Grantee: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County
Project Area: Marine waters of Long Island Sound in Connecticut and New York
LISFF Grant Funds: $115,841Grantee Matching Funds: $77,095Total Conservation Impact: $192,936
Remove derelict lobster pots from 18 square miles of marine waters in Connecticut and New York. Project will collect 43.5 metric tons of marine debris from the seafloor of Long Island Sound.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County will work with lobstermen to remove derelict lobster pots in New York (NY); and build-on a successful removal program from NY working with the Maritime Aquarium in Connecticut. During the height of the Long Island Sound’s lobster fishery there were over 400,000 pots fished annually. The lobster die-off, in 1998 and 1999, resulted in upwards of an estimated 1,357,290 abandoned pots. Derelict lobster gear damages sensitive marine environments and results in entanglement and death of marine species. This project is well-established operating over 10 years using a specialized grapple system and now a sonar system to site and remove the pots. To date, the program has removed 19,000 traps at an estimated weight of 431.8 metric tons. Project activities: 1) previously focused on the central Long Island Sound, collection efforts involving lobstermen will now occur in the western Sound in Oyster Bay estimated to have 700 derelict traps; 2) deploy the NY program in Connecticut with training and transfer of knowledge through directed derelict gear removal trips; 3) return pots to owners or recycle them; and 4) evaluate differences in condition and location of lobster gear in the two states and develop a shared removal strategies. The project will reclaim important marine habitat and fishing grounds in Long Island Sound.
Grantee: Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
Project Area: The Connecticut River Basin, Long Island Sound watershed, Vermont
LISFF Grant Funds: $210,456 Grantee Matching Funds: $140,164
Total Conservation Impact: $350,620
Create water resource maps and provide education about the mapping tool in the Connecticut River Basin, Vermont. Project will inform development of targeted local nitrogen pollution prevention projects in wetlands at a watershed and site-scale.
The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation will produce water resource maps and educate potential users about using the maps to guide prioritization of nitrogen prevention projects in wetlands across 3,932 square miles of the Connecticut River Basin in the Long Island Sound watershed, Vermont. Nitrogen transported to the Sound from Vermont waterways causes algal blooms, dead zones, and declining marine life downstream. Wetland restoration is a nature-based solution to capture nitrogen and prevent pollution. While individual wetlands are sometimes small, but their restoration has been found to reduce total nitrogen runoff upwards of 59 percent. Understanding of spatial extent and characteristics of wetlands in this basin is crucial to improving water quality. Project activities: 1) produce high quality National Wetlands Inventory Plus (NWI+) level maps; 2) prepare detailed wetland, river, lakes and pond mapping with detailed information on landform, land cover, and water source which may be used to predict the main functions of the water features; 3) conduct field-review of the accuracy of the mapping; and 4) conduct outreach to 200+ entities including landowners, government and nongovernmental organizations about the utility of the maps to inform their clean water project siting.
Grantee: Vermont Association of Conservation Districts
Project Area: Connecticut River Basin, Vermont
LISFF Grant Funds: $203,199Grantee Matching Funds: $134,111Total Conservation Impact: $337,310
Design wetlands restoration projects in agricultural fields in Vermont’s Connecticut River Basin. Project will result in designs to ultimately restore freshwater wetlands and reduce nitrogen pollution runoff from farms into the Connecticut River and downstream to Long Island Sound.
The Vermont Association of Conservation Districts will work with four Natural Resources Conservation Districts (NRCDs) and agricultural producers to design nine high-value pocket wetland (.35 to 1.8 acre) restoration projects in the Connecticut River Basin, Long Island Sound watershed, Vermont. The land along Vermont’s Connecticut River contains prime agricultural soils. The land was historically ditched or filled for crops resulting in a loss of floodplain wetlands essential for capturing runoff from fertilizers into local waterways. Approximately 21 percent of the nitrogen that the state contributes to the Sound originates from agricultural sources and farms are the largest land-based source of nitrogen to its waters. Nitrogen transported downstream to the Sound causes algal blooms, dead zones, and declining marine life. While these individual wetlands are small, their restoration has been found to reduce total nitrogen runoff from farms by 59 percent. This project builds off assessments of 14 subbasins of the Connecticut River which identified and prioritized the best potential project sites to reduce pollution. Project activities: 1) train and support the NRCDs in project design; 2) conduct outreach to local agricultural producers in four NRCDs geography; and 3) develop nine site plans for pocket wetland restoration to reduce nitrogen pollution from farms. This project will set-the-stage for on-the-ground site restoration.
Grantee: Connecticut River Conservancy
Project Area: Connecticut River Basin, Long Island Sound Watershed, Vermont
LISFF Grant Funds: $250,000Grantee Matching Funds: $168,000Total Conservation Impact: $418,000
Conduct outreach and deliver technical assistance to private landowners in Connecticut River watershed, Vermont. Project will develop designs for projects to reduce nitrogen pollution into the Connecticut River downstream to Long Island Sound.
The Connecticut River Conservancy will develop a suite of nature-based nitrogen prevention project designs working with landowners in the Connecticut River watershed, Vermont. The Connecticut River in Vermont contributes approximately 1,505 tons of nitrogen annually to Long Island Sound. For example, approximately 45 percent of the nitrogen occurs in spring when ice melt and high flows cause riverbank erosion, especially on farms with little protective riparian vegetation buffers between fields and the high spring flows. This excess nitrogen transported downstream to the Sound causes algal blooms, dead zones, and declining marine life. Project activities: 1) prioritize outreach based on the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation basin plans, which identify how much nitrogen export to the Sound comes from each sub-watershed basin and the amount by agricultural source (e.g., farm fertilizers, manure); 2) conduct outreach to determine interest in and provide technical assistance for project design to 180 landowners partnering with the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps and Audubon Vermont; and 3) create 18 designs for projects using strategies like riparian and forested buffer and channel bank vegetation enhancement, stream channel reconnection to floodplains and wetlands etc. The project will set-the-stage to implement projects that reduce downstream nitrogen into the Sound.