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New round of funding to protect Long Island Sound

December 4, 2018

A sweeping round of federal funding to improve Long Island Sound will result in studies on microplastic pollution in the Southwestern harbors, water quality monitoring and a new fishway to protect blueback herring and other species.

“Over the years, important projects have been funded that promoted habitat restoration of coastal wetland areas as well as watershed management projects and opening many miles riverine habitat for the passage of migratory fish to spawn,” said Rob Klee, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Klee noted the $2 million in funding for will contribute to 20 Connecticut projects along the Sound and four in the Connecticut River watershed.

“We have also witnessed the impacts of climate change, with additional projects funded to assist with improving resiliency and sustainability of our coastal and watershed habitats,” Klee noted.

“We are pleased that over $300,000 is being awarded to support resiliency and living shorelines restoration as well as marine spatial planning of the Long Island Sound Blue Plan,” Klee said.

In all, Connecticut and New York State will share $2.6 million for projects to improve the health and ecosystem of Long Island Sound.

The money is provided through the Long Island Sound Futures Fund in coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

“I know all of us share great excitement with, and are energized by, the depth and breadth of community commitment evidenced by these projects,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez.

Projects include a study on microplastic pollution in waters off Greenwich, Stamford, Darien and West Haven. The study is funded by a $99,999 federal grant and matching funds of $99,893.

The University of Connecticut will investigate the impact of microplastics on water, sediment and oysters, educate the public about the problem and develop management recommendations.

Microplastics are small, barely visible pieces of plastic that enter and pollute the environment, usually from rivers and waste water treatment plants.

The grants will reach more than 1.7 million residents and help treat 1.9 million gallons of water, collect 37,000 pounds of floating trash, open up six miles of river and restore 18 acres of coastal habitat for fish and wildlife, the EPA said.

bcummings@ctpost.com

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