Local leaders, environmental advocates celebrate millions set aside to protect and restore wildlife along Long Island Sound

Connecticut

(WTNH) – The Connecticut shoreline may appear pristine but under the surface of Long Island Sound lies pollutants and problems which may have been festering for years.

“New York is sending tons…hundreds, thousands of tons of wastewater into Long Island Sound,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, (D) Connecticut.

There are also contaminants coming from wastewater plants in Connecticut which may overflow after a storm and stormwater runoff. 

But now those who have been fighting to improve water quality, fight erosion, and restore wildlife habitats are getting a boost from the bipartisan Infrastructure deal.

“This morning we’re here to talk about Long Island Sound which is going to receive $106 million,” said Congressman Joe Courtney, (D) Connecticut who joined the senator and environmental advocates at Ocean Beach Park in New London.

“It’s gonna give us the ability to fire up the problem-solving machine for Long Island Sound on all cylinders,” said Bill Lucey who is the Long Island Sound Keeper.

The money could fund projects put on the back burner. 

“We use alternative methods to get that water into the ground where we have free treatment of that water,” said Patrick Comis, Executive Director of The Connecticut Audubon Society.

“How are we gonna do it? We’re going to construct miles of dunes and living shoreline. We are going to restore coastal wetlands,” said Lucey.

All along Long Island Sound, there are inlets and coves where wildlife is greatly affected and could benefit from some of these projects.

“We improve the habitat for these species of fish called forage fish which help feed the birds but they also have the rest of the ecology live off of them,” said Rob LaFrance of Audubon Connecticut.

New London was chosen for this celebration of sorts because of its establishment of a stormwater utility that has found ways to reduce flooding and pay for it.

“That special revenue fund can only be spent on stormwater utility… stormwater issues,” said Mayor Michael Passero, (D) New London.

Forward-thinking they hope other cities and towns will follow. 

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