Ny Grants $9.1 Million To Protect Coastal Waters
The State of New York is making more than $9.1 million in grants to Long Island communities to improve water quality and protect and restore habitats throughout the Peconic and South Shore estuaries. The grants are being funded though the Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act and the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).
“The Peconic and South Shore Estuaries are unique and important ecosystems that offer tremendous environmental, recreational, economic, and educational opportunities,” Governor George Pataki said. “We have made significant progress in protecting and restoring these water bodies, and these grants will continue our efforts to improve water quality and estuary habitats on Long Island.”
The Governor announced grants totaling more than $2.5 million for the Peconic Estuary and nearly $6.65 million for the South Shore Estuary. These awards will support projects to reduce pollutants from entering the estuary through storm water and non-point source runoff; restore habitats and install fish ladders and eelways to allow migration for upstream spawning; and make improvements to wastewater treatment plants.
Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE), said, “These grants provide considerable and essential funding for critical programs to control polluted storm water runoff, upgrade old sewage treatment plants, and restoring habitat for Long Islands estuaries.”
The Peconic Estuary system is located on the eastern end of Long Island, between the North and South Forks. The Peconic Estuary Plan protects and improves the Peconic Estuary systems water quality to ensure a healthy and diverse marine community.
The largest grant in the Peconic Estuary is $2 million that the Town of Riverhead will use to construct a water purification system. The system will treat water from the town’s wastewater treatment facility to be used for irrigation at the Suffolk County Indian Island Golf Course. This will reduce nitrogen discharged to the Peconic Estuary up to 25%.
To better handle storm water in the Peconic Estuary, the Town of Shelter Island will receive $16,750 to construct devices to control nonpoint source runoff. The Town of Southampton will receive $117,500 to install structures to collect storm water runoff and remove pollutants.
Peconic Baykeeper Kevin McAllister said, “As an advocate for our bays, I applaud the Department of Environmental Conservation for their thoughtful selection of Clean Water Bond Act projects that will have a significant effect on improving water quality and protecting living resources within the Peconic and South Shore estuaries.”
The South Shore Estuary Reserve extends from the Queens/Nassau County line eastward 75 miles to the Village of Southampton in Suffolk County. The Estuary Reserve includes interconnected bays and tidal tributaries that provide wildlife habitats and support the largest concentration of water dependent businesses in New York state.
A Comprehensive Management Plan for the South Shore Estuary was completed in 2002. The objectives of the plan are to improve and maintain water quality, protect and restore living resources, expand public use and enjoyment of the estuary, sustain and expand the estuary-related economy, and increase education, outreach, and stewardship programs with the estuary community.
To achieve these goals, towns and villages in Nassau and Suffolk counties will spend nearly $7 million to install structures to reduce storm water runoff and remove pollutants from runoff, install storm drain filters, clean catch basins, and reduce pollutants in storm water before it enters the estuary.