverse group of volunteers and engage with a variety of partners, including community leaders and residents, organizations and corporate/business groups to clean up Connecticut’s inland and coastal shores. Over the last three years, the program brought together 4,243 volunteers, who picked up 35,072 pounds of trash at 144 clean up events covering more than 68 miles of Connecticut shoreline. In 2008, the program achieved its best results ever – 1,700 volunteers collected over 15,000 pounds of trash along 68 miles of Connecticut shoreline.

The project will: 1) recruit 70 volunteer Cleanup Captains for cleanups along Connecticut’s shoreline; 2) schedule and coordinate 70 cleanup events along the coastal and inland shores of Connecticut; 3) engage 1,750 volunteers; 4) hold 50 events on or around International Coastal Cleanup (September 19, 2009) and National Estuaries Day (September 26, 2009); and5) clean 70 miles of Connecticut shoreline, including beaches and riverfronts.

Estuary Celebration Weekend

Recipient: Sea Research Foundation, Inc.
Federal Funds (EPA): $5,420
Matching Funds: $5,500
Total Project Costs: $10,920
Project Area: Mystic, Connecticut

The Sea Research Foundation will host National Estuary Day events over a weekend attracting 2,700 visitors focusing on increasing public awareness about the threats facing Long Island Sound and the abundance of its natural resources with a goal of increasing community connections with the Sound.

Town of Stratford, CT Storm Sewer Stenciling Project

Recipient: Town of Stratford, Connecticut
Federal Funds (EPA): $6,000
Matching Funds: $6,771
Total Project Costs: $10,620
Project Area: Stratford, Connecticut

The Town of Stratford will stencil at least 25% of the Town’s storm sewers leading to the Housatonic River and Long Island Sound to reduce runoff and nonpoint source pollution.

Located at the mouth of the Housatonic River basin, Stratford’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System is a primary pathway for surface run-off and non-point source pollution in Long Island Sound and the Housatonic River basin. Through a partnership between the Town, the Stratford Conservation Commission, and youth service groups, this project will stencil a minimum of 25% of the Town’s MS4 basins to discourage dumping and polluting. The Town will conduct an inventory and prioritization of basins for stenciling and will conduct half of the markings through its existing mosquito control program. Youth volunteers will conduct the other half, as well as educate residents living in the areas stenciled about the project and the impact of dumping in the sewers on water quality of the Housatonic River and Long Island Sound. A broader public awareness campaign will accompany the stenciling. Newspaper ads and brochures will be produced and made available at Town buildings and meetings. The desired outcomes of the project are to impact human behavior and reduce polluting in the MS4 system, and ultimately reduce the amount of floating debris in the sewer system and in Long Island Sound.

Save The River-Save The Hills, Inc.

Recipient: Sound Decisions – Radio, Podcast, Print, Social Marketing
Federal Funds (EPA): $6,000
Matching Funds: $7,250
Total Project Costs: $13,250
Project Area: London County, Connecticut

Save The River-Save the Hills will conduct a multi-media program to raise public awareness of four southeastern Connecticut outreach efforts to prevent pollution, reduce stormwater, preserve habitat/control invasive species and build appreciation of the Sound.

Over a 12 month-period, a series of 10, 30-minute radio programs, called “Sound Decisions,” will air on two AM radio stations covering central and southeastern Connecticut communities. To reach more audiences, especially youth, companion podcasts will be broadcasted on Mitchell College’s new Internet radio station. Companion news articles will be written for community print and online newspapers. All will be promoted through timely messages sent via Facebook and other social networking media.

Specific programming includes: 1) the Town of East Lyme and Children’s Museum of southeast Connecticut will present a program to reduce runoff, recapture and reuse storm and rainwater; 2) Mitchell College will develop a program focused on protecting and restoring fragile beach habitats and controlling invasive species; and 3) A Living Museum will present a program that seeks to build an appreciation and public support for protecting the Sound’s unique ecosystem.

Indicator Bacteria and Nutrients Levels in the Norwalk River

Recipient: Earthplace-The Nature Discovery Center
Federal Funds (EPA): $6,000
Matching Funds: $12,500
Total Project Costs: $18,500
Project Area: Norwalk River Basin, Connecticut

Earthplace-The Nature Discover Center will implement a summer-time monitoring program to access the concentrations of indicator bacteria and nutrients at 14 sites in the Norwalk River Watershed.

Sheffield Island, Norwalk Habitat Restoration

Recipient: Norwalk Seaport Association, Inc.
Federal Funds (EPA): $6,000
Matching Funds: $6,000
Total Project Costs: $12,000
Project Area: Sheffield Island, Norwalk, Fairfield County, Connecticut

The Norwalk Seaport Association will restore seven acres of upland habitat on Sheffield Island. Volunteers will learn to identify and remove invasive plants and perform beach and garbage clean up at the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge and on lands owned by the Norwalk Seaport.

Non-native, invasive plants threaten the habitats of waterbirds, songbirds and other wildlife. The project will target and remove highly aggressive plant species that are new to the region, such as mile-a-minute vine, common reed, garlic mustard, Japanese Barberry and Asiatic bittersweet. Other activities will include beach clean ups and restoration of a nature trail. Volunteers will remove weeds from the trail and “pave” the trail using slipper shells found along the shores of Sheffield Island. The US Fish & Wildlife Service will provide a landing craft to remove garbage from the island. One-hundred twenty volunteers will be involved in the project.

Signage at Silver Sands State Park for Habitat Conservation

Recipient: Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Federal Funds (EPA): $3,999.75                                                                                 Matching Funds: $1,000                                                                                                    Total Project Costs: $4,999.75                                                                                           Project Area: Milford, Connecticut

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Parks Department will manufacture and post signage for Silver Sands State Park to provide warnings and educational information to visitors to protect Piping plover.

Silver Sands State Park has been identified as having potential Piping plover nesting sites. With this funding, signs will be created and posted to help minimize disturbance to breeding plovers by informing the public about the birds. The Piping plover is a small sand-colored, sparrow-sized shorebird that nests and feeds along coastal sand and gravel beaches in North America. Piping plovers arrive in Connecticut to nest in late March. The first eggs are laid by late April in a shallow depression often lined with shells and placed near vegetation. It is both state and federally listed as a threatened species meriting enhanced protection of its nesting areas.

Septic System Management Education Campaign

Recipient: Town of Westport-Septic Maintenance Committee-Conservation Department
Federal Funds (EPA): $6,000
Matching Funds: $0
Total Project Costs: $6,000
Project Area: Westport, Connecticut

The Town of Westport will conduct a community-wide educational campaign to change homeowner behavior regarding responsible septic system maintenance and management.

The project will implement a multi-media educational campaign designed to motivate consumer behavior change resulting in regular system pumping, more responsible use and better water quality. The campaign will involve such tools as: an educational brochure, public service announcements, articles in local media, and a website. Seeking a lighter touch to motivate changes in consumer behavior, a number of more novel communication vehicles will be pursued. Local high school students will create a scale model of the septic system/groundwater “cycle of life” to illustrate the impact of system management, from “toilet flush to groundwater flow.” A much larger version of this model system will be created as a float to appear in the annual Memorial Day Parade. Creation of a “Mock-U-Drama” video of septic systems and their environmental impact will also be an objective, again using local students to star and produce.

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