Water quality projects to improve Long Island Sound

Nov. 12, 2010
NEW YORK, NY, Nov. 12, 2010 -- The Long Island Sound Futures Fund will provide $2,444,696 in grants to state and local governments and community groups to restore the health of the Long Island Sound...

• More than $2.4 million awarded for community-based projects to improve health and vitality of Long Island Sound; Supports education and stewardship, improves water quality, restores and protects rivers and beaches

NEW YORK, NY, Nov. 12, 2010 -- The Long Island Sound Futures Fund will provide $2,444,696 in grants to state and local governments and community groups to restore the health of the Long Island Sound. The Sound Futures Fund is financed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and FedEx. It supports innovative projects that restore and protect the Sound. The 38 grant recipients will contribute an additional $4.4 million, providing nearly $6.8 million for conservation projects in Connecticut and New York.

For a list of grant recipients, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region2/water/nep/ (Scroll down to Long Island Sound Study).

"A healthy Long Island Sound is critical to the lives of millions of people who live along its shores," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck. " The grants announced today will fund vital projects to improve water quality, protect people's health, and remove pollution from the Long Island Sound watershed."

"EPA and many other organizations have shown a long-term commitment to protecting and restoring Long Island Sound," said Curt Spalding, Regional Administrator of EPA's New England office. "This year's funding of projects throughout communities in the Long Island Sound watershed will help accomplish important advances in our work to improve the ecological health of the Sound."

Long Island Sound is an estuary where salt water from the sea meets fresh water from rivers and streams. It provides economic and recreational benefits to millions of people, while also providing natural habitats for more than 1,200 invertebrates, 170 species of fish, and dozens of species of migratory birds.

The Sound Futures Fund was created in 2005 by the Long Island Sound Study, a cooperative effort between EPA and the states of Connecticut and New York to protect and restore the Sound and its ecosystem. To date, the program has provided $6.9 million to 176 projects in communities surrounding the Sound. With matching funds of $16 million from grant recipients, more than $22 million has been invested in local conservation. Through projects funded through the Sound Future's Fund, 68 river miles are being opened up for fish passage, and more than 400 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat have been restored and acquired. This habitat includes lakes, underwater grasses, woodlands, meadows, wetlands, beaches, dunes and parks.

Grant recipients will use the funding for projects that provide important benefits to people, fish and wildlife. These include:

• Restoration of nearly 100 acres of underwater grass, corridors along streams and coastal forest
• Acquisition of 17.4 acres of wetlands, grasslands and coastal forest
• Four fish passage projects along Connecticut rivers that will restore historic access for native fish such as river herring and American eel
• Eelgrass bed restoration projects in New York and Connecticut
• Introduction of green infrastructure practices to reduce stormwater runoff into Conscience Bay
• Catch basins that will remove pollution from storm drains in Mamaroneck
• A half-acre rain garden to capture highway, boat ramp and parking lot runoff on the Housatonic River in Connecticut
• Educational projects geared toward young people

"Our success in wildlife conservation is directly tied to our work with partners," said Northeast Regional Director Marvin Moriarty of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "For one of this year's projects, Audubon New York will work with landowners to protect beach-nesting birds like the least tern and the threatened piping plover. This partnership with landowners increases our ability to work effectively on the ground in the Long Island Sound area, just as our work with the Long Island Sound Futures Fund increases our ability to leverage our resources for the benefit of fish and wildlife."

"One of the greatest environmental challenges facing our communities is the protection and restoration of estuaries," said Thomas Kelsch, Director, Conservation Programs, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. "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 the Long Island Sound."

"From restoring habitat to reducing pollution to promoting public awareness, these grants will help make tangible improvements in the health of Long Island Sound. In addition, the grants ensure the continued involvement of all the community groups and local governments that are so crucial to the state and federal governments' efforts here. Congratulations and continued success to all of the applicants," stated Peter A. Scully, Regional Director, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 1.

"Connecticut DEP is excited to be a partner in the Long Island Sound Study, and to work with our neighbors in New York as well as the EPA, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA to preserve and protect Long Island Sound," said Connecticut DEP Commissioner Amey Marrella. "This year, nearly $1.6 million in Long Island Sound Futures Funds grants are being awarded to 21 important Connecticut projects. These projects will build on our efforts to protect and improve the health of Long Island Sound by fostering improved water quality, habitat restoration, coastal stewardship and open space preservation, and also watershed-based planning, public awareness and education."

A nonprofit established by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) sustains, restores and enhances the Nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Through investments with public and private partners, NFWF is dedicated to achieving maximum impact by developing and applying best practices and innovative methods for measurable outcomes. Since its establishment, it has awarded over 10,800 grants to more than 3,700 organizations in the United States and abroad and leveraged -- with its partners -- more than $635 million in federal funds into more than $1.5 billion for on-the-ground conservation. For more information, visit www.nfwf.org.

More information:
- Long Island Sound Study and Futures Fund (www.longislandsoundstudy.net)
- National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (www.nfwf.org)


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