Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and environmental leaders celebrated nearly $3 million in matching federal grants to fund Long Island Sound preservation projects in the third congressional district during a Zoom news conference on Tuesday.
Several local organizations dedicated to protecting Long Island’s waterways have received a chunk of the $2.94 million for initiatives that aim to improve water quality in the Long Island Sound near the areas of Oyster Bay, Hempstead Harbor, Northport, Udall’s Cove, Little Neck Bay, Queens, Roslyn Harbor, and Centerport Harbor.
“The Long Island Sound is becoming better and more abundant, but it is not at all done and it will never be done. It’s a constant effort,” Suozzi said. “The Long Island Sound is our ‘national park,’ and we have to treat it that way.”
The funds are part of a larger slate of grants by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation called the Long Island Sound Futures Fund. There are 10 different initiatives within Suozzi’s district receiving funding.
About $1 million will go to Save the Sound for its ongoing project to establish natural shorelines along Memorial Field in Udall’s Cove at Little Neck Park in Queens. Other projects, undertaken by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County (CCE), will help remove marine debris from the Sound, as well as from Hempstead Harbor and Oyster Bay. Funds for the CCE will allow the organization to deploy four floating litter traps in the area.
Educational projects are underway, as well. Citizens Campaign for the Environment has partnered with eight Long Island schools for The Long Island Sound High School Summit, in which students conduct comprehensive research projects about the Sound.
“The idea was to educate, engage, and empower students to protect and restore the Long Island Sound,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “We’re so thankful to be able to grow and expand it and make it an annual event.”
The funding will also go toward green infrastructure projects for the Northport Harbor and Long Island Sound, an educational program to protect shorebirds, expanding and monitoring oyster-spawning sanctuaries in the Oyster Bay-Cold Spring Harbor Complex, and restoring the coast of Centerport Harbor.