Contact: Jimena Perez-Viscasillas, [email protected]
Stony Brook, NY (April 13, 2023): The Long Island Sound Study (LISS) national estuary program is working with the social science research firm Responsive Management to assess the needs, concerns, and challenges facing underserved populations and vulnerable communities related to their coastal environments. The project is being led by New York Sea Grant on behalf of the LISS, in partnership with Connecticut Sea Grant and the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP).
The project team will be holding a series of conversations with community leaders across Connecticut, and Long Island Sound-adjacent counties in New York State (the Bronx, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester). The exchanges will inform the development of a survey to be administered widely across the region and will focus on local challenges and needs concerning Long Island Sound and its surrounding environment.
The conversations and survey results will identify opportunities for the LISS to adapt its implementation strategies to meet local needs. The results will also help guide the development of the Long Island Sound Community Impact Fund (LISCIF), a new grants program run by Restore America’s Estuaries that will provide financial and technical support to community groups working on local environmental health projects and capacity-building.
In 2019, a small group of LISS partners began exploring and outlining steps to better apply environmental justice principles in the program’s implementation, and an official Environmental Justice Work Group was formed in 2020. One of the necessary steps identified by the team was to determine how the program could better serve its constituents who are members of underserved communities. The work group further identified a need to engage more with smaller community-based groups to better respond to their coastal-related needs and objectives.
The EJ needs assessment is part of a greater ongoing effort from the LISS program and its partners to better connect with the communities in their region, make its programming more relevant and accessible to underserved populations, and enable easier participation in the program’s decision-making process. The project began its exploratory phase in late winter 2023 and is set to begin with community conversations through the spring and summer months and conclude sometime in the fall.
For more information on Long Island Sound Study, visit https://longislandsoundstudy.net/
For more information on New York Sea Grant, visit https://seagrant.sunysb.edu/