Old Field, NY -- Top federal and state environmental officials today announced 35 grants totaling $1.6 million to state and local government and community groups in New York and Connecticut to improve the health of Long Island Sound. When leveraged by an additional $3 million contributed by the recipients themselves, a total of $4.6 million will support conservation projects in both states. The projects, which are funded through the Long Island Sound Futures Fund, will open up 50 river miles for passage of fish, and restore 390 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat including lakes, underwater grasses, woodlands, meadows, wetlands, beaches and rivers and parks along the waterfront. Fifteen grants totaling $913,202 will be awarded to groups in New York, leveraged by $1.6 million from the grantees themselves.
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, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and Wells Fargo.
'These grants will help reduce pollution, improve water quality and the health of those who live near Long Island Sound,' said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. 'By working together, EPA and area organizations are helping make sure Long Island Sound continues to be an environmental treasure.'
“One of the greatest environmental challenges facing our communities is the protection and restoration of estuaries,” said David O’Neill, 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 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 $10.5 million in 261 projects in communities surrounding the Sound. With grantee match of $23 million, the Long Island Sound Futures Fund has generated a total of almost $33.5 million for projects in both states.
'I am pleased to see funding go to projects that engage local communities in the protection and restoration of local fish and wildlife habitats,” said Northeast Regional Director Wendi Weber of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 'Equally exciting are the partnerships with public and private landowners that will increase our ability to work effectively on the ground in the Long Island Sound area. These grants go directly to protecting our shared natural resources—from opening rivers for native fish and restoring habitat for songbirds and shorebirds, to educating children who are the future stewards of the 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,' said New York State, Department of Environmental Conservation, Assistant Commissioner for Natural Resources, Kathy Moser. '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.'
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/.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, established by Congress in 1984, is an international leader in developing public and private funding to protect wildlife and natural resources. In 26 years, NFWF has funded 4,000 organizations and leveraged $576 million in federal funds into $2 billion for conservation. The achievement of clear, measurable results is central to its work. The foundation brings together diverse stakeholders—from industry to Congress to local leaders—to accomplish positive outcomes. NFWF currently works with 14 federal partners and more than 50 corporate and foundation partners. To learn more about NFWF, visit http://www.nfwf.org.