NEW HAVEN — Communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New York will divvy up $2.6 million in federal grants to improve the health of Long Island Sound, officials announced Monday.
A total of 35 grants were provided through the Long Island Sound Futures Fund, which combines funds from the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
“EPA has a longstanding commitment to help protect and restore Long Island Sound, which provides numerous environmental benefits and economic and recreational opportunities,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel in the release. “These grants will help reduce impacts on the Sound from sources like stormwater and marine debris, which are priority issues for our agency.”
In Bridgeport, a $250,000 grant, matched by $167,000 in local funds, will go to install green infrastructure in the Seaside Park neighborhood; and an $85,112.82 grant, matched by $170,000, will be used to analyze coastal hazard mitigation options on the Pequonnock River.
The Seaside Park effort will “will convey, infiltrate and filter stormwater from a pump station that is part of a coastal flood defense system; improve water quality in Bridgeport Harbor and Long Island Sound by reducing stormwater runoff; and address flooding in the South End of the City,” officials said.
In New Haven, Yale University will take in a $39,949.64 grant, matched by $26,667 in local funds, to install three types of litter traps in New Haven and analyze the results.
The goal is to “trap litter and pinpoint sources of pollution from surrounding neighborhoods to inform management that better targets and prevents litter into New Haven Harbor and Long Island Sound,” officials said.
In Middletown, a $51,390 grant, matched by $51,000, will be used to “develop a design to remove one barrier to fish passage on the Sawmill Brook” and thus “set the stage to restore access to one mile of spawning and nursery habitat along a migratory riverine corridor for alewife, blueback herring, American eel and sea lamprey” to the Sound.
In Norwalk, a $250,000 grant, matched by $400,000, will be used to upgrade a 5.4-acre parking lot on Webster Street as part of a repaving project.
The added infrastructure is expected to “alleviate local flooding, increase tree canopy and prevent 6,700,000 gallons of stormwater and 12 lbs. of nitrogen annually from flowing into the Sound,” officials said.
“The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has been pleased with the review of this year’s applications and impressed with the caliber and quality of the projects submitted,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes. “These projects represent grassroots, on the ground opportunities to improve water quality in the sound, restore tidal wetlands, improve public access and build resiliency to the communities surrounding this important natural resource.”