$12 Million in Grants Awarded to Improve the Environment of Long Island Sound

Bridgeport, Connecticut, Dec. 04, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, federal and state environmental agencies and officials from New England and New York, including the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), announced 39 grants totaling $12 million to organizations and local governments to improve the health of Long Island Sound. The grants are matched by $8 million from the grantees themselves, resulting in $20 million in total conservation impact for projects in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.

In all, these Long Island Sound Futures Fund (Futures Fund) 2023 grants will support projects that improve water quality by preventing 2.7 million gallons of stormwater and 101,000 pounds of nitrogen pollution from flowing into Long Island Sound waters. The projects will also remove 120 tons of marine debris from the sound and support planning for restoration of 880 acres of coastal habitat and 102 miles of river corridor vital to fish and wildlife. And, the projects will reach 30,000 people through environmental education programs that increase awareness of how to improve the health and vitality of the Sound. Funding for the grant program comes from the EPA as part of the Long Island Sound Study (LISS), with additional support from FWS, NFWF and The Zoetis Foundation.

“Everyone that lives, works, and plays on the Sound deserves clean water and equitable access. By Investing in America, these grants, along with the huge investment in the Sound from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, put us on the right path,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “Because of these investments, EPA is making good on its promises to uplift communities, make them more resilient to climate change, and improve the health of the Sound as a whole.”

“EPA’s continued investments in locally based programs in and around Long Island Sound will tackle water quality improvements, reduce nitrogen pollution and restore coastal habitat,” said Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia of EPA Region 2. “EPA is proud to support these innovative and impactful projects that will improve the health and resilience of this vital estuary for generations to come and ensure that all communities have a voice and a role in the protection and restoration of the Sound.”

The LISS initiated the Futures Fund in 2005 through EPA’s Long Island Sound Office and NFWF. The grant program has a strong history of making environmental improvements by supporting people and communities who value the sound and take a direct role in its future. Since its inception, the Futures Fund has invested $56 million in 640 projects. The program has generated an additional $65 million in grantee matching funds towards these projects for a total conservation impact of $121 million. The projects have opened 121 river miles for fish passage, restored 842 acres of fish and wildlife habitat, treated 208 million gallons of stormwater pollution, and engaged 5 million people in protection and restoration of the sound.

“This year’s grants provide support for grantees and their partners to implement projects that benefit community residents, farmers, fish, and wildlife,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The Long Island Sound’s watershed covers more than 16,000 square miles in six states and the funding today represents a commitment to foster the progress made over many decades towards a healthier, cleaner and more resilient watershed that will benefit wildlife and people for generations to come.”

“The projects funded today conserve and restore vital habitat for threatened and endangered wildlife like piping plovers and roseate terns, as well as include working directly with communities to create a future landscape more resilient to climate change,” said Wendi Weber, Northeast Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Removing dams and replacing culverts clears the way for migratory fish while reducing the risk of flooding. Living shorelines support fish and shellfish while buffering destructive storm surge. These grants support a brighter future for the people and wildlife of Long Island Sound.” 

“Since 2005, the State of Connecticut has been privileged to benefit from the groundbreaking and critical work of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through its Long Island Sound Futures Fund. Projects supported by the Futures Fund lead to real world advancement and improvements to the Long Island Sound, our most cherished natural resource,” said Emma Cimino, Connecticut Deputy Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection. “Today Connecticut joins in celebrating the award of over $7.5 million in 23 grants to 22 recipients in Connecticut, which leverage almost $4 million in additional local funding. These important and forward-thinking projects range from reducing nitrogen pollution and removing barriers to fish passage to improving the resilience of our coastal communities and providing pathways to conservation careers to young people from environmental justice communities. We are grateful to our federal partners for this impactful funding in Connecticut and those awarded in New York.” 

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “The Long Island Sound is an irreplaceable natural resource to New Yorkers and neighbors alike. Working hand-in-hand with stakeholders and key partners like the Long Island Sound Futures Fund, DEC is proud to see the extensive investments and efforts underway to restore and protect the Sound for future generations by improving water quality, conserving critical habitats, responsibly increasing recreational access, and empowering the public to safeguard this cherished natural resource. DEC congratulates and thanks grant awardees for their sustained dedication to the conservation of this vital ecosystem.” 

A complete list of the 2023 Long Island Sound Futures Fund grants recipients is available here. See a list of quotes from elected officials and partners about today’s grant announcement here. To learn more, please visit the NFWF Long Island Sound Futures Fund website.



Long Island Sound is an estuary that provides economic and recreational benefits to millions of people while also providing habitat for more than 1,200 invertebrates, 170 species of fish and dozens of species of migratory birds. The grant projects contribute to a healthier Long Island Sound for everyone, from nearby area residents to those at the furthest reaches of the sound. All nine million people who live, work, and play in the watershed impacting the sound can benefit from and help build on the progress that has already been made.


About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate, foundation and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 6,000 organizations and generated a total conservation impact of $8.1 billion. NFWF is an equal opportunity provider. Learn more at nfwf.org.

About the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Grants
Every year, EPA awards more than $4 billion in funding for grants and other assistance agreements. From small non-profit organizations to large state governments, EPA works to help many visionary organizations achieve their environmental goals. With countless success stories over the years, EPA grants remain a chief tool to protect human health and the environment. Follow EPA Region 1 (New England) on X and visit our Facebook page. For more information about EPA Region 1, visit the website.

About the Long Island Sound Study 
The Long Island Sound Study, developed under the EPA’s National Estuary Program, is a cooperative effort between the EPA and the states of Connecticut and New York to protect and restore the Sound and its ecosystem. To learn more about the Long Island Sound Study, visit the website.



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