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Local Organizations Receive $1.3 Million To Restore L.I. Sound

A total of 25 organizations in Connecticut and New York have received $1.3 million dollars to restore nearly 30 acres of wildlife habitats in Long Island Sound.

Judith Enck, a regional administrator with the EPA, says preserving Long Island Sound is important for both the environment and economy.

“Millions of people go to the Sound every year to enjoy it as a beachgoer or as a boater. So clean water translates into economic activity. And while you’re cleaning up the water for the people, you’re also improving fish and wildlife.”

Otter Creek Preserve is a 35-acre salt marsh along the Sound in Mamaroneck, New York. Recently,  invasive vines have threatened native plant species, and the wildlife that depend on them.

Lori Ensinger, president of the Westchester Land Trust, says her organization will use its grant to restore 12 acres of coastal forest.

“Here you can find over 100 species of birds, including many of special concern, and a threatened species – the bald eagle. So what we’re trying to do is maintain and restore the habitat for those birds.”

Ensinger says the grant is also about getting the community invested in the environment.

“This is all about outreach. People don’t protect what they don’t care about, and they don’t care about what they don’t know. So engage and cultivate is what this grant will also do.”

The grants in Connecticut and New York are intended for yearlong projects. Like most of them, the restoration plan at Otter Creek is an extremely complicated one. Ensinger anticipates it will take many years to complete.