Programs to restore fish and wildlife habitats, underwater grasses, meadows, beaches, parks and waterfronts along Long Island Sound have received $1.6 million in federal grants, with more than $900,000 of that money going to projects in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
The remaining money from the Long Island Sound Futures Fund 2012 grant program will focus on projects in Connecticut.
In addition, project recipients have agreed to spend $3 million of their own funds to supplement the grants.
More than $650,000 of the New York money is earmarked for projects on Long Island, including $128,000 to the town of Southold for a vineyards stewardship program and $40,000 for a water quality monitoring program in Hempstead Harbor.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and Wells Fargo funded the grants, which were announced Monday.
“These grants will help reduce pollution, improve water quality and the health of those who live near Long Island Sound,” EPA regional administrator Judith Enck said in a news release. “By working together, EPA and area organizations are helping make sure Long Island Sound continues to be an environmental treasure.”
The Long Island Sound Futures Fund was launched in 2005 through the Long Island Sound Study, a New York-Connecticut partnership of government agencies, interested groups and others focused on restoring the Sound.
Since 2005, the fund has invested $10.5 million in 261 communities, according to the EPA.
Above: Damith Hernandez, of Shoreham, fishes for striped bass on the Long Island Sound at the Wading River town beach. (Dec. 4, 2009)