Courtney Announces Host of Federal Funding Bound for State Parks and Conservation Areas Throughout Eastern Connecticut
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) announced three federal grant awards totaling over $560,000 that are bound for state parks and wildlife conservation areas throughout eastern Connecticut. The three grant awards were provided through the U.S Department of the Interior’s Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to the State of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), and will support future land acquisition at three sites in eastern Connecticut: the Mono Pond State Park Reserve in Columbia; the Quinebaug River Wildlife Management Area, which spans across Canterbury and Plainfield; and Devil’s Hopyard State Park in East Haddam. The federal LWCF funding represents an important step forward in a land acquisition process that is still ongoing, and each acquisition will serve the purpose of adding passive recreational opportunities.
“After having worked to pass robust funding for the LWCF here in the House this year, and after having secured continued federal support for our Eightmile River and The Last Green Valley, I’m particularly glad to announce this new round of federal investment in eastern Connecticut’s natural heritage,” said Congressman Courtney. “Conservation of our state’s scenic waterways and open spaces has always been a top priority of mine, and today’s federal grant award through the LWCF program will help ensure that more of our natural heritage will be protected and enjoyed for generations to come. Congratulations to DEEP for putting together a successful grant application that will serve to benefit everyone who enjoys the outdoors in eastern Connecticut.”
In 2017, Congressman Courtney worked to save The Last Green Valley after President Trump proposed the elimination of all federal funding for National Heritage Areas. Rep. Courtney joined a bipartisan letter with 77 members of the House of Representatives urging the chair and ranking member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies to support robust funding for National Heritage Areas like The Last Green Valley, which spans 1,000 square miles, encompasses 26 towns in northeastern Connecticut, and is home to the Quinebaug River Wildlife Management Area.
In June, Rep. Courtney voted to pass H.R. 3055, an omnibus appropriations bill that included $523.9 million for the LWCF – enough to provide baseline funding for conservation projects along Connecticut waterways designated as part of the National Park Service’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Program, such as the Eightmile River (located in Devil’s Hopyard State Park), which Courtney secured designation for in 2007.
Today, DEEP has been awarded $564,250 in federal funding through the LWCF for the purpose of adding passive recreational opportunities at the three eastern Connecticut sites. Although the process of acquiring each new parcel of land is still ongoing, the federal funding award through LWCF represents an important step forward.
In what is called the Kellstrom Acquisition, DEEP has been awarded $312,500 for the acquisition of 313.2 acres of privately-owned land to be added to the 290.1-acre Mono Pond State Park Reserve in Columbia.
In what is called the Robinson and Lewis Property Acquisition, DEEP has been awarded $94,250 for the acquisition of 15.69 acres of privately-owned land to be added to the 1695.21-acre Quinebaug River Wildlife Management Area, which spans across Canterbury and Plainfield.
In what is called the Zito Property Acquisition, DEEP has been awarded $157,500 for the acquisition of 9774 acres to be added to Devil’s Hopyard State Park in East Haddam.
The LWCF was established by Congress in 1964 to fulfill a bipartisan commitment to safeguard our natural areas, water resources and cultural heritage, and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans. The LWCF program is divided into the “State Side” which provides grants to State and local governments, and the “Federal Side” which is used to acquire lands, waters, and interests therein necessary to achieve the natural, cultural, wildlife, and recreation management objectives of federal land management agencies. Click here to read more.