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Nearly $1 Million Awarded for Projects to Improve Health of Long Island Sound; Funding for Habitat Restoration, Water Quality and Wildlife Conservation among Initiatives

Release Date: 09/26/2008
Contact Information: John Senn (212) 637-3667, senn.john@epa.gov

(Rye, N.Y.) Gathering near the shores of the Long Island Sound in Westchester County, federal and state environmental officials today announced 35 grants to state and local government and community groups under the Long Island Sound Futures Fund. The $912,994 in grants will be leveraged by $1.4 million raised by the recipients themselves, providing a total of nearly $2.3 million towards on-the-ground conservation in Connecticut and New York.

"The Long Island Sound Futures Fund grew out of a partnership that achieves environmental protection through collaboration and shared resources," said Alan J. Steinberg, Regional Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region 2, which includes New York. "These grants help local experts achieve results that will benefit the Sound and its inhabitants for generations."

“EPA's actions continue to show our lasting commitment to a healthy Long Island Sound,” said Robert Varney, Regional Administrator for EPA’s New England region, which includes Connecticut. "EPA's funding for these important projects, along with the support from other organizations, substantially boosts our efforts to target environmental concerns and take action to protect the Sound.”

The Sound Futures Fund was initiated in 2005 by the Long Island Sound Study through EPA’s Long Island Sound Office and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

This year’s grant program funded 17 grants in New York and 18 grants in Connecticut. Four grants were awarded for habitat restoration; five grants for planning and stewardship; five for education; three for improving water quality and three for conservation of native fish and bird species. Thirteen small grants totaling $68,000 were awarded to increase understanding and appreciation of the Long Island Sound through community events and activities.

Using the funding, groups will restore 17.45 acres of grassland for birds, beaches and aquatic eelgrass, which benefits fish and water quality. A project at Sunken Meadow Park will open 111 acres of salt marsh and underwater areas, which currently have restricted natural tidal flow. The award for Barn Island Wildlife Management Area will be used to help acquire 48 acres of tidal wetlands. Nassau County will seed 2 million shellfish to repopulate Hempstead Harbor, once an abundant fishery. Approximately 300,000 gallons of stormwater will be treated by a green roof at Randall’s Island Park in New York City. Seventy communities and more than 100 municipal officials and community leaders will develop a range of tools to deal with water pollution and to prepare watershed plans for their communities. More than 13,000 citizens will help create awareness of and a commitment to high-value natural resources, and some 2,700 volunteers will be involved in cleaning up 233 miles of beaches.

Since 2005, the Sound Futures Fund has provided $3.6 million to 117 projects in communities surrounding the Sound. With a grantee match of more than $10 million, over $14 million in locally-based conservation has been, in part, galvanized by the grant program. The projects will open up 33 river miles for fish passage, and restore 193 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat, including lakes, underwater grasses, woodlands, meadows, tidal wetlands and park frontage.

The grant program pools funds from the EPA, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Shell Marine Habitat Program for projects to restore the health and living resources of Long Island Sound. Long Island Sound is an estuary that provides economic and recreational benefits to millions of people, while also providing natural habitats to more than 1,200 invertebrate species, 170 species of fish, and dozens of species of migratory birds.

“One of the greatest environmental challenges facing our communities is the protection and restoration of estuaries,” said Michael Slattery, Regional Director, Eastern Partnership Office, 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.”

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proud to be part of the innovative and creative partnership that is the Long Island Sound Futures Fund,” said the Service’s Northeast Regional Director Marvin E. Moriarty. “Together, we are helping to ensure the future of our nation’s fish and wildlife resources as we connect people with nature through these community grants.”

“New York State is happy to support the Long Island Sound Future’s Fund which assists efforts to restore and protect the Sound,” said James Gilmore, Director of the Bureau of Marine Resources for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. “These funds will support endeavors that reduce stormwater runoff, restore habitat and tidal flow, develop watershed plans, and create educational programs in order to ensure a protected and preserved Sound for the future.”

“As an active partner in the Long Island Sound Study, Connecticut DEP is very pleased to work with an energetic group of federal, state and local partners to make this program a success, and we are particularly pleased with the work that the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has done again this year with the Long Island Sound Futures Fund projects,” said Brian P. Thompson, Director of the Coastal Program at the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. “Our staff really enjoys reviewing the project proposals and taking part in a process that leverages significant environmental dollars for local habitat restoration, education and land use projects that help to preserve and protect Long Island Sound.”

The Long Island Sound Study, developed under the EPA’s National Estuary Program, is a cooperative effort between EPA and the states of Connecticut and New York to protect and restore the Sound and its ecosystem. In 1994, it created a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan to guide federal, state and local governments to improve water quality, restore and protect habitats, and reach out to the public to foster environmental stewardship.

A non-profit established by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation sustains, restores and enhances the Nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Through leadership conservation investments with public and private partners, NFWF is dedicated to achieving maximum conservation impact by developing and applying best practices and innovative methods for measurable outcomes. Since its establishment, NFWF has awarded over 10,000 grants to over 3,500 organizations in the United States and abroad and leveraged – with its partners – more than $400 million in federal funds into more than $1.4 billion for on-the-ground conservation.

More information:
EPA information on Long Island Sound website (www.epa.gov/region1/eco/lis)
Long Island Sound Study and Futures Fund website (www.longislandsoundstudy.net)
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation website (www.nfwf.org)


17 Large and Small Grants in New York

Grantee
Project
Award
The Nature ConservancyOrient Point County Park Grasslands Restoration
$71,800
New York City Department of Parks and RecreationParks Citywide Greenroof Pilot Project
50,000
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic PreservationEngineering and Modeling Study at Sunken Meadow Creek
30,000
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk CountyEastern Long Island Eelgrass Restoration Initiative
75,000
County of Nassau, Department of Public WorksShellfish Seeding in Hempstead Harbor
72,000
Village of Sea Cliff, Hempstead Harbor Protection CommitteeHempstead Harbor 2008 Water Monitoring Program
35,000
Town of SoutholdMattituck Inlet Stormwater Reduction and Education
48,100
Friends of the BayOyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Watershed Action Plan
15,000
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk CountyCitizen Water Quality Monitoring
33,000
Rocking the BoatWater Quality Monitoring Project
35,000
Town of HuntingtonHuntington Stormwater Video
12,000
American Littoral Society-Northeast ChapterLong Island Sound Component 2008 New York State Beach Cleanup
6,000
Three Village Community TrustHarbor Day Children’s Theater: The Ghost Net
6,000
Alley Pond Environmental CenterFestival of Little Neck Bay and Long Island Sound
5,000
Long Island Seaport and Eco CenterFourth Annual Family Day Celebrating National Estuary Day
5,000
Friends of the Bay2008 Water Quality Monitoring Program
6,000
Coastal StewardMt. Misery Beach Cleanup
6,000

18 Large and Small Grants in Connecticut
Grantee
Project
Award
Tributary Mill ConservancyStreamside Incubation Facility
$22,500
Sacred Heart University, Project LimulusAn Integrated Management Plan for Milford Point
40,000
The Nature ConservancyCrowley Parcel Acquisition at Barn Island
57,500
The Nature ConservancyLand Use Policy Evaluation for the Salmon River
48,600
Eastern Connecticut Resource Conservation and Development AreaLand Use Leadership Alliance for Connecticut Land Use Decision Makers
29,800
Permitting and Pollutant Trading Strategies for the Long Island SoundHydroqual
61,150
Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, State Parks DivisionNature Center – Display Habitats, Homes
27,000
Housatonic Valley AssociationHousatonic Estuary Low Impact Development Partners
35,000
Quinebaug-Shetucket Heritage CorridorMaking Sound Choices from Source to Sea
29,944
Document Video ServicesCaring for the Long Island Sound: A Video Series
35,000
Solar YouthHands-on Outdoor Learning Adventure
35,000
Mianus River Watershed CouncilVideo Monitoring of Diadromous Fish Migration
6,000
Town of GreenwichSnorkeling for Eels Below Dams on the Byram River
2,000
Eastern Connecticut Resource Conservation District (for Thames River Basin Partnership)Thames River Partnership’s Floating Workshop
6,000
Mitchell CollegeMitchell Beach Restoration Project
5,000
Document Video ServicesDuplication Costs for Caring for the Long Island Sound: A Video Series
3,000
Solar Youth Wintergreen Beach Warriors
6,000
Sea Research FoundationNational Estuary Day at Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration
6,000

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