Federal and state officials announced 38 grants totaling $3.8 million awarded to local government and community groups focused on the conserving the Long Island Sound.
The grants, which include 24 in New England watershed states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, support projects that will improve water quality, restore habitat, and educate and involve the public with the restoration process, according to a statement by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The grants combine funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and are provided by the Long Island Sound Futures Fund.
Specific projects include:
• Audubon Connecticut’s project to restore marsh at Great Meadows, Conn.
• Essex County Natural Resources Conservation District’s project in Vermont to develop a farm strategy to prevent pollution into local waterways
• Connecticut River Watershed Council’s project in New Hampshire to restore riverbanks to reduce erosion into the Connecticut River
• The town of Montague’s project to construct green infrastructure in Turners Falls, Mass.
"Since it’s inception in 2005, the Futures Fund has awarded more than $19.5 million in funding and the total program, including local project matching funds, has generated $63 million for locally-based conservation," Pete Lopez, the EPA's Region 2 administrator, based in New York, told Newsday.
"More than 10 percent of Americans live within 50 miles of its shores," Lopez said during a virtual conference making the announcement, according to the newspaper.
Activities that take place on the Sound, such as boating, fishing and beachgoing, generate about $9 billion a year for the region, Lopez said.
The overall funding has increased following bipartisan efforts from Reps. Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y., and Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., according to the publication.
When Suozzi was first elected to Congress in 2017, funding for the Sound was $4 million, the publication reported; this year, it's up to $21 million, with $30 million proposed for next year.