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New Long Island Sound protection and restoration grants add up to $10 million

Courtesy of Abby Archer and Save the Sound
Long Island Sound

The health of Long Island Sound is getting a $10 million boost thanks to 39 grants awarded by federal and state agencies from Connecticut and New York.

It’s all part of the Long Island Sound Futures Fund that started in 2005.

“When I started 30 years ago, they said you’re just going to watch the environment degrade, and there’s nothing you can do about it, particularly shell fishing and we’re reversing that trend with all of these projects,” said James Gilmore, director of Marine Resources at New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

A portion of the money will go to New York’s oyster restoration program. Last week, the state opened over 6,000 acres along the Long Island Sound to shellfishing for the first time since the 1970s.

Betsey Wingfield, deputy commissioner at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), has been with the Sound project since the beginning.

“The staff at DEEP who have monitored water quality in the sound year-round — more intensely in the summer to look at hypoxia, but even in January, when it’s really really cold — we appreciate the support of the study and proud to contribute in that way because that base science is so important to the efforts that we are taking to clean up Long Island Sound,” Wingfield said.

The grants will focus on environmental education and conservation programs that range from water quality improvement projects to removing over 97,000 pounds of marine debris. 

The money is in addition to $100 million for Long Island Sound that is included in the federal infrastructure bill signed by President Biden last month.

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.