Norwalk, CT -- Top federal and state environmental officials today announced 23 grants totaling $1,295,972 to local government and community groups in Connecticut and New York to improve the health of Long Island Sound. The projects, which are funded through the Long Island Sound Futures Fund, will open up 12.2 river miles for passage of native fish and restore 50 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat including intertidal marsh, coastal forest, grasslands and freshwater wetlands. More than 989,000 citizens will be reached by environmental and conservation programs supported by the grants. Nearly 600,000 gallons of stormwater will be treated through the development of water pollution control projects. Thirteen grants totaling more than $625,000 will be awarded to groups in Connecticut leveraged by $590,000 from the grantees themselves resulting in $1.2 million in funding for on-the ground, hands-on conservation projects in the state. Three projects totaling $290,000 have an environmental benefit to both Connecticut and New York.
This public-private grant program pools funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Long Island Sound Funders Collaborative.
'Protecting and restoring Long Island Sound have long been priorities for EPA,' said EPA New England Regional Administrator Curt Spalding. 'These grants will support vital and diverse projects throughout the region to improve water quality and remove pollution from the Long Island Sound watershed, and involve the public in the protection of one of the nation's most important natural treasures.'
'This funding represents a sustained commitment to restoration and preservation of the Long Island Sound-one of our region's most precious natural resources. I will continue to fight to ensure Connecticut receives the funding and support it needs to ensure all of our ecosystems remain vibrant and healthy, not only for the health of our environment, but for the enjoyment of future generations to come,' stated Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT).
“One of the greatest environmental challenges facing our communities is the protection and restoration of estuaries,” said Amanda Bassow, director of National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s eastern partnership office. “The funding awarded today represents the Foundation’s continuing commitment, as well as the commitment of our federal and state partners, to further restoration efforts aimed at improving the overall health of Long Island Sound.”
The Long Island Sound Study initiated the Long Island Sound Futures Fund in 2005 through the EPA’s Long Island Sound Office and NFWF. To date, the program has invested $11.7 million in 285 projects in communities surrounding the Sound. With grantee match of $24 million, the Long Island Sound Futures Fund has generated a total of almost $36 million for projects in both states.
“The conservation of local fish and wildlife depends on the communities that share these lands and waters,” said Wendi Weber, director of the northeast regional office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 'We’re pleased to see funding support partnerships with schools, conservation groups and others that will protect our shared natural resources through projects such as restoring waterways used by migratory fish like American eel and shad, improving habitat for the New England cottontail and other young forest wildlife, and teaching students about endangered shorebirds.”
'We appreciate the continued support of the Long Island Sound Future's Fund and all of its partners in helping to protect and enhance Long Island Sound because the Sound is so important to Connecticut's ecology, scenic beauty, the economy, and outdoor recreation opportunities,' said Daniel C. Esty, commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. 'We also appreciate the thoughtfulness and ingenuity behind the grants we are announcing today, as these projects will address many issues critical to the health of Long Island Sound in new and innovative ways.'
As a longtime clam fisherman, rower, and overall outdoor enthusiast, I understand first-hand the need to preserve and protect the precious natural resource that is the Long Island Sound,' said Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4). 'These grants will help make tangible improvements to the health of the Sound, and I look forward to working with our partners at the state and federal level to ensure the continued success of our efforts in the region.'
'The Long Island Sound Funders Collaborative is delighted to provide joint funds towards the ecosystem report card project an innovative tool to be used by communities to foster management and sustainability of the health and living resources of the Sound,' said Jeff Yates, program director for Environment, Fairfield County Community Foundation.
Long Island Sound is an estuary that provides economic and recreational benefits to millions of people, while also providing habitat for more than 1,200 invertebrates, 170 species of fish, and dozens of species of migratory birds. The Long Island Sound Study, developed under the EPA’s National Estuary Program, is a cooperative effort between the EPA and the states of Connecticut and New York to protect and restore the Sound and its ecosystem. To learn more about the LISS, visit www.longislandsoundstudy.net. For full descriptions of the Long Island Sound Futures Fund Grants, visit http://longislandsoundstudy.net/about/grants/lis-futures-fund/.
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) sustains, restores and enhances the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,000 organizations and committed more than $2.1 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.
THIRTEEN LONG ISLAND SOUND FUTURES FUND GRANTS 2013 – CONNECTICUT
HABITAT RESTORATION AND SPECIES CONSERVATION GRANTS
Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency
Removal of Middle Street Dam from the Pequabuck River, Bristol, CT
LISFF Grant (EPA & USFWS): $100,000.00
Grantee Matching Funds: $116,723.00
Groton Open Space Association
Restoring Coastal Forest and New England Cottontail Habitat, Groton, CT
LISFF Grant (EPA & USFWS): $100,000.00
Grantee Matching Funds: $90,675.00
CLEAN WATER GRANTS
University of Connecticut
Using Seaweed (Kelp) to Bioextract Pollution, Thimble Islands, Branford, CT
LISFF Grant (EPA): $88,340.00
Grantee Matching Funds: $51,280.00
The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk
Keeping the Sound Healthy - Stormwater Social Marketing, Norwalk, CT
LISFF Grant (EPA): $34,929.00
Grantee Matching Funds: $35,268.00
Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut
Organic Lawn Care Certificate Program, Waterbury, CT
LISFF Grant (EPA): $25,724.46
Grantee Matching Funds: $26,413.00
National Audubon Society, Connecticut
Urban Oases Wildlife Habitats in New Haven Parks & Schools, City of New Haven, CT
LISFF Grant (EPA): $34,999.80
Grantee Matching Funds: $61,845.00
PLANNING GRANTS – HABITAT RESTORATION, SPECIES CONSERVATION & CLEAN WATER
Sacred Heart University
Restoration of intertidal habitat at Stratford Point, Stratford, CT
LISFF Grant (EPA & FWS): $59,056.00
Grantee Matching Funds: $88,470.00
Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District
Chapman Mill Pond Fishway Design, Menunketesuck River, Clinton/Westbrook, CT
LISFF Grant (EPA & FWS): $36,000.00
Grantee Matching Funds: $15,879.00
Hammonasset Chapter #446, Trout Unlimited
Pages Millpond Fishway Design, Farm River, North Branford and East Haven, CT
LISFF Grant (EPA & FWS): $21,375.00
Grantee Matching Funds: $11,625.00
The Connecticut Fund for the Environment
Housatonic Community College Green Infrastructure Project, Bridgeport, CT
LISFF Grant (EPA): $60,000.00
Grantee Matching Funds: $63,486.00
Housatonic Valley Association
Low Impact Development for Seymour and Oxford, Connecticut, CT
LISFF Grant (EPA): $24,215.00
Grantee Matching Funds: $9,855.00
The Connecticut Fund for the Environment
CFE/Save the Sound Coastal Cleanup Program, Connecticut coastal areas and inland waterways, CT
LISFF Grant (EPA): $10,000.00
Grantee Matching Funds: $9,974.00
WATER QUALITY MONITORING GRANTS
Earthplace - The Nature Discovery Center
Track Down Water Quality Survey of Sasco Brook Estuary, Westport & Fairfield, CT
LISFF Grant (EPA): $31,343.00
Grantee Matching Funds: $10,474.00
PROJECTS BENEFITTING BOTH CT AND NY
University of Maryland
The Long Island Sound Ecosystem Health Report Card System, Long Island Sound Watershed in NY and CT
LISFF Grant (EPA, FWS & LIS Funders Collaborative): $135,568
Grantee Matching Funds: $50,702
The Nature Conservancy
Three Fish Passage Projects in CT and NY, Falls River, Essex, CT, Aspetuck River, Westport, CT and Beaver Brook, Oyster Bay, NY
LISFF Grant (EPA & FWS): $84,935.83
Grantee Matching Funds: $59,797.00
National Audubon Society
Conserving Coastal Birds through Stewardship and Outreach, Bayville, Lattingtown, Oyster Bay, Pelham Bay, NY; &Stonington, West Haven, Silver Sands/Charles Island, Milford Point, Stratford, CT
LISFF Grant (EPA & FWS): $69,744.01
Grantee Matching Funds: $62,286.32