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Courtney, Needleman Welcome EPA Grant Funding For Efforts in Centerbrook To Protect Local Waterways And Long Island Sound

November 18, 2016
Press Release

NORWICH, CT —Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) and Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman applauded a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Long Island Sound Futures Fund 2016 grant to the Nature Conversancy for work in Centerbrook, Connecticut. Specifically, the project will develop designs for a fish passage at two dams on the Falls River which is tributary to the Connecticut River. These efforts will help protect local alewife and blueback herring, which are critical to biodiversity in local waterways.  The grant funding will also be used to raise awareness in the community about the importance of protecting the waterway and its connection to Long Island Sound. The federal grant which is for $60,000 will be matched by an additional $41,000 from the grantee.

“Long Island Sound is a biological treasure, and protecting its fragile ecosystem begins away from the shoreline along our rivers and tributaries,” said Courtney. “The Sound is home to a rich assortment of plant and animal species that we need to protect for generations to come. I want to thank the Nature Conversancy for their unwavering commitment to protecting our local environment,  and Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman for his continued support of local conservation efforts.”

Norman Needleman, First Selectman of Essex, said: “I am incredibly grateful to the EPA, Congressman Joe Courtney and all who participated in securing this grant and funding this study. Restoring the fish passages in the Falls River is vital to the protection of our local freshwater habitats, the Connecticut River and the greater Long Island Sound.”

Robert Nussbaum, Vice-president of the Essex Land Trust, said: "This is a very important next step in the installation of three planned fishways designed to restore these migratory fish to the Falls River. In 2014 a fishway was installed at Tiley-Pratt Pond, the first barrier coming up  river from North Cove."

Click here to read the full press release from EPA

In total, the Long Island Sound Futures Fund 2016 grants will reach 395,000 residents of the Long Island Sound region in both Connecticut and New York. The funding is intended to help treat one million gallons of water pollution, including removing more than 700 pounds of nitrogen and 6,000 pounds of floating trash, and implement new water quality improvements for the future.  The funding will also help promote conservation education in local communities to further protect the Sound and local waterways. The $1.3 million in federal funds awarded will be matched by an additional $1.3 million in private funding from the grantees resulting in $2.6 million available for on the ground conservation activities across both states.