Washington D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced nine grants totaling $562,888.88 to fund projects throughout New York that will help improve the Long Island Sound. The funding was allocated through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Long Island Sound Futures Fund and will be used to fund habitat restoration projects, water quality projects, water quality monitoring and public education events.
The awards announced today are part of 22 grants totaling $1.3 million and will be used to fund projects that are expected to open 12.4 river miles for passage of native fish, treat nearly 3 million gallons of water pollution and treat approximately 80 acres of coastal habitat. Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Senator Schumer sponsored the Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act to reauthorize the federal Long Island Sound Study (LISS) program. Senator Gillibrand successfully passed this legislation out of Committee in February.
“This $560k federal investment is important to protecting and ensuring the health of the Long Island Sound, a majestic body along our north shore,” said Senator Schumer. “These funds will help fund important restoration and water quality projects to make the Long Island Sound a safe and clean place for all New Yorkers to boat, fish and recreate for years to come. I will continue to fight for funding to help protect this beautiful, natural resource.”
“The Long Island Sound is a beautiful natural resource that must be preserved for generations to come,” said Senator Gillibrand. “It is a natural treasure that helps make Long Island and Westchester a great place to work and raise a family. We have to make these types of investments in restoration and water quality projects that will keep the Sound a healthy recreational and economic resource for our families.”
In 1985, the EPA, in agreement with the States of New York and Connecticut, created the Long Island Sound Study (LISS), an office under the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) charged with advancing efforts to restore the sound and address low oxygen levels and nitrogen levels that have depleted fish and shellfish populations as well as hurt shoreline wetlands. In 1990, the Long Island Sound Improvement Act passed providing federal dollars to advance Sound cleanup projects, including wastewater treatment improvements. In 2006, identifying the need for increased stakeholder participation and the need to focus on coastal restoration and improved public access and education, Congress passed the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act which provided federal dollars for projects to restore the coastal habitat to help revitalize the wildlife population and coastal wetlands and plant life.
The Sound borders New York and Connecticut, with 8 million people living in its watershed and 20 million people living within 50 miles. Although decades of overdevelopment, pollution, dumping of dredged materials, and releases of untreated sewage have severely hurt the water quality, the Sound’s economic contribution from sport and commercial fishing, boating, recreation and tourism is estimated to be just over $5.5 billion a year. Authorization of federal funding for restoration and stewardship programs to protect Long Island Sound expired at the end of 2011; however, Congress has continued to fund these important efforts, ensuring that it remains a federal priority.
Below is a full list of Long Island Sound Projects in New York:
- $150,000 awarded to New York City Department of Parks and Recreation for “Tackling Mile-a-Minute Invasive Plant” project at Pelham Bay Park
- $60,000 awarded to City Parks Foundation for “Coastal Habitat Restoration Planning” project at Alley Pond Park in Queens
- $86,892.20 awarded to American Farmland Trust for “Conservation Practices to Improve Farm Soil and Water Quality” at the Long Island Sound Watershed in Suffolk County
- $60,000 awarded to Peconic Green Growth, Inc. for “Developing Innovative Residential Sewage Treatment Alternatives to Improve Water Quality” project in Orient in the Town of Southold
- $32,788.75 awarded to Azuero Earth Project, DBA Perfect Earth Project for “Promoting Toxin Free Lawns to Improve Water Quality” project in the Towns of Riverhead and Southold
- $9,999.62 awarded to Bronx River Alliance, Inc. for “Bronx River Floatable Pollution Cleanup and Education” project in the Bronx
- $9,052.31 awarded to Alley Pond Environmental Center for “National Estuary Day Celebration at Alley Pond Park” project at the Alley Pond Watershed and Park in Queens
- $55,000 awarded to the Incorporated Village of Sea Cliff for “Hempstead Harbor 2014 Water Quality Monitoring Program” in Hempstead Harbor
- $99,156 to build the Long Island Sound Report Card for Long Island Sound Watershed in New York State and Connecticut