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Grants awarded to New York for LI Sound quality improvements

Nine project areas on Long Island will receive more than $600,000 to fund programs, including educating residents and protecting fish and wildlife.

Federal and state officials announced grants for 15 projects totaling $1.05 million that aim to improve water quality, restore habitat and protect the Long Island Sound. The announcement was made in Setuaket on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017.  (Credit: Barry Sloan)

State and local officials Monday awarded $1.05 million in grants for 15 projects in New York aimed at improving the health and water quality of Long Island Sound.

Nine of the project areas are based on Long Island and will receive more than $600,000.

That money will help pay for programs to reuse treated wastewater for irrigation, educate residents about green infrastructure, monitor water quality, build a fish passage, promote the importance of upgrading septic systems, highlight the most appropriate types of grass seed to plant, and foster stewardship events.

“Protecting and restoring this critical waterway, which has suffered from pollution and overdevelopment over so many years, is so important to improving our area’s natural habitats, and improving Long Islanders’ quality of life,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) in a news release.

Last month, $1.29 million in grants for 20 projects in Connecticut were announced.

The projects are paid for by the Long Island Sound Futures Fund, which uses money from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Since 2005 the fund has invested $17 million in 380 projects and grantees have contributed another $33 million.

The federal awards for New York were announced at the Childs Mansion in the Village of Old Field and range from $5,565 to $250,000.

All grantees are expected to contribute matching funds or more. The match in New York was $2.58 million for a total of $3.63 million, officials said.

“We have this amazing resource in our backyard,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez of the Sound, which is home to 170 species of fish, dozens of types of birds and more than 1,200 variations of invertebrates such as clams, snails and jellyfish.

Ten-percent of Americans live within 50 miles of the Long Island Sound, Lopez said, and it supports 81,000 jobs.

New York’s funded projects include:

n Harvesting wastewater at an affordable housing development in Huntington and reusing the treated effluent for irrigation.

n Monitoring water quality in inner and outer Hempstead Harbor and Glen Cove Creek.

n Engineering a fish passage plan at Phillips Mill Pond Dam in Smithtown’s Nissequogue River, restoring a fish run for the first time in 300 years.

n An educational program to encourage people to share the shore with coastal birds in several locations, including Centre Island and Sunken Meadow State Park.

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