HARTFORD – After decades of overdevelopment and pollution that have severely threatened the water quality and health of Long Island Sound, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) today released his Long Island Sound Investment Plan to protect and preserve the Sound for generations to come. Murphy’s plan highlights the critical ecological and economical contributions that Long Island Sound makes to Connecticut and calls for $860 million in funding for federal programs that invest in Long Island Sound’s coastal habitats, coastal resilience, clean water and beaches, and fishing industry. Murphy wrote the plan with the help and feedback of hundreds of Connecticut environmentalists, fishermen, advocates, and families who rely on the Sound for work and recreation each year.
“From the thousands of species of wildlife the Sound supports, to the fishing and aquaculture industries, to submarine manufacturing and simple family afternoons on the beach, our state fundamentally depends on a healthy Long Island Sound. People in Connecticut know that failing to invest in Long Island Sound would mean the destruction of an ecological treasure and risking the demise of a vibrant coastal business community. We need a comprehensive strategy to ensure that Long Island Sound is still there for our children and grandchildren to enjoy,” said Murphy. “That’s why I’ve created this Long Island Sound funding plan – to present a clear document outlining the federal programs that support the Sound and the funding they require. The needs of the Sound are multi-faceted, and our strategy has to be as well. This plan is the first of many steps we must take to protect it.”
The Sound spans more than 1,300 square miles of coastline that are home to hundreds of diverse wildlife species, and is a proven economic driver, generating over $17 billion annually in tourism, fishing, shellfishing, and boating for the state.
As a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, Murphy successfully fought to secure more than $20 million to conduct aquaculture research in Long Island Sound, and nearly $200 million for programs that support the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, which operates the Milford Lab in Milford, Connecticut. Murphy also recently secured $500,000 to conduct a feasibility study to deepen New Haven Harbor and support Long Island Sound’s commercial ports. The Microbead-Free Waters Act, that was co-sponsored by Murphy and that bans harmful microbeads threatening the Sound was recently signed into law. As a co-author of legislation to restore Long Island Sound, Murphy is also working to reduce excessive levels of nitrogen in the Sound.