Major projects that will conserve the Long Island Sound are in motion, due to grant funding recently given by the federal government. Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-NY) announced in a virtual press conference that New York’s Third Congressional District will gain nearly $3 million in federal grants to protect the Long Island Sound.
The federal funding for the Long Island Sound was hardly $4 million when Suozzi joined Congress in 2017. Ever since, Suozzi has raised federal funding to $30.4 million, a growth of 900 percent. The Long Island Sound is a profitable environmental treasure that has produced $1 billion to the regional economy.
“The Long Island Sound is our ‘National Park,’ and we have to treat it that way,” stated Suozzi. “For 27 years, since entering public service, first as Mayor of Glen Cove in 1994 and then as Nassau County Executive in 2002, I have worked on restoring shellfishing beds and reseeding our harbors, cutting nitrogen from sewage treatment plants and stormwater runoff, and cleaning up pollution. As a Member of Congress, in the role of Co-chair of the Long Island Sound Caucus, I helped to increase federal funding to protect the Sound by nearly 900 percent.”
Long Island Sound and environmental advocacy groups joined Suozzi in the press conference, which includes: Curt Johnson, President, Save the Sound; Cecilia Venosta-Wiygul, Udalls Cove Preservation Committee and Board Member, Douglaston Civic Association; Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment; Vanessa Pino Lockel, Executive Director, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk; Eric Swenson, Executive Director, Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee; Carol DiPaolo, Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor; and Heather Johnson, Executive Director, Friends of the Bay.
“Over the last ten years, we have made significant progress to increase funding for the preservation and protection of the Long Island Sound, restoration of habitats, monitoring of water quality, and education of the public” said Suozzi. “We need to maintain and increase this momentum so that generations of New Yorkers can all benefit from our most precious natural resource.”
“We are thrilled to be able to expand the Long Island Sound High School Summit. Last year we had four schools engaged and this year we have eight. This is the first program on Long Island that specifically engages high school students in protecting and restoring the Long Island Sound through hands on research in various topics including micro plastics, water quality, marine debris, social marketing, and much more. Students become more connected to protection of the natural world when they understand the value it brings to their community and obtain resources and knowledge in how to protect it,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “We are extremely thankful to Congressman Suozzi for his leadership in securing this federal funding which makes this whole program possible.”
“Long Island Sound is the heart of our region—ecologically, economically, and culturally,” said Curt Johnson, President of Save the Sound. “Thanks to Congressman Suozzi and our other New York and Connecticut congressional champions, the projects made possible by Long Island Sound Futures Fund act as a deep breath that enlivens our urban sea with vibrant habitats, cleaner water, and good jobs. It truly funds Long Island Sound’s future.”
“We are grateful for receiving the Long Island Sound Study Futures Fund grant and to Congressman Suozzi and our elected officials, who have vigorously advocated for this funding. The grant can play a pivotal role in helping to turn around the decline in the shellfish population in Oyster Bay and Cold Spring Harbor. Shellfish sanctuaries are the key to a healthy bay system. Along with our partners, we are hopeful that these projects will have a big impact on the health of our waterways,” said Heather Johnson, Executive Director, Friends of the Bay.
The National Fish and Wildlife Federation announced that the Long Island Sound in both Connecticut and New York, will receive $4.8 million in matching funds, providing a total conservation impact of $10.2 million. Of that amount, New York’s Third Congressional District will receive $1,540,437 in matching funds, bringing a total to $2,944,218 for Long Island Sound projects across the district. Areas of the district that will receive funding include Udalls Cove and Little Neck Bay in Queens, Roslyn, Hempstead Harbor, Oyster Bay, and Centerport and Northport Harbors.
According to Suozzi, the work completed up to now by these organizations has made a positive effect. “If you look at the water, it’s clearer than it used to be,” he said. “If you look at the wildlife, you see more osprey and red-tailed hawks, more bunker in the water. This effort, by a lot of people over a 30-year period, is working. The Long Island Sound is becoming better and more abundant—but it is not at all done. It’s a constant effort.”