2017 Small Grants Projects


Storm Water Management Education for Residents

Recipient: Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven
LISFF Funds: $10,000.00
Matching Funds: $10,000.00
Total Project: $20,000.00
Project Area:   Neighborhoods identified as highly impacted by pollution including Newhallville, the Hill, West River, Dixwell, Dwight, and Edgewood, and New Haven.

Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven will provide education to residents about Green Infrastructure waste-water management systems and about the importance of keeping the Long Island Sound watershed clean and the resources that are available to them to do so in low-income neighborhoods highly-impacted by water pollution in the West River Watershed, New Haven Connecticut.  The lower portion of the West River Watershed flows directly into the Sound and has highly-degraded water quality from human activities that take place in this urban area. Polluted stormwater runoff from residential and commercial properties enters waterways untreated through the sewer system. With most urban areas comes a great deal of paved area creating more untreated runoff. Green Infrastructure practices such as rain gardens and rain barrels have documented benefits in reducing stormwater pollution.  This project will seek to address some of the water quality problems by educating residents on the importance of keeping the watershed clean, best practices, and the resources that are available to them.  The project will coordinate ten workshops/events, develop written and digital educational materials, conduct tours of existing Green Infrastructure systems in New Haven to reach out to 300 residents about how to incorporate rain gardens and rain barrels into their own properties.

Sound Spirit Week

Recipient: Sea Research FoundationLISFF Funds: $9,978.00
Matching Funds: $8,053.00
Total Project: $18,301.00
Project Area: Mystic Aquarium, Mystic; Dodge Paddock Beal Preserve in Stonington; and Bluff Point State Park in Groton

The Sea Research Foundation (Mystic Aquarium) will conduct a week-long Long Island Sound awareness and stewardship activities designed to foster understanding actions people may take to maintain a healthy environment in Mystic, Connecticut. A 2006 survey of Long Island Sound residents found a lack of knowledge about the Sound and how individual behavior impacts it.  Despite this lack of knowledge, people have high levels of concern about the environment. This project will address the need to educate the public about the importance of the Sound and its watersheds.  The project will: 1) Expose up to 40,000 individuals to actions they can take to reduce their impact on the Sound; 2) Engage 20 high school students in marine debris related activities including participation in outreach about the problem; and 3)  Engage up to 300 people in conservation activities at four stewardship events including a coastal cleanup, removing approximately 200 pounds of debris from the estuarine environment, removing invasive plants from 2.5 acres of coastal dune and wetland, and monitoring local amphibian populations through citizen science.  The project will increase public knowledge of and appreciation for Long Island Sound and its natural resources, and engage members of the public as partners to address threats to the health of this critical ecosystem.

Long Island Sound Summit and Video Project

Recipient: Solar Youth
LISFF Funds: $10,000.00
Matching Funds: $7,500.00
Total Project: $17,500.00
Project Area: West, Mill, and Quinnipiac River Watersheds and their tributaries that flow into the New Haven Harbor, New Haven

Solar Youth will engage up to 40 urban youth in a three-day Long Island Sound Summit that will include curriculum and lessons about watersheds and water pollution, hands-on conservation activities, and create a Youth Voice Video in New Haven, Connecticut. Cities have a large role in environmental problems facing the Sound and it is important to get citizens from urban centers to engage as stewards of their environment.  In many cities, there are few opportunities for urban residents to directly experience and learn about natural resources, how their own and others’ behaviors affect the environment and remedies that may be used to improve it.  Urban youth culture is often at the leading edge of change, and social media has helped them level the playing field by providing accessible outreach tools to address environmental problems in their communities.  The project will increase urban youths’ awareness, knowledge, skills, and motivation to protect and restore Long Island Sound by: 1) Conducting a three-day Long Island Sound Summit and three educational and experiential field trips that focus on protection of the Sound; 2) Engaging youth in community service action projects focused on environmental stewardship of the Sound including cleanup of 300 Lbs. of floatable debris prevented from entering the Sound; 3) Creating digital media through production of a Youth Voice Video to be featured on YouTube where students share what they learned and accomplished with the public.

New york

Sound Gardening: Why Your Grass Choice Matters

Recipient: Citizens Campaign Fund for the Environment
LISFF Funds: $9,996.00
Matching Funds: $7,500.00
Total Project: $17,495.00
Project Area: Nassau and Suffolk County, within the Long Island Sound Watershed

Citizens Campaign for the Environment will launch an educational campaign aimed at homeowners to provide guidance about the types and correct grass seed to use on lawns in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New York. The project will provide homeowners with tools to reduce their impact on the Long Island Sound and to encourage practices to reduce nitrogen (from fertilizers) and pesticides from entering into the Sound’s river, streams, tributaries, and embayments.

Many homeowners on Long Island have green lawns. Homeowners can reduce their pesticide and fertilizer use by understanding the types of and correct grass seed to use on lawns.  Kentucky Blue Grass remains a popular item at garden centers. This grass grows well in Kentucky but not on Long Island. This seed needs more fertilizers and pesticides to ensure growth. Fescue are grass varieties that are easy to establish from seed and maintain. Studies about fescue grass as a lawn alternative found it needs less mowing, water, pesticides, and fertilizer. This grass is not a popular option on Long Island. Another key factor in buying grass is the ratio of grass seed to weed seed in the bag. Many homeowners do not know how to look for this ratio and choose a less expensive product with a high content of weed seeds. This homeowner will often need more pesticides and fertilizers to combat weeds  The project will: 1) Conduct a survey to capture homeowners’ current grass practices; 2) Craft and disseminate 5,000 educational brochures based on the survey results addressing how to choose the right grass seed, how to read grass seed labels, and what grass seeds to avoid;  and 3) Deliver two public sessions about how to choose the right grass seed to reduce pesticides and fertilizers; 4) Deliver information using social media to guide homeowners in planting the right grass to reduce chemical footprint.

SOUNDoff Event! Creating Long Island Sound Stewards–III

Recipient: The Whaling Museum Society, Inc.
LISFF Funds: $7,408.00
Matching Funds: $4,000.00
Total Project: $11,408.00
Project Area: Cold Spring Harbor

The Whaling Museum Society will host a one-day public event, SOUNDoff! to educate inform and build awareness in local communities about conservation of Long Island Sound in a hands-on accessible way. The project will reach 300 visitors who will leave the event with a stronger understanding of their relationship to the Sound and with practical ways to contribute to a cleaner Sound.

The Whaling Museum Society will host a one-day event to engage and inform children and adults about how to play an active role in preserving Long Island Sound through hands-on activities in Cold Spring Harbor, New York.  The project will:1) conduct a local outreach and media campaign to generate interest in the event; and 2) provide multiple hands-on activities including: “Sound Rescue Stations” where visitors can practice “rescuing” the Sound from an array of threats, from oil to pollutants; a water quality monitoring station where visitors may test actual samples, learn how to understand the results and enter those results into an international database; a touch tank of local marine organisms such as oysters and horseshoe crabs combined with presentations about the impact of local marine debris and stormwater pollution on the Sound; a Water Wheel Activity Kit to teach basic ecology of the water cycle to help participants understand why to become stewards of the Sound; and a RRR (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) tote bag station where participants learn about the devastating effect plastic bags have on the environment and decorate and take home a “No Plastic Bag Pledge” tote to use and reduce their own carbon footprint. The event will engage adults and children about ways to play active roles in protecting the Sound, including limiting pollutants in the marine environment,  alewife monitoring and understanding the impact of local marine debris on the coastal environment.

Long Island Sound Fresh Pond Festival

Recipient: Salonga Wetland Advocates Network
Project Area:   Hamlet of Fort Salonga, Town of Smithtown, New York.
LISFF Funds: $5,565.00
Matching Funds: $6,125.00
Total Project: $11,690.00
Project Area:   Hamlet of Fort Salonga, Town of Smithtown, New York.

The Salonga Wetland Advocates Network will conduct a festival and shoreline cleanup in Fort Salonga, New York.  The event and hands-on cleanup will increase public awareness of and commitment to restoration and protection of the environment of Long Island Sound.

The Salonga Wetland Advocates Network will conduct a one-day festival and shoreline cleanup in Fort Salonga, New York.  Participants from the 10,000-person hamlet will experience hands-on learning, family fun, and music in a unique, natural setting that includes Fresh Pond and a section of beach along Long Island Sound.   The project will inspire and inform participants in four ways to “learn” while they “play” including: 1) Learning from local environmental organizations about the health, habitats, and wildlife of the Sound and its watersheds and how these vital resources are affected by the choices that residents make; 2) Spending time on Fresh Pond and on the shore of the Sound, observing plants, fish, birds, turtles, muskrats, butterflies and other wildlife in natural freshwater and saltwater habitats; and 3) Take-home educational materials that will reinforce what is learned about the Sound with recommendations for actions that may be taken by people to contribute to a healthier Sound.  Hands-on activities will include: 1) Taking a wildlife-expert-guided tour of Fresh Pond on a raft while scavenger hunting for specific species of plants and wildlife and  2) Approximately 124 participants will collect up to 300 Lbs. of marine debris along a Long Island Sound beach.

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