$1.3 Million Awarded for Community-Based Projects to Improve Health of Long Island Sound

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$563,248 awarded to support projects in New York

New York, N.Y. -- Top federal and state environmental officials today announced 22 grants totaling more than $1.3 million 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 12.4 miles of river for passage of native fish and restore 80 acres of coastal habitat, including intertidal marsh, coastal forest, grasslands and freshwater wetlands. More than 70,000 citizens will be reached by environmental and conservation programs supported by the grants. Nearly 2.9 million gallons of water pollution will be treated through the delivery of water quality improvement projects. The grants will be leveraged by $1.4 million from the grantees themselves, resulting in $2.7 million in funding for on-the-ground, hands-on conservation projects in both states. Eight grants totaling $463,732 will be awarded to groups in New York leveraged by $656,865 from the grantees themselves resulting in $$1,120,597 in funding for on-the ground, hands-on conservation projects in the state. One project totaling $99,516 will have an environmental benefit to both New York and Connecticut.

This public-private grant program pools funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) the Long Island Sound Funders Collaborative and the Dissolved Oxygen Environmental Benefit Fund – the result of a New York and Connecticut legal settlement.

“Protecting and restoring Long Island Sound has long been a priority for the EPA,' said EPA Region 2, Director, Clean Water Division, Joan Leary Matthews. 'These grants will support vital and diverse projects throughout the region. These efforts will help 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.'

“One of the greatest environmental challenges facing our nation and its communities is the protection and restoration of highly productive estuaries,” said National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Vice President, Conservation Programs, David O'Neill. “The funding awarded today represents the Foundation’s and U.S. EPA’s continuing commitment, as well as the commitment of other federal and state partners, to 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 $13 million in 306 projects in communities surrounding the sound. With grantee match of $25 million, the Long Island Sound Futures Fund has generated a total of almost $38 million for locally based conservation in both states.

'We are pleased to support our conservation partners through this collaborative funding effort,' said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Regional Director, Wendi Weber. 'This year, funded projects will help youth become stewards of the outdoors and introduce them to wildlife in their schoolyards. Additionally, work will help restore the health of our rivers, coastal marshes, forests and grasslands for the benefit of fish, wildlife and coastal communities.'

“The Long Island Sound Futures Fund continues to fund valuable projects to restore habitats, improve water quality, and promote public awareness throughout the Sound’s Watershed,” said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Commissioner, Joe Martens. “In addition, these on the ground projects ensure continued involvement and partnerships on the local, state, and federal level to help protect and restore Long Island Sound. NYSDEC is proud to support the Futures Fund and congratulates all of this year’s applicants.”

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 http://www.longislandsoundstudy.net. For full descriptions of the Long Island Sound Futures Fund Grants, visit http://longislandsoundstudy.net/about/grants/lis-futures-fund/.

“We hope that our pooled funding toward development of a Long Island Sound Report Card will offer communities around the sound a tool to educate people about the value of the sound and influence future priorities, policies and action to benefit it,” said Jeniam Foundation, Executive Director and member of the Long Island Sound Funders Collaborative, Hugh Killen III.

Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation protects and restores 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 $2.3 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at http://www.nfwf.org.

ONE LONG ISLAND SOUND FUTURES FUND GRANT 2014 – BENEFITTING BOTH STATES

WATER QUALITY PROJECTS – NY & CT

Building the Long Island Sound Report
Recipient: The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Grant Amount (EPA, LIS Funders Collaborative): $99,156
Recipient Match Contribution: $34,809
Project Area: Long Island Sound Watershed, NY and CT
Description: Build capacity to sustain ecosystem health report cards in the Long Island Sound watershed in New York and Connecticut.

EIGHT LONG ISLAND SOUND FUTURES FUND GRANTS 2014 – NEW YORK

HABITAT RESTORATION PROJECTS

Tackling Mile-a-Minute Invasive Plant at Pelham Bay Park
Recipient: New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
Grant Amount (EPA, FWS): $150,000
Recipient Match Contribution: $150,000
Project Area: Pelham Bay Park, Bronx, NY
Description: Tackle control of mile-a-minute an invasive plant on 60 acres of coastal forest and grassland.

Coastal Habitat Restoration Planning at Alley Pond Park
Recipient: City Parks Foundation
Grant Amount (EPA, FWS, Legal Settlement): $60,000
Recipient Match Contribution: $118,000
Project Area: Alley Pond Watershed and Alley Pond Park, Queens, NY
Description: Produce three restoration plans for up to 23 acres of tidal wetland and coastal forest.

WATER QUALITY PROJECTS

Conservation Practices to Improve Farm Soil and Water Quality
Recipient: American Farmland Trust
Grant Amount (EPA): $86,892
Recipient Match Contribution: $211,293
Project Area: Long Island Sound Watershed, Suffolk County, NY
Description: Work with 10 farm operators to adopt soil health and advanced nutrient management practices to reduce nitrogen fertilizer use by 20% on 15 acres of vegetable farms.

Developing Innovative Residential Sewage Treatment Alternatives to Improve Water Quality
Recipient: Peconic Green Growth, Inc.
Grant Amount (EPA): $60,000
Recipient Match Contribution: $46,640
Project Area: Orient, Town of Southold, NY
Description: Plan for innovative clustered decentralized wastewater (sewage) treatment for approximately 354 homes aimed at reducing nitrogen loading into the aquifer and surface waters of Long Island Sound by 50% to 90%.

EDUCATE AND INVOLVE THE PUBLIC

Promoting Toxin Free Lawns to Improve Water Quality
Recipient: Azuero Earth Project DBA Perfect Earth Project
Grant Amount (EPA): $32,788
Recipient Match Contribution: $33,269
Project Area: Towns of Riverhead and Southold, NY
Description: Design and deliver a toxin-free lawn care program with education for homeowners and landscapers and measure chemical reductions on 75 acres of lawn.

Bronx River Floatable Pollution Cleanup and Education
Recipient: Bronx River Alliance, Inc.
Grant Amount (EPA): $9,999
Recipient Match Contribution: $16,820
Project Area: Bronx River, Bronx, NY
Description: Address the issue of floatable pollution entering Long Island Sound from the Bronx River by collecting 14,200 pounds of floatables in paddle and pick-up days.

National Estuary Day Celebration at Alley Pond Park
Recipient: Alley Pond Environmental Center
Grant Amount (EPA): $9,052
Recipient Match Contribution: $5,000
Project Area: Alley Pond Watershed and Park, Queens, NY
Description: Conduct a National Estuary Day event for 250 people with exhibits and on-water activities, a cleanup to reduce litter into Long Island Sound.

CITIZEN SCIENCE: WATER QUALITY MONITORING

Hempstead Harbor 2014 Water Quality Monitoring Program
Recipient: Incorporated Village of Sea Cliff, New York
Grant Amount (EPA): $55,000
Recipient Match Contribution: $75,843
Project Area: Hempstead Harbor, NY
Description: Conduct water quality monitoring of 14 physical chemical, and biological indicators of pollution in outer and inner Hempstead Harbor.

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