2021 Grants in Connecticut


Planning to Reduce Water Pollution in the North Branch Park River Watershed of Long Island Sound (CT) (73424)

Grantee: North Central Conservation District

Project Area:  North Branch Park River, Bloomfield and Hartford, CT

LISFF Grant Funds: $307,154
Grantee Matching Funds:
Total Conservation Impact:

Enhance a watershed management plan by developing green infrastructure designs, in the North Branch Park River watershed, Hartford, CT.  Project will advance the delivery of on-the-ground projects to improve water quality upstream in the river and downstream to Long Island Sound.

The North Central Conservation District will develop green infrastructure strategies and designs when deployed will reduce pollution into the North Branch Park River, Hartford, CT. The watershed encompasses a sizeable portion of Hartford’s urban core and includes many of the community and environmental challenges that face urban areas.  Poor water quality of urban streams is typically one of the problems. The North Branch Park River has the potential to serve as an asset and a focal point for community collaboration under a regional vision offering water quality benefits and greener, cleaner open space.  The planning process comes at a fruitful moment interfacing with the Metropolitan District’s Long Term Control Plan which aims to improve the environmental quality of the river with sewer system repairs. Project activities: 1) organize a collaborative design process with an advisory committee of local stakeholders; 2) update models and prepare maps of storm drains, sewers and rights of way, public and institutional properties, soils, slopes and impervious areas, stormwater treatment areas, and areas for capital improvement to define priority project areas; 3) develop three permit-level designs and six preliminary designs for projects; 4) develop a “Story Map” to visually convey information about the plan and how people can be river stewards; and 5) conduct up interactive community “walkshops” about nature in the neighborhood and environmental justice.

Planning for Greening the Yellow Mill Channel on the Bridgeport Waterfront (CT) (73400)

Grantee: Trust for Public Land

Project Location: City of Bridgeport, CT

LISFF Grant: $120,509
Grantee Matching Funds:
Total Conservation Impact:

Develop an alternatives analysis about the type of green infrastructure for a site prioritized in the City of Bridgeport’s Waterfront Master Plan, Bridgeport.  Project will set the stage for improving water quality and enhancing community resilience to storms and floods in an urban coastal community of Long Island Sound.

The Trust for Public Land will analyze green infrastructure alternatives at Yellow Mill Channel a 27.7-acre site that feeds directly into Long Island Sound in Bridgeport, CT .  While the quality of local waters is poor due to combined sewer overflows, stormwater runoff, and flooding, the area hosts valuable coastal habitat for fish and shorebirds.  Although 70% of Bridgeport’s waterfront is currently inaccessible, most of it is publicly owned or controlled, providing ample opportunity for increasing public access and enhancing coastal resilience, sustainability, and environmental justice. Parcels along the banks of Yellow Mill Channel, including Waterview Park, are already priorities for smart development in the City of Bridgeport Waterfront Master Plan.  This project will address these problems and priorities with designs that incorporate nature-based resilience and green infrastructure features and advance preferred alternatives in tandem with the community and City.  Project activities: 1) prepare an alternatives analysis considering how to set-the-stage for replacing gray areas with green features; 2) support a participatory design process engaging households and businesses within a ten -minute walk of Waterview Park; and 3) conduct meetings in concert with a community-based Waterfront Advisory Board as a forum for public review and comment. The project will move the needle towards greening the waterfront and increasing access for residents and visitors.

Improving Water Quality with Green Infrastructure and Multilingual Community Outreach (CT) (73370)

Grantee: Housatonic Valley Association

Project Area: Western Connecticut: Washington, New Milford, and Danbury, CT

LISFF Grant Funds: $86,640
Grantee Matching Funds: $58,471
Total Conservation Impact:

Install rain gardens at five Housatonic Habitat for Humanity homes and one community facility and conduct multilingual education about green infrastructure in western Connecticut. Project will showcase attractive landscaping that improves water quality and actions individuals can take to contribute to healthier local waters and Long Island Sound.

Housatonic Valley Association will collaborate with Habitat for Humanity to install rain garden green infrastructure at five homes and one community facility in Danbury, New Milford, and Washington, CT. The Still River flows through these communities to the Housatonic River and Long Island Sound.  In Danbury, for example, approximately 18.5 percent of land is comprised of impervious surfaces (pavements, roofs). Stormwater runoff from these impervious areas plays a role in nitrogen pollution causing dead zones in the Sound.  In these communities there is often also an overlap between Environmental Justice areas and high nitrogen pollution.  Green infrastructure, such as rain gardens, is a nature-based solution to prevent pollution.  Adding to these challenges are language barriers. The 2019 American Community Survey found 44 percent of Danbury residents spoke a language other than English at home. Many materials are in English and may not reach people who speak other languages. Despite the ease and low cost of installing rain gardens, the pace is slow and may be partially attributed to a lack of knowledge about benefits. Activities: 1) design/install rain gardens working with homeowners; 2) use the rain gardens showing attractive landscaping that improves water quality; 3) develop/deliver multilingual outreach in partnership with Corazón Latino about individual actions that contribute to a healthier waters in Danbury; and 4) engage 100 volunteers in installation and maintenance.

From Rain Gardens to Riparian Buffers: Pollinator Pathways for Healthy Watersheds (CT) (73332)

Grantee:  Eastern Connecticut Conservation District

Project Area: A pathway including the Town and City of Groton, Stonington, Ledyard and Preston, CT

LISFF Grant Funds: $136,160
Grantee Matching Funds:
Total Conservation Impact:

Install rain gardens and riparian waterway buffers along two pollinator pathways through Groton, Stonington, Ledyard and Preston. Project will engage 6,400 community members with educational workshops, create habitat for native pollinators, and improve the quality of waters flowing into Long Island Sound.

The Eastern Connecticut Conservation District will develop rain gardens and riparian waterway buffers as pathways to improve water quality, provide food for pollinators and offer education about how to reduce common sources of pollution at home and in communities in Groton, Stonington, Ledyard and Preston. The Thames River watershed in the eastern portion of Long Island Sound and the project area, has poor water quality which does not support aquatic life, recreation, or shellfish consumption. More than 85 percent of flowering plants require an insect for pollination of fruit, seed and crops which are a part of the diet of about 25 percent of birds, many mammals, and humans. Green infrastructure such as rain gardens and riparian buffers reduces pollution into local waters and provides food for pollinators like butterflies.  Project activities: 1) install riparian buffers along waterways totaling 5,000 ft., and install four rain gardens totaling 2,800 ft. at public and private sites in each town; 3) hold workshops and distribute educational materials about pollinators, rain gardens and riparian buffers as well as lawn care to reduce fertilizers and pesticides, maintenance of home septic systems, how to address the problem of pet waste, and pollution-reducing car maintenance reaching 6,400 people; and 5) engage 250 volunteers to install the buffers and gardens.  The project will increase appreciation of the environment of the Sound.

Community-driven Stormwater Green Infrastructure Design in Bridgeport (CT) (73323)

Grantee:  The Nature Conservancy

Project Area: Downtown, East Side, The Hollow, South End, West Side and surrounding the West Side Water Pollution Control Facility, Bridgeport, CT

LISFF Grant Funds: $174,363
Grantee Matching Funds:
Total Conservation Impact:

Develop a Green Stormwater Infrastructure Action Plan with community-driven participatory design in Bridgeport. Project will identify a portfolio of project designs in collaboration with Bridgeport youth and local community members to improve water quality of Long Island Sound.

The Nature Conservancy will develop green stormwater infrastructure project designs in collaboration with community members and local organizations in Bridgeport, CT. Bridgeport’s stormwater and wastewater treatment has an impact on the water quality of Long Island Sound. Bridgeport has struggled with the age and capacity of its infrastructure to treat stormwater. During heavy rains, combined sewer overflows cause untreated sewage and stormwater to discharge into local waterways and the Sound. Bridgeport’s West Side Water Pollution Control Facility is designing upgrades to improve water quality. While this “grey” infrastructure upgrade helps, coupling it with green stormwater infrastructure in neighborhoods surrounding the Facility will further reduce flooding, enhance community aesthetics, and reduce water pollution. Project activities: 1) collaborate with community members and organizations to identify preferred places for green bioswales and bioretention; 2) field assessments of 60 locations for the green infrastructure led by a community crew leader and local volunteers;  3) work with five community and arts organizations to deliver environmental education about local issues and the Sound and through hands-on experiences; and 4) prepare a Story Map to present all aspects of plan development, and conduct workshops overall aiming to reach 25,000 residents.  The plan will represent the highest impact projects in terms of community and water quality value.

Quanaduck Cove Residential Green Infrastructure Project (CT) (73448)

Grantee:  Eastern Connecticut Conservation District

Project Area: Quanaduck Cove, Quanaduck Cove Court Condominiums, Stonington, CT

LISFF Grant Funds: $59,493
Grantee Matching Funds:
Total Conservation Impact:

Install green infrastructure and apply other stormwater management tools at a coastal condominium complex, Quanaduck Cove, Stonington.  Project will prevent 43,560 gallons of stormwater pollution from entering Stonington Harbor and Long Island Sound annually.

The Eastern Connecticut Conservation District will install 335 sq. ft. of green infrastructure and apply other stormwater management tools at a condominium complex at Quanaduck Cove, Stonington.  Quanaduck Cove suffers from poor water quality due to nitrogen pollution from stormwater runoff.  When rain falls on paved surfaces like roofs and streets, it cannot soak into the ground and flows into waterbodies. The Quanaduck Cove Court Condominiums is located next to a pond that discharges stormwater runoff into the Cove, Stonington Harbor and Long Island Sound. This nitrogen pollution contributes to dead zones, and declining marine life in the Sound. Green infrastructure captures nitrogen and prevents pollution. Project activities: 1) enhance 4,000 sq ft of riparian pond shoreline removing non-native plants and planting native vegetation to capture stormwater and deter geese; 2) install 4 rain gardens and 20 downspout planters to capture stormwater runoff from roofs and driveways; 3) engage resident volunteers to assist with the projects; 4) consult with the lawn care provider to reduce fertilizer use; 5) create signs and conduct events about green infrastructure for 500 stormwater professionals, complex managers and associations, residents and the public; and 6) produce a Multi-Unit Residential Stormwater Management Guide to support maintenance.  The project will create a demonstration site of nature-based solutions to address water pollution.


Renovate to Restore Fish Passage at the Jordan Millpond Dam Fishway (CT) (73344)

Grantee: Town of Waterford

Project Area:  Jordan Brook, Waterford, CT

LISFF Grant Funds: $60,000
Grantee Matching Funds:
Total Conservation Impact:

Renovate a damaged fishway to restore fish passage at Jordan Millpond dam, Waterford.  The project will reconnect 2.75 miles of river corridor benefiting alewives that migrate between rivers and Long Island Sound.

The Town of Waterford will repair a damaged fishway to restore fish passage re-opening 2.75 miles of riverine migratory corridor and 13 acres of pond at Jordan Millpond Dam, Jordan Brook, Waterford.  Riverine migratory corridors are river systems that drain to Long Island Sound. Migratory fish like alewives use these rivers as nurseries to produce the next generation and then the juvenile fish travel through the Sound to mature in the Atlantic Ocean.  Alewives are “prey” for marine species like harbor seals and striped bass as well as food for inland species like owls and black bass.  A fishway installed at the Jordan Millpond dam was damaged in a hurricane in 2019 preventing alewives from migrating to and from the Sound.  Project activities: 1) remove the damaged fishway; and 2) replace the damaged fishway with a donated one from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. This project will restore the run of alewives to upstream waters in the eight square mile watershed and increase the population of alewives in Long Island Sound.

Restoring Fish Passage at the Upper Mill Pond Dam (CT) (73299)

Grantee:  Town of Clinton

Project Area: Upper Mill Pond Dam, Indian River, Clinton, CT

LISFF Grant Funds: $58,850
Grantee Matching Funds:
Total Conservation Impact:

Develop a plan to install a fishway at the Upper Mill Pond Dam, Clinton, CT.  Project will set the stage to restore access to 5.2 miles of riverine corridor for river herring and American eel spawning and migration to Long Island Sound.

The Town of Clinton will prepare a permit-ready engineered design to install a fishway at the Upper Mill Pond Dam, Clinton, CT.  The dam is the first dam on the Indian River and blocks migration upstream to a 22-acre cold-water impoundment that provides excellent spawning and nursey habitat. The cycle of life for river herring, also known as alewives and blueback herring, begin with their birth in freshwater like the Indian River. 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.  Project activities: 1) conduct field analysis and hydraulics and hydraulic assessment of the area; 2) prepare engineered designs setting the stage to install a fishway which allows fish and other species like American eel to surmount the dam; 3) educate sixty-five residents about the project in an informational meeting and prepare a sign about the fish and their connection to the river and the Sound.  Ultimately the fishway will be part of a stream-side walking trail with opportunities for public viewing of the fish passing along Indian River.  Based on the quality of the habitat, the corridor could in future support an annual run of river herring 100,000 strong.

Planning for Fish-Friendly and Flood Resilient Road-Stream Crossings in the Naugatuck Valley-II (CT) (73419)

Grantee: Save the Sound

Project Area:  Bethany, Prospect and Thomaston, Naugatuck River Valley, CT

LISFF Grant Funds: $109,618
Grantee Matching Funds: $73,371
Total Conservation Impact: $182,989

Create six Road-Stream Crossing Management Plans for towns with historic runs of fish that spend portions of their life partially in fresh water and partially in salt water in the Naugatuck Valley watershed. Project will be developed in concert with each town and serve as a basis for securing financing for future road-stream crossing replacement projects to benefit these communities and fisheries of the watersheds and Long Island Sound.

Save the Sound will work collaboratively with three towns to identify six highest priority restoration projects at town-managed road-stream crossing structures (e.g., culverts) based on conservation value, reducing flood risk and minimal maintenance in the Naugatuck Valley.  The number of road-stream crossings in the Valley is large affecting historic runs of fish between Long Island Sound and upstream waters.  Road-stream crossings can be more vulnerable to flood damage, often require more frequent maintenance, and can block movement of fish and wildlife.  Road-Stream Crossing Management Plans to be developed in this project provide a robust approach to identify the best replacement projects and for building local capacity to design and deliver those projects.  Project activities: 1) prepare a comprehensive culvert inventory based upon flood damage risk, climate change scenarios, and their potential to reconnect and restore important habitat; 2) establish priorities for replacement projects developed in collaboration with each town and key stakeholders; and 3) develop preliminary design and implementation strategies for replacing priority structures.  The project will demonstrate the co-benefit of restoring these crossings for fish and wildlife and increasing community resilience to floods.

Shell Recycling Planning to Restore Long Island Sound Oyster Reefs and Shorelines (CT) (73230)

Grantee: University of Connecticut

Project Area:  Groton-Mystic, CT

LISFF Grant Funds: $155,900
Grantee Matching Funds:
Total Conservation Impact:

Develop a local shell recycling program in Groton and Mystic, CT. Project will engage local restaurants to generate shell for future habitat restoration projects around Long Island Sound. 

University of Connecticut will develop a program and collect, and stockpile recycled shell for oyster reef and other coastal restoration projects in Groton and Mystic, Connecticut.  Beneath the waters along the rocky coast and sandy shoals of Long Island Sound oyster reefs stabilize shorelines, buffer waves, create habitat for marine life, and food for people. New oysters which grow on top of oyster shells are the foundation of reefs. Currently very few shells of oysters harvested for human consumption are returned to the Sound. The loss of shell diminishes the chance to establish self-sustaining populations of wild oysters and support coastal restoration projects. This project will generate shells for restoration serving as a model for other towns. Project activities: 1) deliver education about the program with a website and social media, informational events and webinars for residents of Groton, professional groups and others to discuss the state of our shorelines, shellfish restoration activities, and shellfish recycling;  2) conduct workshops for restaurant owners and others who engage in shellfish sales for human consumption to present the concept of shell recycling, explain its benefits and receive feedback about a new program; 3) recruit members to form the Southeastern Connecticut Shell Recycling Coalition; and 4) develop a Shell Recycling Plan to address the needs of a range of restaurants and plan for program  structure and financing long-term.

Restoring the Headwaters of Sasco Brook to Improve the Health of Downstream Long Island Sound (CT) (73514)

Grantee:  Connecticut Audubon Society

Project Area:  Roy and Margot Larsen Wildlife Sanctuary in the Town of Fairfield, CT

LISFF Grant Funds: $147,388
Grantee Matching Funds:
Total Conservation Impact:

Restore 14.5 acres of coastal forest and meadow at the Roy and Margot Larsen Wildlife Sanctuary in Fairfield, CT. Project improve the environment of coastal forest an important habitat of Long Island Sound.

Connecticut Audubon Society will restore 14.5-acres of coastal forest and meadow at the Roy and Margot Larsen Wildlife Sanctuary in Fairfield, CT. Located near the headwaters of Sasco Brook, the 160-acre Larsen Sanctuary is a haven for birds and other wildlife and contributes significantly to the health of downstream habitats flowing to Long Island Sound. Its ponds host ducks migrating in fall and attract Eastern phoebes and Eastern bluebirds in spring.  It is a home for winter wren and hermit thrush in winter and habitat for rare species such as wood thrush and scarlet tanager. It is also one of the largest and most popular open space areas in the town of Fairfield.  In natural areas throughout Connecticut, invasive plants have diminished the viability of habitats. These plants have no value to birds or other wildlife. At the Larsen Sanctuary, invasives have overwhelmed native plants. Several of its ponds are also filling with sediment reducing a corridor for fish migrating from Sasco Brook to the Sound. Activities: 1) remove invasives, replant with natives, and install deer fencing; 2) repair a culvert to improve water flow, deepen a pond and replant the edge with native vegetation. Deepening will improve connectivity to waters that feed the Sound and benefit American eel, pickerel, and bass; 3) engage 235 volunteers in restoration stewardship activities; and 4) educate 63,000 people about the project, Larsen Sanctuary, and its value to the Sound.

Creating Thriving Habitats for the Coastal Birds of Long Island Sound-VIII (CT) (73352)

Grantee: Connecticut Audubon Society

Project Area:  Long Island Sound Coastline of Connecticut

LISFF Grant: $105,809
Grantee Matching Funds:
Total Conservation Impact:

Provide education and deliver targeted stewardship of American oystercatcher and other migratory shorebirds and habitat along the Long Island Sound coastline of Connecticut. Project will increase public awareness about the value of sharing the shore with birds among recreational users and reduce disturbance to the birds’ breeding and roosting sites on the Sound.

Connecticut Audubon Society will build awareness and engage beachgoers, boaters, local government, and residents with the aim of reducing disturbance to nesting and migrating shorebirds such as the American oystercatcher, piping plover and terns along 905 acres of Connecticut’s Long Island Sound shoreline. Human disturbance to nesting and foraging bird habitat on popular beaches has a negative impact on iconic Connecticut coastal bird species.  The project will engage people who enjoy and government who manage shorelines to be ongoing players in shorebird protection.  Project activities: 1) conduct friendly interactions with beachgoers about sharing the shore with the birds; 2) deliver 20 green summer jobs through programs like Wildlife Guards where urban youth from Bridgeport steward Pleasure Beach and Sandy Point; 3) engage 300 volunteers installing signs and fencing to protect high priority nesting sites; 4) partner with and expand outreach working with Connecticut’s Environmental Conservation Police Ranger Program, Boating Division and Fisheries Division; and 5) educate 5,000 members of the public about this program. The project will increase support for coastal conservation and engage people in actions that help shorebirds thrive in important coastal habitats of the Sound. 


Resilience and Sustainability Plan for the Mystic Waterfront (CT) (73368)

Grantee: Town of Groton, CT

Project Area: Town of Groton, CT

LISFF Grant Funds: $90,000
Grantee Matching Funds:
Total Conservation Impact:

Develop a resiliency and sustainability plan for Mystic, CT.  Project will create a strategy to address sea-level rise and climate change in this coastal community of Long Island Sound.

The Town of Groton will prepare a comprehensive resiliency and sustainability plan for downtown Mystic, CT.  Mystic is a low-lying seaside town on the Mystic River which flows into Long Island Sound. The name “Mystic” is derived from the Pequot term “missi-tuk” which describes a large river whose waters are driven into waves by tides or wind.  Downtown Mystic is densely populated and has dozens of local businesses, historic homes and infrastructure mostly constructed long before FEMA Flood Zone and National Flood Insurance regulations.  The town expects to experience 20” in sea level rise by 2050 and higher levels in the years to follow. With all of Mystic’s watershed area discharging directly into the Sound it is imperative to fully understand how to protect critical human and natural infrastructure.  Equally important to the planning process will be to create an open dialog with the public and businesses to produce a formal plan that can guide policy and budgeting in the decades to come. Project activities: 1) assess historic records and reports, and conduct site visits, photographic surveys and interviews with residents and businesses to collect information; 2) engage with Connecticut state departments to coordinate infrastructure assessments; 3) identify the natural, man-made, topographic, stormwater and floodplain areas; and past flooding and storm events; and 4) evaluate potential impacts on those resources and prepare a plan to address them.

Stewardship of Great Meadows Marsh on Long Island Sound by Urban Youth (CT) (73511)

Grantee: National Audubon Society, Inc. (Audubon Connecticut)

Project Area: Great Meadows Marsh, Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, Stratford, CT

LISFF Grant Funds: $59,742
Grantee Matching Funds:
Total Conservation Impact:

Employ urban youth to restore habitat at Great Meadows Marsh, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, Stratford, CT.   The project will result in stewardship activities that improve marsh hydrology, increase species diversity and the diversity of future conservation professionals; and enhance public education focused on this important coastal habitat of Long Island Sound.

National Audubon Society (Audubon Connecticut) will employ low-income urban youth as “Saltmarsh Stewards” in “green jobs” to restore Great Meadows marsh at Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, Connecticut.  Great Meadows is Connecticut’s largest, intact salt marsh and home to many native plants and wildlife.  With marsh, beach, ponds, and tidal flats the marsh is a very special natural area of Long Island Sound. Trails provide access to public shoreline for residents from nearby populated places to enjoy the outdoors. Great Meadows once 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. To better restore places like Great Marsh, it is important to engage a diverse range of people from surrounding communities. The project will address marsh loss and degradation and offer community benefits by 1) providing paid employment after-school to 10 urban youth in projects such as planting native coastal vegetation; 2) delivering green jobs training about habitat restoration; 3) engaging 85 residents in restoration volunteer days; and 4) educating 500 people about the marsh at community events.  Great Meadows marsh restored to healthy condition will buffer communities from sea-level rise, enhance habitat for species, provide green spaces for people, and offer an experience for young people to develop job skills while stewarding the local environment.

Citizen Opportunities for Accessing Science Training on the Sound (COASTS) (CT) (73438)

Grantee:  University of New Haven

Project Area: New Haven and West Haven, CT

LISFF Grant Funds: $74,215
Grantee Matching Funds:
Total Conservation Impact:

Deliver community environmental training and education about the marine environment of Long Island Sound in New Haven and West Haven, CT. Project will equip community members with knowledge to share about their “blue backyard” of local waters and Long Island Sound.

University of New Haven will deliver a training program and community education about the marine environment of Long Island Sound in New Haven and West Haven, CT.  These communities are faced with environmental inequality. New Haven is 20th (out of 169) and West Haven 23rd on the 2020 list of Distressed Municipalities in Connecticut.  For educators working in cities that experience environmental inequality, four main barriers to effective environmental education are a lack of: 1) consistency in that education; 2) funding, opportunity, and time; 3) teacher training; and 4) a perceived lack of student interest. Low-income youth may perceive a lack of representation in the individuals and curriculum associated with environmental education. Low-income communities face challenges creating and maintaining informal environmental education programs. Project activities: 1) train 20 community members as “COASTers” attending a comprehensive course taught by experts and becoming acquainted with field skills for understanding ecology, water quality, flora, and fauna. The course will cover the human dimensions of coastal management and strategies for communicating science to the public; 2) conduct community education programs and teacher training workshops reaching 200 people. The programs will be held along the Sound and focus on the science and conservation of it; and 3) a conference of presentations, lessons learned, successes and challenges and future program direction.

Partnering with Communities in Urban Waters to Enhance Stewardship of Long Island Sound (CT)(73357)

Grantee: Southwest Conservation District

Project Location: State-wide Connecticut

LISFF Grant: $90,415 Grantee Matching Funds: $60,000 Total Conservation Impact: $150,415

Collaborate with five Conservation Districts in internal environmental justice training; and partner with environmental justice communities to identify five water quality projects of value locally and to Long Island Sound, Connecticut. Project will increase awareness and understanding of diversity, equity, and environmental justice issues, increase capacity for future water quality project work, and enhance stewardship of local waters.

Southwest Conservation District will collaborate with four Conservation Districts in internal environmental justice training; and partner with environmental justice communities to identify five water quality projects of value locally and to Long Island Sound, Connecticut.  As population and development increased in the state, water resources were degraded, and people disconnected from rivers and waterbodies like the Sound.  These negative impacts have been more extensive and unequally distributed in urban communities.  Conservation Districts were established to offer technical assistance to farmers, municipalities, and watershed organizations to restore local waters. Each District has a geographic service area and within each there are Distressed Municipalities often facing significant environmental problems.  The project will increase awareness and capacity in the districts to build new connections with these communities long-term focused first on water quality. Activities: 1) identify 303(d) impaired waters and Distressed and Affordable Housing Communities for each District; 2) increase capacity to deliver programs with help from an equity expert and workshops to enhance internal organizational structure; 3) develop a plan for early engagement with inclusive community outreach workshops to gain insights about resident concerns and priorities; and 4) work with communities to identify/design/implement preferred projects engaging volunteers in local stewardship activities.

Engaging Student Citizen Scientists for Long Island Sound-V (CT) (73442)

Grantee:  Earthplace – The Nature Discovery Center, Inc.

Project Area: Westport and Norwalk, Fairfield County, CT

LISFF Grant Funds: $52,614
Grantee Matching Funds: 
Total Conservation Impact:

Engage 92 student citizen scientists in six field and laboratory-based experiential learning programs about water quality and Long Island Sound ecology using rivers, harbors, and the Sound as outdoor classrooms, and make public presentations about their activities at public events in Fairfield County, CT. Project will empower the next generation of environmental stewards and improve public knowledge and understanding of the Sound.

Earthplace – The Nature Discovery Center, Inc. will expose students to careers in conservation science and improve student and public knowledge about the environment of Long Island Sound in Fairfield County, CT.  The Sound is a valuable local resource affected by pollution from surrounding land and waters. The project seeks to establish a connection between individual actions and environmental improvements.  The project operates out of a laboratory, at water quality monitoring field sites located on local waterways, and aboard a research vessel. Project activities: (1) engage students attending Bridgeport high school in discussion groups and  hands-on learning opportunities in the Bridgeport River Research Program; 2) provide college students with field experience about water quality monitoring in the Summer River Undergraduate and Summer Harbor Undergraduate Internships; 3) provide high school students with the opportunity to learn how to conduct fish monitoring aboard a boat in the Summer Fish Study; and 5) students will present information about the projects to the public at a fall Virtual River Research Program.  This project will teach green jobs skills including using field instruments and methods to collect and analyze water quality data increasing awareness of environmental challenges facing the Sound and engage students in future efforts to protect and restore it.

Sound Science and Inclusive Management

Water Quality Monitoring to Improve Fairfield County Waterways and Long Island Sound-VII (CT) (73257)

Grantee: Earthplace – The Nature Discovery Center

Project Location: Twenty-one rivers and three harbors that feed Long Island Sound in Fairfield County, CT

LISFF Funds: $99,964 Grantee Matching Funds: $98,943 Total Conservation Impact: $198,907

Conduct water quality monitoring to help improve waters affected by pollution in Fairfield County, CT. The water quality data collected through this project will be used to inform local government actions to reduce sewage pollution into Long Island Sound.

Earthplace – The Nature Discovery Center, Inc. will conduct water quality monitoring in 21 waterways and report results to 13 towns who then will be able to use this information to directly address pollution local rivers, brooks and streams in Fairfield County, CT.  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 beaches are safe for swimming.  Most importantly, the water quality monitoring directly enhances management of the Sound and its surrounding local waters.  Project activities: 1) conduct testing for multiple pollution sources including bacteria dissolved oxygen, conductivity (or salinity, for tidal sites), and temperature; 2) track-down locations with elevated bacteria concentrations; 3) partner with local government to ensure the prompt correction of any pollution problems; 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.

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