Grantee: National Audubon Society, Inc. (Audubon Connecticut)
LISFF Grant Funds: $499,974Grantee Matching Funds: $500,249Total Conservation Impact: $1,000,223
Project Area: Great Meadows Marsh, Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, Connecticut
Description at a Glance: Restore 40 acres of salt marsh and other coastal habitats at Great Meadows Marsh, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, Stratford, Connecticut. The project will restore marsh hydrology, increase wildlife habitat and enhance public access to Long Island Sound.
Abstract: National Audubon Society (Audubon Connecticut) will restore 40 acres of habitat at Great Meadows marsh at Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, Stratford, Connecticut. Great Meadows is Connecticut’s largest, intact salt marsh and home to diverse native plants and wildlife. With marsh, beach, ponds, salt pannes and tidal flats the area is a “jewel in the crown” of natural lands around Long Island Sound. Trails provide access to some of the remaining undeveloped public shoreline for residents from nearby populated places like Bridgeport to enjoy the outdoors. Great Marsh once more than 1,400 acres is now only 700 acres, which no longer function properly due to dredged soils filling wetlands, colonization by non-native plants, and sea-level rise. The project will address this loss and degradation. Project activities: 1) Remove old dredge and grade to establish natural marsh elevation; 2) Clear invasive vegetation and plant native coastal plants with 55 volunteers including local underserved urban youth; 3) Build-up subsiding marsh and construct intertidal and marsh channels to restore natural tides; 4) Create hummocks and plantings for rare birds like the salt marsh sparrow; 5) Improve freshwater pond buffers; and 6) Construct platforms for visitor access. Natural habitat like Great Meadows marsh maintained at a significant size and in healthy condition buffer communities from sea-level rise and enhance habitat for imperiled species and green spaces for people.
Grantee: Aspetuck Land Trust
LISFF Grant Funds: $143,300Grantee Matching Funds: $95,700Total Conservation Impact: $239,000
Project Area: Bulkley Pond Dam, Sasco Brook, Fairfield and Westport, Connecticut
Description at a Glance: Remove a barrier to fish passage at Bulkley Pond Dam, Sasco Brook in Fairfield and Westport, Connecticut. The project will open 3.75 miles of river corridor benefiting river herring, sea lamprey and American eel that migrate between rivers and Long Island Sound.
Abstract: Aspetuck Land Trust will remove a barrier to fish passage opening 3.75 miles of riverine migratory corridor in Fairfield and Westport, Connecticut. Riverine migratory corridors are river systems that drain to Long Island Sound. Migratory fish use these rivers to travel and barriers can block their passage from the Sound to rivers to spawn. The Bulkley Pond Dam is one barrier to migration of river herring. The cycle of life for river herring, also known as alewives and blueback herring, begins with their birth in freshwater rivers and streams. After hatching, they travel through Long Island Sound to mature in the Atlantic Ocean. The herring then travel hundreds of miles, returning as adults from the ocean to their freshwater nursery to produce the next generation. Along the Sasco Brook, such a connection was broken in 1885 when the dam was built. This project will help alewives make the journey back to their natal home for the first time in 130 years by widening the depth and width of an existing breach in the dam and removing debris and rocks to ensure river herring, juvenile sea lamprey and American eel can pass and planting the shoreline of Sasco Brook with native vegetation.
Grantee: University of Connecticut
LISFF Grant Funds: $57,144Grantee Matching Funds: $33,600Total Conservation Impact: $90,744
Project Area: Hoffman Evergreen Preserve, Avalonia Land Conservancy, Stonington, Connecticut
Description at a Glance: Deliver a comprehensive strategy of coastal forest management at the Hoffman Evergreen Preserve in Stonington, Connecticut. The project will deploy an innovative program designed to respond to the projected impacts of climate change to make forests in southeastern Connecticut more resilient using guidance such as from the U.S. Forest Service Forest Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis for the Mid-Atlantic and New England.
Abstract: University of Connecticut will deliver a multifaceted strategy of planning, restoration and education to improve long-term resilience to climate change of the 198-acre coastal forest at the Hoffman Evergreen Preserve, Stonington, Connecticut. The Preserve in the coastal boundary of Long Island Sound is more likely to be impacted by storms and other projected climate changes. The project will plan for warmer air temperatures, and changes in precipitation patterns, soil conditions, and growing seasons. It will use the U.S. Forest Service Forest Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis for the Mid-Atlantic and New England to create a list of tree species able to sustain in shifting environmental conditions. Project activities: 1) Develop a forest management plan; 2) Control invasive plants in advance of restoration; 3) Restore 60.2 acres of coastal forest planting native tree and shrubs along with supplemental seeding; 3) Engage 98 volunteers in site preparation and planting; 4) Monitor the success of the restoration work; 5) Conduct a lecture series, workshop and other outreach to 100 municipal officials, land trusts, and natural resource managers providing guiding principles for forest resilience management and to 400 members of the public; and 6) Develop a “lessons learned” report for resource managers. This project will serve as a template to improve the resilience of coastal forests around Long Island Sound watershed.
Grantee: Connecticut Audubon Society
LISFF Grant Funds: $44,468.08Grantee Matching Funds: $45,474Total Conservation Impact: $89,942.08
Project Area: The Smith Hubbell Wildlife Sanctuary Milford, Connecticut
Description at a Glance: Restore coastal beach/dune and forest habitat at the Smith Hubbell Wildlife Sanctuary, Milford Point, Connecticut. The project will enhance biodiversity, establish a long-term framework to fight back against invasive plants and provide education and stewardship experiences about Long Island Sound to the public.
Abstract: Connecticut Audubon Society will restore ~7.75 acres of coastal beach/dune and forest removing invasive plants and revegetating with native plants, and provide stewardship activities and public education at the Smith Hubbell Wildlife Sanctuary, Milford Point, Connecticut. Milford Point is an important stopover area on Long Island Sound for tens of thousands of migrating shorebirds annually such as piping plover, terns, American oystercatcher, and seaside and salt marsh harp-tailed sparrows. Milford Point is also popular with visitors from nearby populated places like Bridgeport providing public access to scarce undeveloped shoreline with a boardwalk, viewing platforms and a tower with panoramic views of the Sound. The site is now overrun with invasive plants. Project activities: 1) Remove invasive plant species and replant with native plants. 2) Recruit 65 volunteer stewards to help restore the site; 3) Complete a management plan to keep invasive plants at bay; and 4) Educate 300 visitors to the Coastal Center at Milford Point and 20,300 people with other forms of outreach about the project. The site is one part of a 582-acre block of connected habitat including the Milford Point Unit of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, and the Charles E. Wheeler Marsh Wildlife Management Area. The project activities will reduce threats to habitat and nurture habitat connectivity a critical part of conservation increasing biodiversity and natural system health.
Grantee: Sacred Heart University
LISFF Grant Funds: $67,610Grantee Matching Funds: $75,000Total Conservation Impact: $142,610
Project Area: At the mouth of the Housatonic River between Stratford Point and Short Beach Park, Stratford, Connecticut
Description at a Glance: Create a permit-ready design for a living shoreline at the mouth of the Housatonic River in Stratford, Connecticut. The plan will ultimately provide for restoration of 900 linear feet of shoreline, two acres of salt marsh and oyster reef providing habitat for fish and wildlife and buffering nearby communities from storms.
Abstract: Sacred Heart University will produce an engineered design for a living shoreline in Stratford, Connecticut. This natural area has it all: coastal forests, grasslands, bluffs, dunes, intertidal flats, tidal marsh and uplands. The area is a vital link between other ecologically important areas, including the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. Short Beach Park also provides recreation for people of all ages and is a natural buffer for adjacent neighborhoods from storms. However, the marsh is degraded and eroding. With only 10 precent remaining, its capacity to provide these benefits is diminished. The project expands an existing living shoreline at Stratford Point. The planning will ultimately deploy a line of ReefMakers, Oyster Castles, coir log/shell rolls, cultch (i.e., recycled oyster shell/slipper shells), and marsh plantings to form a cohesive natural shoreline. ReefMakers placed at the low tide line as a wave break are heavy enough to withstand hurricanes and have surfaces that enhance their use by marine life. Oyster Castles placed in the intertidal zone create shellfish reefs that abates wave energy. Coir logs created by wrapping fabric around shell clutch are placed to stabilize eroding shorelines. Planting salt marsh cordgrass alleviates erosion and retains sediment, which builds up marsh elevation further protect shorelines. The planning will provide a demonstration of nature-based solutions to storms and sea-level rise.
Grantee: Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound
LISFF Grant Funds: $172,000Grantee Matching Funds: $85,964Total Conservation Impact: $257,964
Project Area: Long Pond Dam, Whitford Brook, a tributary of the Mystic River, Ledyard, Connecticut
Description at a Glance: Develop a plan to install fish passage on Long Pond Dam, Whitford Brook, Ledyard, Connecticut. The project will set the stage to restore access to 1.8 miles of migratory riverine corridor for blueback herring, American shad, American eel, sea lamprey and resident brook trout to Long Island Sound.
Abstract: Connecticut Fund for the Environment will prepare a permit-ready engineered design to install a fishway at Long Pond Dam, Whitford Brook, Ledyard, Connecticut. Forty years ago, Whitford Brook and other streams in New London County supported some of the best river herring runs in Connecticut. Even though every one of the streams have been dammed remnants of the fish live on. The cycle of life for river herring, also known as alewives and blueback herring, begin with their birth in freshwater like Whitford Brook. After hatching, they travel through Long Island Sound to mature in the Atlantic Ocean, returning as adults to their freshwater nursery to produce the next generation. The project will prepare engineered designs setting the stage to install a nature-like fishway that mimics natural step pools and allows fish to surmount barriers. Thirty+ residents, the town, and dam owner will participate in the design and 200 members of the public and fish restoration experts will learn about the project. Over seven years fish passage projects along Whitford Brook have opened a corridor for fish to move upstream to their natal waters. Installing this fishway will one day provide access to the 109-acre Long Pond and 28-acre Lantern Hill Pond, and open 1.8 upstream river miles to fish becoming part of a 6.6-mile stretch of river corridor to the Sound. Based on the quality of this habitat, the corridor could in future support an annual run of river herring 256,000 strong.
Grantee: Connecticut River Watershed Council, Inc.
LISFF Grant Funds: $226,026Grantee Matching Funds: $175,000Total Conservation Impact: $401,026
Project Area: Barrier spit on Long Island Sound east of the Katherine Hepburn Estate and west of the mouth of the Connecticut River, Borough of Fenwick, Connecticut.
Description at a Glance: Construct a living shoreline along a barrier spit on Long Island Sound in Fenwick, Connecticut. The project will provide protection for the nearby community and a 10-acre tidal marsh from storms and rising waters.
Abstract: The Connecticut River Watershed Council, Inc. will construct a .40 acre living shoreline on Long Island Sound at the former Katherine Hepburn Estate in Fenwick, Connecticut. The Hepburn Preserve, a gift of the Hepburn Estate, has experienced wave and storm-related erosion, with potential to negatively impact community infrastructure, homes, and a nearby tidal marsh and wildlife. The living shoreline will provide a natural alternative to ‘hard’ shoreline stabilization methods which use bulkheads and buffer the shoreline from waves and storms. The project will install a living shoreline composed of a series of rock sills, a dune and low marsh, a relocated creek, and an open-bottom arch culvert. It will advance the use of an innovative natural systems approach to coastal protection.
Grantee: University of Connecticut
LISFF Grant Funds: $272,376Grantee Matching Funds: $136,254Total Conservation Impact: $408,630
Project Area: South Central Regional Basin including the Farm River, Branford River and Neck River watersheds, ConnecticutLISFF Funds: $272,376Matching Funds: $136,254
Description at a Glance: Develop and implement five green infrastructure projects and provide guidance to local government about overcoming barriers to deployment of green infrastructure in communities of the South-Central Basin of Connecticut. The project will reduce 500,000 gallons of stormwater pollution into Long Island Sound and increase green infrastructure projects around it.
Abstract: The University of Connecticut will promote installation of green infrastructure by helping five towns identify high priority sites, plan for and implement a project in each community of the South-Central Regional Basin, Connecticut. Stormwater runoff is a source of pollution to Long Island Sound. Green infrastructure practices such as rain gardens/bioretention basins, pervious pavement, and tree boxes reduce the amount of runoff by infiltrating stormwater into the ground where excess nitrogen can be absorbed into the soil. However, these practices are still not commonplace in Connecticut coastal communities and must be more widespread to have an impact. Activities: 1) Engage students to conduct rapid assessments that identify green infrastructure projects; 2) Provide reports to municipalities about the type of green infrastructure, conceptual designs, cost and pollution reduction estimates for the project; 3) Work with 30 town staff providing professional guidance to inform project selection and installation; 4) Install 5,000 sq. ft. of green infrastructure, remove 20,000 sq. ft of impervious surface, and prevent 500,000 gallons of stormwater and five lbs. of nitrogen from entering local rivers and downstream to the Sound; and 5) Address local barriers to “scaling up” implementation of green infrastructure. The project will continue to catalyze green infrastructure implementation in Connecticut’s towns.
Grantee: Town of Newtown
LISFF Grant Funds: $29,216Grantee Matching Funds: $15,717Total Conservation Impact: $44,933
Project Area: Pootatuck River watershed, Newtown, Connecticut
Description at a Glance: Develop a watershed plan for the Pootatuck watershed in Newtown, Connecticut. The project will ensure that the causes and sources of nonpoint source pollution are identified, key stakeholders are involved in the planning, and restoration and protection strategies are identified that address local and Long Island Sound water quality problems.
Abstract: The Town of Newtown will prepare a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Nine Element (9E) Watershed Plan to reduce nonpoint source pollution- especially nitrogen and pathogens- into the Pootatuck River and downstream to Long Island Sound in Connecticut. The Pootatuck River is vulnerable to pollution. Water quality challenges include pollution from industrial, commercial and agricultural operations, waste and landfill management, residential septic systems and stormwater runoff from roads, buildings and sidewalks. The Pootatuck River is a vital asset with an aquifer providing drinking water, designation as a Wild Trout Management Area and extensive river-side trail system. Project activities: 1) Organize stakeholders and volunteers to participate plan development; 2) Identify and quantify sources of pollution; 3) Conduct field assessments along parts of the Pootatuck, and in its tributaries and uplands; 4) Identify, prioritize, and develop three to four priority projects to reduce nonpoint source pollution and prepare a detailed plan for one project; 5) Describe financial and technical assistance needed to implement the plan; 6) Estimate a schedule to implement projects and achieve milestones; 7) Identify criteria to be used to assess water quality improvements and related monitoring; and 8) Engage students from Newtown High School in planning. The “9E Plan” will detail the community’s water quality concerns and specific strategies to address them.
Grantee: Town of Brookfield, Connecticut
LISFF Grant Funds: $24,299Grantee Matching Funds: $13,150Total Conservation Impact: $37,458
Project Area: Brookfield Public Works Facility, Brookfield, Connecticut
Description at a Glance: Develop design plans and secure permits for a green infrastructure retrofit at the public works facility in Brookfield, Connecticut. The project will ultimately remove 3.3 acres of impervious paved area to reduce nitrogen into the Still River and downstream to Long Island Sound.
Abstract: The Town of Brookfield will develop final designs and secure permits for a stormwater retrofit at the public works facility in Connecticut. The Still River suffers from poor water quality due to polluted stormwater runoff which, in turn, impacts the Housatonic River and downstream Long Island Sound. A group of municipalities and other partners created a watershed plan to reduce nonpoint source pollution- especially nitrogen and pathogens- into the Still River. The plan ranked this facility as the highest priority site to have the greatest impact on improving water quality through stormwater retrofits and green infrastructure. The property at the edge of the Still River has bare lawn, eroded channels, equipment storage, an uncovered refueling station, gravel piles, and paved surfaces. The design will involve subterranean filtering and hydrodynamic separation structures to remove and/or filter large debris, fine sediments, hydrocarbons, nutrients, and heavy metals; biofiltration swales to intercept and filter water; removing invasive plants and creating a buffer of native plants to capture and filter runoff; and a level spreader at the end of each storm drain to reduce the speed of water before it enters the river. Project activities: 1) Create permit-ready design plans for stormwater retrofit; and 2) Procure all permits for construction. The project will ultimately reduce nitrogen and phosphorous runoff by 30 percent into the Still River and the downstream Sound.
Grantee: National Audubon Society, Inc. (Audubon Connecticut)
LISFF Funds: $75,285Matching Funds: $77,168Total Conservation Impact: $152,453
Project Area: Coastal CT: Pleasure Beach, Bridgeport, Sandy Point, West Haven, and Stratford Point. Two communities in the Long Island Sound watershed in NY
Description at a Glance: Provide education and deliver targeted stewardship of American oystercatcher and other migratory shorebirds and habitat along the Long Island Sound coastline of Connecticut and New York. The project will increase awareness about the value of sharing the shore with birds among recreational users and local government and reduce disturbance to the birds’ breeding and roosting sites.
Abstract: National Audubon Society (Audubon Connecticut) will build awareness and engage the public and local government in activities to avoid disturbing nesting and migrating shorebirds in Connecticut and New York. Every summer, people flock to the shores of the Sound to enjoy the outdoors. These shorelines are also critical stopover points for thousands of shorebirds, who also arrive during the summer months. This project will address human bird conflicts on popular beaches. Project activities: 1) Engage 300 volunteers to steward and monitor 905 acres of beach and birds. Hands-on stewardship activities will include cleanups and installing signs and fencing to protect nesting areas; 2) Employ 20 local young people as wildlife guards working alongside bird biologists. The students will receive hands-on training in bird monitoring, coastal ecology, public outreach, and general job skills. They reach out to visitors encouraging them to sign the “Be a Good Egg,” pledge to give birds space and to keep the beach clean; 3) Conduct electronic media outreach to 5,000 members of the public about beach-nesting birds; and 4) Launch the “Share the Shore Awards” campaign to celebrate one community in Connecticut and one in New York demonstrating a commitment to managing their coast to benefit these birds. The project will engage people who enjoy and local government who manage the beaches to be active players in shorebird protection.
Grantee: Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven
LISFF Grant Funds: $17,812Grantee Matching Funds: $24,219Total Conservation Impact: $42,031
Project Area: Beaver Ponds Park and the Newhallville neighborhood, West River watershed New Haven, Connecticut
Description at a Glance: Conduct environmental education and community stewardship projects in Newhallville, New Haven, Connecticut. The project will stimulate public engagement in the stewardship of the West River watershed and Long Island Sound.
Abstract: Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven will foster community stewardship projects, youth education and engagement, and neighborhood outreach about the environment in Beaver Ponds Park and the surrounding sewershed of Newhallville, New Haven, Connecticut. Many of the residents living in the community of Newhallville did not have access to activities, collaborations, and resources that inform and inspire environmental stewardship. Nearby green spaces such as Beaver Ponds Park were located behind a chain-link fence. Today this urban greenspace has been partially reclaimed and made directly accessible to residents, but it is still burdened by trash and by pollution that flows through the stormwater system from nearby surface storm drains. Project activities: 1) Conduct park and community cleanups; 2) Remove invasive plants at the park; 3) Host student projects to learn more about water quality at the park and on recreational fields; 4) Connect a network of trails; 5) Conduct a fishing derby to teach young people about the environment; 6) Distribute information to raise awareness of local greenspaces and way to reduce chemicals on landscaping; and 7) Maintain community rain gardens and demonstrate proper techniques for rain garden maintenance. This project will support activities engaging 335 volunteers and education to stimulate more conservation stewardship to improve natural and community assets.
Grantee: City of New London, Connecticut
LISFF Grant Funds: $50,000Grantee Matching Funds: $50,000Total Conservation Impact: $100,000
Project Area: New London, Connecticut
Description at a Glance: Complete development of a watershed management plan for New London. The project will ensure that the causes and sources of pollution are identified, key stakeholders are involved in the planning, and restoration and protection strategies are identified that address local and Long Island Sound water quality problems.
Abstract: The City of New London will finalize a watershed management plan. Situated on the Thames River and Long Island Sound, New London is the state’s smallest city comprised of 5.7 square miles of land and 5.2 square miles of water. One-hundred and thirty acres of the area is freshwater wetlands which provide ecological and community benefits including buffering the community from storms, and filtering pollution. The most recent environmental inventory of the City’s land and water resources was published in 1991. The project will update the plan to address issues facing coastal communities including sea-level rise, and storms. Project activities: 1) Identify water quality goals and pollutant reductions to achieve goals; 2) Identify best management practices (BMPs) to help meet goals; 3) Describe financial and technical assistance needed to implement BMPs; 4) Describe outreach to stakeholders and their role in plan implementation; 5) Estimate a schedule to implement BMPs; 6) Describe milestones and estimated time frames for BMP implementation; 7) Identify criteria to be used to assess water quality improvement as the plan is implemented; and 8) Describe the monitoring plan that will collect water quality data need to measure water quality improvement. This project is the final step in creating a blueprint for comprehensive management of water resources and will provide a concrete vision for a sustainable and resilient future in an urban shoreline community.
Grantee: Sea Research Foundation, Inc.
LISFF Grant Funds: $48,042.80Grantee Matching Funds: $32,288Total Conservation Impact: $80,330.80
Project Area: The Mystic Aquarium and Groton, New London, Colchester, Stonington, and Norwich, Connecticut
Description at a Glance: Conduct a Long Island Sound-based educational program about the impact of plastic pollution at the Mystic Aquarium, Connecticut. The project will increase awareness about actions people can take to reduce plastic pollution on shorelines, local waterways, and the Sound.
Abstract: Sea Research Foundation will combine environmental education with social marketing to increase public awareness about the problem of plastic pollution at Mystic Aquarium, Connecticut. Plastic bags foul boat propellers. Thousands of birds and marine animals die from eating or becoming entangled in plastics. Fishing lines, balloons, and straws litter beaches. Scientists estimate that at the current rate, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050. The Long Island Sound watershed home to more than 9 million people, with 4 million of them living along its coast, produces huge amounts of litter, flowing from upstream waters as well as into local storm drains and streets. During a single annual International Coastal Cleanup day 18,000 pounds of trash was picked up from Sound shorelines. Project activities: 1) Provide Long Island Sound-based educational programs to 200 students about the impact of plastic on marine species like turtles; 2) Prepare the Plastic-Free Seas exhibit. Students will apply lessons learned in the classroom as they interact with the exhibit which shows how plastic moves through the marine environment; 3) Engage 100 teens in a Teen Marine Debris Summit to learn about marine debris and single-use plastics and launch a plastic-free challenge social media campaign; and 4) Provide Long Island Sound Day conservation events for the 3,800 people teaching them about the Sound and engaging 160 volunteers in shoreline cleanups.
Grantee: Earthplace–The Nature Discovery Center, Inc.
LISFF Grant Funds: $73,890Grantee Matching Funds: $56,646Total Conservation Impact: $130,536
Project Location: Bruce Brook, Byram River, Farmill River, Five Mile River, Horseneck Brook, Pequonnock River, Noroton River, Rippowam River, and Rooster River, Connecticut
Description at a Glance: Conduct water quality monitoring to help improve nine waterways affected by pollution in Fairfield County, Connecticut. The water quality data collected through this project will be used to inform local government actions to reduce sewage pollution into Long Island Sound.
Abstract: Earthplace–The Nature Discovery Center, Inc. will collect water quality data about waterways currently listed as impaired for recreation and habitat in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Long Island Sound water quality monitoring provides many benefits to communities and the environment among them helping control local pollution, tracking how healthy the Sound is for marine life, identifying toxic chemicals, and testing to make sure bathing beaches are safe for swimming. Most importantly, the water quality monitoring helps enhance management of Long Island Sound and its surrounding local waters. Project Activities: 1) Conduct testing for indicator bacteria (total coliform, E. coli, Enterococci; in river sites only), dissolved oxygen, conductivity (or salinity, for tidal sites), and temperature; 2) Conduct pollution track-down sampling in locations with elevated indicator bacteria concentrations to identify source locations; 3) Partner with municipalities to ensure the prompt correction of any pollution sources; and 4) Upload data into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Water Exchange database the nation’s largest source of water quality monitoring data. The project will result in a reduction of pollution entering the Long Island Sound, fewer days where beach and shellfish beds are closed, and cleaner waters for aquatic and marine life.