Grantee: City of Chicopee
LISFF Grant Funds: $14,737Grantee Matching Funds: $14,737Total Conservation Impact: $29,475
Project Area: Water Pollution Control Facility, Chicopee, Massachusetts
Description at a Glance: Prepare a study to identify low cost improvements to reduce nitrogen pollution from a water pollution control facility in Chicopee, Massachusetts. The project has the promise to reduce effluent a source of nitrogen pollution into Long Island Sound by a minimum of 123,200 pounds annually.
Abstract: Chicopee, Massachusetts will identify improvements at its water pollution control plant to reduce nitrogen from the facility’s wastewater effluent into Long Island Sound. Low dissolved oxygen (hypoxia) is the primary threat to the health of the Sound. The principal cause of hypoxia is nitrogen derived from wastewater treatment effluent. Over a billion gallons of treated effluent discharge daily from these plants to the Sound. The project will develop a plan to reduce nitrogen in wastewater effluent from one plant currently discharging 1,600 pounds daily into the Sound watershed. Nitrogen reduction options to be evaluated: 1) Solids processing side stream treatment. Data finds this could reduce nitrogen loading by 10-15 percent; and 2) Upgrades to existing systems with aeration equipment designed to remove nitrogen during summer. Based upon current data this can reduce 200 to 300 pounds of total nitrogen from effluent daily. Chicopee faces many challenges with 15.3 percent of residents living below the poverty line, and Environmental Justice neighborhoods designated based upon minority, income or language isolation. Despite economic challenges, the project is part of a City plan to manage wastewater and stormwater pollution in an environmentally responsible manner. It has committed to implementing the most effective and cost-beneficial option(s) defined by the study to reduce ~350 gallons of nitrogen daily into the Sound.
Grantee: Springfield Water and Sewer Commission
LISFF Funds: $290,385Matching Funds: $168,000Total Conservation Impact: $458,385
Project Area: Springfield, Massachusetts
Description at a Glance: Install instruments to enhance nitrogen removal at the Springfield Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility in Springfield, Massachusetts. The project will eliminate 3,000 pounds of effluent total inorganic nitrogen annually that is currently loading from the plant into the Connecticut River and downstream to Long Island Sound.
Abstract: The Springfield Water and Pollution Control Commission will optimize its nitrogen removal process with advanced instrumentation and integrated measurement of data during the treatment process at the Springfield Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, Massachusetts. The plant is the second largest wastewater treatment facility in New England discharging treated effluent into the Connecticut River which flows into Long Island Sound. Wastewater treatment facilities contribute nitrogen to the Sound. Although nitrogen loading has decreased with plant upgrades around the Sound, excess nitrogen remains an issue. High levels of organic material in sewage cause that excess nitrogen which depletes dissolved oxygen. The health of the Sound and its water quality are tied to the location, volume, and treatment level of the effluent being discharged by these plants. This project will reduce oxygen demand in the treated effluent. Activities: 1) Install on-line nitrogen and solids instrumentation; 2) Integrate date from that instrumentation into air blower process controls to automatically adjust settings to match real-time oxygen demands in process tanks; and 3) Install nitrate-nitrogen instrumentation in the anoxic zones to enable plant operators to optimize the denitrification process through adjustments in return activated sludge return rates. The project is another step towards reducing nitrogen from plants in the upper basin of the Sound’s watershed.
Grantee: Town of Montague, Planning Department
LISFF Grant Funds: $10,642Grantee Matching Funds: $5,899Total Conservation Impact: $16,541
Project Area: A parking lot behind Montague Town Hall 50 ft. from the Connecticut River which flows downstream to Long Island Sound, Village of Turners Falls, Massachusetts
Description at a Glance: Construct green infrastructure in a paved lot near the Connecticut River in Turners Falls, Massachusetts. The project will prevent 77,882 gallons of polluted stormwater and 27 pounds of nitrogen from entering the Connecticut River and then downstream to Long Island Sound annually.
Abstract: The Town of Montague will install green infrastructure in a parking lot behind Town Hall to address pollutants currently flowing from the 1.2-acre rainfall catchment area of the lot to the Connecticut River and downstream to Long Island Sound in the Village of Turners Falls, Massachusetts. The village located in a bend of the Connecticut River is covered in impervious hard surfaces like roofs, roads, and the parking lot. When it rains, these paved areas generate stormwater run-off that carries pollutants like nitrogen into the Connecticut River via the village’s combined sewer. Green infrastructure is a natural approach to managing stormwater. These systems use landforms (like basins or swales) to capture runoff and living plants to break down pollution. Project activities: 1) Install a detention basin and a vegetated strip of native plants to capture and filter pollution from the surrounding landscape of lot and streets; and 2) Engage the Town’s public works department and three young people from the local teen center to install the project. The project will remove 8,535 square feet of paved impervious parking lot, prevent polluted stormwater, nitrogen, and sediment from entering the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound, and set the stage for series of green infrastructure projects planned for the town.
Grantee: Connecticut River Watershed Council, Inc.
LISFF Grant Funds: $281,063.24Grantee Matching Funds: $281,900Total Conservation Impact: $532,963.24
Project Area: Upper Connecticut River and its tributaries (the Ammonoosuc, Cold and Ashuelot) from Colebrook in Coos County to Hinsdale in Cheshire County, New Hampshire
Description at a Glance: Install bioengineered streambank stabilization and riparian restoration projects in Coos and Cheshire Counties, New Hampshire. The project will eliminate 80 pounds of nitrogen annually flowing into the Connecticut River downstream to Long Island Sound.
Abstract: The Connecticut River Watershed Council will install four projects restoring 2,500 feet of streambank and four acres of riparian area to reduce nitrogen inputs into the upper Connecticut River and three of its tributaries (the Ammonoosuc, Cold and Ashuelot) from farms in New Hampshire. The Upper Connecticut River basin is a source of excess nitrogen and sediment from eroding streambanks occurring during high flow periods in the spring especially from farms with little or no protective buffer between their fields and local waterways.
Nitrogen transported downstream to Long Island Sound causes algal blooms, dead zones and declining marine life.The New Hampshire Department of Agriculture estimates that riverfront farms experience the loss of ~ 2.3 feet of valuable soil annually due to this type of erosion. The project will work with corn and hay operators to deliver bioengineered projects, which address the underlying causes of bank erosion. Project activities; 1) Lower banks creating active floodplain benches adjacent to the them which help re-establish floodplains to reduce erosion; 2) Install root wads, engineered log jams or large wood structures to protect the bank where erosive forces are greatest; and 3) Plant 3,000 native trees and shrubs to further stabilize the banks. The projects will be part of a solution that benefits farmers in the upper basin and Long Island Sound downstream to reduce the delivery sediment and nitrogen to coastal waters.
Grantee: Rich Earth Institute
LISFF Grant Funds: $96,734Grantee Matching Funds: $167,500Total Conservation Impact: $264,234
Project Area: Rockingham, Windham County, Vermont, Franklin County, Massachusetts and Cheshire County, New Hampshire
Description at a Glance: Enhance the deployment of nitrogen reclamation technology in Windham County, Vermont, Franklin County, Massachusetts and Cheshire County, New Hampshire. Project will divert 150 lbs. of nitrogen annually from entering the Connecticut River and downstream to Long Island Sound.
Abstract: Rich Earth Institute will increase use of nitrogen reclamation technology by enhancing capacity at its depots and delivering mobile eco-sanitation services in Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Excess nitrogen is a threat to the health of Long Island Sound. Some of the excess nitrogen discharged into the Sound from the Connecticut River watershed states comes from septic systems and wastewater treatment plants. For example, approximately 50% of Vermont’s homes use septic systems and local wastewater treatment plants discharge but do not fully remove nitrogen. This project provides an alternative to costly upgrades of these systems by enhancing the use of technology to reduce nutrients by recycling it into fertilizer for use on farms. Project activities: 1) Deploy a new nutrient collection depot to enhance the capacity of current nutrient recycling; 2) Educate job sites and public events about the availability and value of eco-sanitation units reaching 10,000 people and to recruiting 75 new nutrient recycling volunteer donors; 2) Upgrade the eco-sanitation units with educational signs and ADA-accessible units; 3) Install a new pasteurizer in the current nutrient collection depot to provide for on-site treatment and direct transport of fertilizer for application on fields; and 4) Host engineering interns to transfer lessons learned about this innovative technology. The project will transform nitrogen from waste into a locally sourced fertilizer and reduce 150 pounds of nitrogen into the Sound.
Description at a Glance: Enhance the deployment of nitrogen reclamation technology in Windham County, Vermont, Franklin County, Massachusetts and Cheshire County, New Hampshire. The project will divert 150 pounds of nitrogen annually from entering the Connecticut River and downstream to Long Island Sound.
Grantee: Vermont Association of Conservation Districts
LISFF Grant Funds: $49,925Grantee Matching Funds: $49,925Total Conservation Impact: $99,850
Project Area: Connecticut River Basin, Vermont
Description at a Glance: Develop 14 watershed plans to identify high-priority areas to restore pocket wetlands in agricultural fields in Vermont’s Connecticut River Basin. Projects identified in these plans will ultimately restore freshwater wetlands and enable greater reduction in nitrogen loading from nonpoint source runoff from the Connecticut River downstream to Long Island Sound.
Abstract: The Vermont Association of Conservation Districts will develop watershed plans to identify and prioritize high-priority subbasins for future pocket wetland (.35 to 1.8 acre) restoration projects in agricultural areas of the Connecticut River Basin. The land along Vermont’s Connecticut River main stem and tributaries contains prime agricultural soils. The land was historically ditched or filled for crops, with loss of floodplain wetlands essential for capturing runoff of soils and nitrogen from fertilizers into local waterways. According to Vermont’s Implementation Plan for the Long Island Sound, approximately 21 percent of the nitrogen that Vermont contributes to the Sound originates from agricultural sources and are the state’s largest land-based source of nitrogen to the Sound. Nitrogen transported downstream to the Sound causes algal blooms, dead zones and declining marine life. Though these individual wetlands are small, they have been found to reduce total nitrogen runoff from farms by 59 percent. The project will develop a series of subbasin plans to set the stage for future on-the-ground restoration. Project activities: 1) Develop 14 watershed plans assessing wetlands restoration projects for 14 sub-basins based on desktop review of sub-watersheds; 2) Identify and prioritize potential project sites; 3) Field site verification; and 4) Preliminary outreach to landowners. The project is a collaboration with four of Vermont’s Natural Resources Conservation Districts.
Grantee: Essex County Natural Resources Conservation District
LISFF Grant Funds: $24,520Grantee Matching Funds: $24,776Total Conservation Impact: $49,296
Project Area: Upper Connecticut River Basin, Essex County, Vermont.
Description at a Glance: Develop a cover cropping species mix and planting strategy and methods for monitoring reductions in nitrogen from farm runoff in Essex County, Connecticut. The project will create a robust on-farm planting strategy to reduce nitrogen into the Connecticut River and downstream to Long Island Sound.
Abstract: The Essex County Natural Resources Conservation District will develop a cover crop mix, a planting strategy, and a system for monitoring nitrogen prevention in the upper Connecticut River Basin, Vermont. Agriculture in this region faces many challenges. Fields frequently flood, are slow to dry out, and have a short growing season. Nitrogen from manure and fertilizer is washed downstream to Long Island Sound causing algal blooms, dead zones and declining marine life. Cover crops serve as a ‘catch crop’ for excess nitrogen, and erosion. Determining an effective cover crop mix for conventional corn tillage operations been challenging due the growing season, flooding and financial concerns. The project will work with a one dairy operation to develop a cover crop for its fields that works for the farmer in terms of limited risk the bottom line and serves as a future demonstration site. Project activities: 1) Determine sample points, select cover crop species, develop a planting strategy, and source planting equipment and seed; and 2) Develop a nitrogen sampling methodology that documents the effect of cover crops in terms of pounds of nitrogen prevented; and 3) Document the changes in the cost of fertilizer application, crop yield, and soil health. This project aims to demonstrate to the local farming community the environmental, logistical, and financial benefits of including cover cropping in the management of upper Connecticut River floodplain corn fields.
Grantee: Vermont Land Trust
LISFF Grant Funds: $199,477Grantee Matching Funds: $125,000Total Conservation Impact: $324,477
Project Area: Connecticut River Watershed, Vermont
Description at a Glance: Produce ecological assessments and riparian/wetland restoration plans for 12 farmland conservation projects and an associated plan for a market-based financing model in the Connecticut River Watershed, Vermont. The project will develop a strategy for incentivizing on-farm projects to reduce nitrogen along the Connecticut River and downstream to Long Island Sound.
Abstract: The Vermont Land Trust will develop 12 plans for restoration, and a market-based financing model to incentivize farmer participation in conservation projects in the Connecticut River Basin. Runoff from agriculture contributes 21 percent of Vermont’s nitrogen load to Long Island Sound. Nitrogen washed downstream causes dead zones and declining marine life. Best management practices (BMPs) to restore wetlands and riparian zones and control agricultural runoff play a role in reducing nitrogen. The project will develop an alternative to government programs which, cover only part of the costs to implement conservation projects. Faced with this financing gap, many farmers choose to continue with practices causing downstream pollution. Activities: 1) Prepare ecological assessments and plans to restore riparian buffers and wetlands on farms; and 2) Model and measure the environmental benefits of different BMPs. Identify potential beneficiaries such as downstream municipalities suffering from impaired water quality, state entities seeking solutions to meet regulatory requirements, and corporations seeking water quality improvements to meet sustainability goals. These beneficiaries will help assess demand and pricing. A monitoring and verification process will be designed to gauge potential revenue. The project will explore development of an economic model where revenues from environmental outcomes support financial incentives to farmers to implement conservation projects.