Long Island Sound

I visited the Sound every summer as a child, and now my wife Cathy and I bring our two boys there every year. Like thousands across Connecticut, I know that our state’s health depends on protecting and preserving the Long Island Sound. From the thousands of species of wildlife the Sound supports, to the fishing and aquaculture industries, to submarine manufacturing and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Long Island Sound is both an ecological treasure and an engine for our state’s economy. However, the health of the Sound depends on an alphabet soup of federal and state agencies and programs. That is why I drafted a Long Island Sound Investment Plan—to demystify the complex federal budgeting process and to provide a user-friendly roadmap to keep Long Island Sound a vibrant landmark for generations to come. 

Securing funding increases is not always easy in Washington. Yet, as I talked to people across Connecticut, I knew the federal government needed to step up its investment in Long Island Sound. I am proud that as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I helped secure $88 million in funding this year that goes towards federal programs that support Long Island Sound, including $12 million for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Long Island Sound Geographic Program. This money will help fund local projects to improve water quality and restore shoreline habitats. In addition, this year's budget increased funding for the National Sea Grant College Program and the Long Island Integrated Coastal Observing System, both located at UConn Avery Point, and aquaculture research at sites like Milford Laboratory.

As our planet warms and the climate changes, there are new sets of challenges facing the Sound, That is why I am working to pass a new piece of legislation, the Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act, which passed the Senate in the fall of 2016 but was never signed into law before the end of that congressional session. This important bill authorizes $65 million a year in grants to Long Island Sound, which will help keep the water clean and our beaches safe for families to enjoy.

Finally, I am working not only to protect the Sound, but also to pass federal policies that protect our oceans. In 2015, I helped pass the Microbead-Free Waters Act through Congress and was proud to see it signed into law by President Obama. This new law places a federal ban on polyethylene and polypropylene microbeads that are typically found in personal care products and are proven to harm aquatic life, water quality, and public health. In 2017, I helped pass the Save our Seas Act, which reauthorizes federal programs on marine debris. 


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