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Grant-funded projects to study water quality, other environmental issues in Long Island Sound

A competitive research grant program has chosen eight projects that will study the water quality and other aspects of the Long Island Sound.

The program, Long Island Sound Study, is funded by federal and state dollars through a joint effort from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Connecticut Sea Grant and New York Sea Grant. The total cost of the eight projects is $2.8 million. Researchers from the University of Connecticut, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and other entities “will attempt to answer questions critical to advancing restoration of the estuary and its watershed,” a press release from the Long Island Sound Study reads.

“The Long Island Sound Study is a cooperative effort sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the states of Connecticut and New York to restore and protect the Sound and its ecosystems,” the release reads. “The restoration work is guided by a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan under four themes: Clean Waters and Healthy Watersheds; Thriving Habitats and Abundant Wildlife; Sustainable and Resilient Communities; and Sound Science and Management.”

Projects will look at how historical land use practices impact nitrogen management, marsh rebuilding, alewife migration, how marine life can help measure and remove pollutants, eelgrass recovery and water conditions, among other topics.

“This research competition resulted in an interesting diversity of projects,” Connecticut Sea Grant Director Sylvain De Guise said in the release. “These include novel approaches to understanding and managing Long Island Sound and reaching the goals of increased water quality that support productive ecosystems for the benefit of wildlife and humans. In my opinion, it is a very smart investment for long-term benefits.”

EPA region 2 Acting Regional Administrator Walter Mugan commented on those possible long-term benefits.

“More than 10 percent of Americans live within 50 miles of the Long Island Sound’s shores, where issues like nitrogen pollution threaten water quality, marine life and coastal resiliency,” he said in the release. “These projects reflect EPA’s longstanding commitment to developing solutions to protect and restore the Sound to healthy waters, benefitting surrounding communities environmentally, economically and recreationally.”

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