An approved federal spending bill will give $14 million to the Environmental Protection Agency, intended to help protect Long Island Sound, officials said.
The money will go to EPA’s Long Island Sound Study, a group of federal and state agencies, user groups, organizations and individuals who work to advance the efforts to restore the Sound, officials said. LISS was founded in 1985.
The bill, announced by United States Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand Thursday, is the highest level of funding the LI Sound program has received in 26 years. The $14 million is an increase of $2 million in funding compared to last year.
“The Long Island Sound is a natural treasure and an economic engine for the whole region that draws families, boaters, tourists and anglers to our shores,” Mr. Schumer said in a press release Thursday. “[This] will allow us to keep a focus on restoring and protecting the beaches and waters in and around the Sound.”
Ms. Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environmental Public Works Committee, said she’s pleased with the passing of the bill.
“This investment will … help ensure that Long Island residents and tourists can enjoy this natural resource for generations to come,” she said in a press release.
Over 23 million people live within 50 miles of the Sound and it’s home to more than 120 species of fish, officials said.
The Long Island Sound Study aims to restore the Sound by addressing low oxygen and nitrogen levels in the water, which have depleted the fish and shellfish population and damaged shoreline wetlands.
According to the Long Island Sound Study, the annual economic value of the Sound is approximately $8.9 billion.
In 1990, the Long Island Sound Improvement Act passed providing federal dollars to advance Sound cleanup projects, including wastewater treatment improvements.
Sixteen years later, Congress passed the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act which provided federal dollars for projects to restore the coastal habitat to help revitalize the wildlife population and coastal wetlands and plant life.