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EPA Funding To Support Health Of Long Island Sound

Long Island Sound Connecticut Coast
Joelle Cyr
Millions of dollars in federal grants will support the water quality of Long Island Sound.

On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced funding for local governments and advocacy groups to improve the quality of Long Island Sound. The EPA will award $3.8 million in grants 38 recipients throughout New England to improve the quality of Long Island Sound and its watersheds. 

Connecticut will receive $1.8 million across 16 different grants. Connecticut Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said the Long Island Sound is an important ecological and economic resource to the region. She said she will continue to work to revitalize the Sound in her new role as the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, which has jurisdiction over all discretionary funding.

“I don’t take the task lightly, and the responsibility for it, so that we can look at this committee and ensuring the protection and the preservation of our natural resources, of our climate, and of Long Island Sound,” DeLauro said.

DeLauro also highlighted the efforts of the bipartisan Long Island Sound Caucus, which she co-chairs with New York Representatives Lee Zeldin and Tom Suozzi. 

New York received $1.1 million for 16 projects including efforts to educate high school students about the importance of preserving and protecting the Sound. Zeldin said high school education projects show how advocacy for the Sound is multigenerational.

"We all will be standing on the shoulders of that next generation. And it’s important for them to understand, for their generation to understand, and really for all of our neighbors and all my constituents to understand the importance of not just fully funding the Long Island Sound program, but increasing funding.

Zeldin also stressed that the work of the Long Island Sound Caucus, the E.P.A. and other partners represents both New York and Connecticut and has bipartisan support. This 2021 funding bill passed during the summer, and includes a record amount of $21 million for the Sound.

E.P.A. New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel said the money will help clean waters, restore and protect wildlife, and bolster education and community outreach about the importance of the Sound.

“New England is home to some of the nation’s oldest cities, oldest stormwater systems, and oldest industrial centers," Deziel said. "Given that history, EPA Region 1 has also worked to support innovation in green infrastructure and habitat restoration.”

Deziel said projects that received funding this year include the removal of 3,000 pounds of nitrogen from the Sound. Nitrogen pollution creates algal blooms that starve waters of oxygen and leads to fish kills.