Long Island Sound Futures Fund announces local grant recipients

The Day

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund today announced 14 grants for conservation and restoration in several communities along the Sound, including projects in East Lyme, Lyme, Old Mystic, Stonington, Norwich, Essex and Mystic.

The Long Island Sound Futures Fund is a partnership of federal and state agencies, foundations and corporations to achieve high-priority conservation objectives.

The grants include:

• $150,000 to the Connecticut Fund for the Environment to open 4.1 stream miles and restore eight acres of habitat along Whitford Brook in Old Mystic.

• $4,546 to teach students in East Lyme about reducing stormwater pollution.

• $150,000 to the Nature Conservancy to restore six acres of floodplain and wetlands along the Eightmile River in Lyme.

• $45,316 to the Sea Research Foundation to restore one acre of freshwater wetland and salt marsh and .6 acres of grassland and dunes at Dodge Paddock and Beal Preserve in Stonington.

• $51,307 to the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut to install green infrastructure projects at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury and Three Rivers Community College in Norwich.

• $99,156 to the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science to issue ecosystem health report cards for the Long Island Sound watershed in New York and Connecticut.

• $34,994 to the Connecticut River Museum in Essex to support an exhibit and discovery lab on invasive species degrading in Long Island Sound.

• $8,982 to the Sea Research Foundation to host Eco Splash, a weeklong environmental awareness event in Mystic focused on Long Island Sound.

The state’s entire Congressional delegation issued a news release applauding the grants.

“The Futures Fund provides invaluable support to local nonprofits and researchers who serve as tireless caretakers and stewards of the sound in their communities across the state,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal. “From wildlife restoration to public outreach and education, these projects will help ensure that generations to come can continue to enjoy the sound’s unparalleled beauty and benefit from vital role it plays in supporting our state and region’s economy.”

Sen. Chris Murphy said the grants will enhance the sound’s value as an economic driver for the state.

“We need to prioritize federal investment for the preservation of Long Island Sound – not only for the millions of people who currently rely on it for work and recreation, but for future generations as well,” he said. “The funding announced today will be hugely beneficial for people across Connecticut because it will teach them to be better environmental stewards, as well as give them confidence in Long Island Sound’s long term health."

Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, said preserving the sound is one of his top priorities in Congress.

“Investments like these are instrumental to protecting and raising awareness about the unique ecosystem along Connecticut’s coast, and a key part of our regional economy,” he said. “This announcement is good news for the sound, and I will keep working with my colleagues in the Connecticut and New York delegations to do all we can to protect the sound in the future.”