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EPA Provides Grants for Long Island Sound Conservation Efforts


Friday, December 23, 2022   

The Environmental Protection Agency is awarding more than $10 million in grant funding to aid conservation efforts in Long Island Sound.

The 2022 grants from the Long Island Sound Futures Fund will reach more than 300,000 people through environmental-education programs. Mark Tedesco, director of the EPA's Long Island Sound office, said the fund is multi-purpose, with numerous goals to accomplish. Some include reducing pollution, restoring and protecting wetlands, and making communities more sustainable and resilient.

"There's a big project with Eastern Connecticut Conservation District to work on farm management to reduce nitrogen pollution," he said. "So, there's a great example. The project can range from farm to forest to wetlands."

Tedesco said this project will help handle manure waste and prevent nitrogen runoff from entering local waterways and Long Island Sound. Another project will tackle stormwater and green infrastructure in downtown Naugatuck to prevent flooding. According to the EPA, water quality improvement projects will prevent 5.3 million gallons of polluted stormwater from flowing into Long Island Sound.

Tedesco predicted that these projects will have some challenges, but he's ready to handle them on a case by case basis. While this funding will enable many conservation projects to get going, he said there's still a lot more work to be done to create long-term progress in conserving Long Island Sound.

"Part of what we're trying to do here," he said, "is demonstrate success, develop leaders in the community that help to bring this message to others and to build momentum."

In doing these projects, Tedesco said, he hopes to improve conservation efforts for Long Island Sound and strengthen the conversation around it. Along with this, projects will remove 8,000 pounds of marine debris from shorelines and enhance more than 200 acres of crucial habitats for fish and wildlife.

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