Larchmont, NY —The federal spending plan for fiscal year 2023 passed by Congress on Friday includes a record $40 million investment in the Long Island Sound Geographic Program. Denise Stranko, vice president of programs for Save the Sound, cheered the 12 percent increase ($8.6 million) above FY 2022.
“It is a healthy boost for the Long Island Sound Study, and it’s an encouraging step toward supporting the important work required to restore, preserve, and transform the Long Island Sound watershed,” said Stranko, who also emphasized that future levels of federal investment must match the scope of the challenging work ahead. “We will continue to fight for clean water and air throughout the region, for environmental justice, for habitat conservation and public lands, and for strengthening resilience in the face of the rising seas and rising temperatures fueled by climate change. We encourage Congress to remain committed to funding this fight to the fullest.”
The Long Island Sound Study provides funding for on-the-ground projects to restore Long Island Sound’s habitats and improve its water quality. That includes several Save the Sound-led projects, such as the Unified Water Study, through which 26 groups are monitoring the water quality in 44 bays and harbors around Long Island Sound, and Save the Sound’s dam removal and restoration of the Norwalk River in Wilton, CT. The Long Island Sound Study is also a critical source of funding for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund, which earlier this month awarded $10.3 million in grants to 41 projects around the region, including $456,600 for Save the Sound to inventory all accessible stream barriers within the Long Island Sound watershed in Westchester County, NY. The Futures Fund is also supporting Save the Sound’s development of the Hutchinson River Watershed Plan in Westchester County, the Big Rock Wetlands Restoration in Queens, and design of a nature-like fishway for a dam on Long Pond in Ledyard, CT.
“We thank Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer and senator Kirsten Gillibrand from New York and senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy from Connecticut,” said Stranko, “as well as House Appropriations chair Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), outgoing co-chair of the Congressional Long Island Sound Caucus Tom Suozzi (NY-3), and all the members who supported this increase in funding for our region.”