Long Island Sound Study Citizens Advisory Committee
For immediate release: May 24, 2019
LONG ISLAND SOUND STUDY CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE (CAC) CHEERS HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS FY2020 INCREASED FUNDING FOR THE SOUND
(Stamford, CT) – The House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2020 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill on May 22, expanding the budget for the restoration of Long Island Sound to $21 million, a record high for the program. Increased federal funding leverages state, local and private investments and supports comprehensive efforts to restore clean, healthy waters, thriving habitats and resilient communities in Long Island Sound. This funding increase is critical for protecting the public while also ensuring the health of this valuable ecosystem.
Since 1995, the Long Island Sound Study Citizens Advisory Committee (LISS CAC) has worked collaboratively with the Environmental Protection Agency, Connecticut and New York State to promote and accelerate restoration and stewardship of our nation’s great urban sea. With 10% of the US population living within 50 miles of its coast, the Sound is an economic powerhouse, generating an estimated $31 billion annually from commercial fishing and recreation activities.
The LISS CAC is made up of representatives from Connecticut and New York, organizations, businesses and municipalities that champion and implement actions to restore the Sound.
Thanks to these coordinated efforts and investments, the Sound is beginning to re-bound toward ecological health. Oxygen levels are increasing in the open waters, whales and dolphins are returning, and swimming beaches are cleaner. But there is still so much more to do. Bacteria and nitrogen pollution threaten our coastal harbors and bays and new challenges are emerging from climate change and sea level rise. The dense, high population around Long Island Sound causes many stresses on the estuary upon which our coastal communities depend for recreation, seafood, tourism and strong economies.
Now, the LISS CAC calls upon the Senate to meet the House allocation of $21 million to the Long Island Sound Study in FY2020 to sustain decades of momentum, bolster successful strategies to reduce nitrogen pollution, support abundant marine life and protect our regional economy. Further, we call on our state and federal leaders to prioritize infrastructure investments that promote clean water, shoreline resilience and thriving coastal communities.
QUOTES FROM LISS CAC MEMBERS
Nancy Seligson, LISS CAC NY Co-chair, said, “We have been waiting decades for Long Island Sound to get the appropriate funding it deserves to restore water quality for marine life and people. Thank you to the House Appropriations Committee and Chair Nita Lowey for making now the time for to achieve restoration, climate resiliency and sustainability goals.”
Holly Drinkuth, LISS CAC CT Co-chair, said “We applaud the Environmental Protection Agency, state and local agencies in New York and Connecticut for their collaborative approach to refining nitrogen science and now we must speed up restoration actions. We thank our Congressional
Leaders for their support. Setting and meeting pollution targets that restore healthy marine habitats like seagrass and tidal marsh will also make our water cleaner and our beaches safer for generations to come.”
“Long Island Sound is becoming a leader in restoration strategies for highly urbanized waterways. Successes we achieve here will help inform and support good decisions in stressed waterways around the country and the globe. We thank our Congressional leaders for recognizing the value of a healthy and living Sound, and for supporting the restoration and resiliency work that is driving water quality improvements and preparing us for a sustainable future,” stated Tracy Brown, Director, Save the Sound.
“We have made great strides in the last decade in improving the health of Long Island Sound. Now, with increased federal funding we can tackle emerging issues such as toxic tides, reduce nitrogen pollution and help address climate change impacts. The Long Island Sound is an extension of our backyards, part of our maritime history, and an economic engine for our region. Investing in the Sound is a wise, worthwhile investment,” stated Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
“This funding bill reflects Long Island Sound’s status as one of the most important estuaries in the country. Through the work of scores of agencies and non-profit organizations as well as thousands of citizens, and with investments such as this federal funding, we are demonstrating how the health of critical natural resources can be protected in one of the most densely populated watersheds in the country.” stated Stuart F. Gruskin, New York conservation and external affairs officer for The Nature Conservancy.
“Long Island Sound is an urban sea in need of undivided attention. All our coastal communities, bays, and watersheds benefit from its improvement and, as such, we hope to see Congressional leaders finalize increased funding of $21 million,” said Sarah Deonarine, Executive Director of the
Manhasset Bay Protection Committee.