A multimillion-dollar research program will study water quality, seaweed formation, sedimentation, acid levels, pollution and other scientific topics associated with Long Island Sound, in an effort to make it a healthier ecosystem.
The Long Island Sound Study Research Grant Program is a partnership among Connecticut, New York and the federal government. Last week, the organization announced eight research projects that will be funded by $2.8 million in federal contributions from the Environmental Protection Agency. With matching grants from other environmental organizations, the value of the research package was assessed at more than $4.2 million.
The work will begin this spring and run for two years. Scientists, many of whom are affiliated with the University of Connecticut, will take a wide-ranging approach to the chemistry of Long Island Sound, its unique geography and its wildlife.
“This funding will advance ecological research and play a critical role in improving water quality and reducing pollution, providing lasting results for the wildlife and wetlands in the Sound for years to come,” said Deb Szaro, acting EPA regional administrator for New England.
The Sound Study Research program has been run by New York and Connecticut since 2008, and it has undertaken some 30 projects to better understand, and improve, the health of the waters of the Sound.
“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. These projects reflect EPA’s longstanding commitment to developing solutions to protect and restore the Sound to healthy waters, benefiting surrounding communities environmentally, economically and recreationally,”said Walter Mugan, EPA Region 2 acting regional administrator.
According to Connecticut Sea Grant Director Sylvain De Guise, the latest research projects cover a wide range of scientific inquiry.
“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,” she said. The Connecticut Sea Grant is located at the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point campus in Groton.
Long Island Sound is one of the 28 nationally designated estuaries under the National Estuary Program, which was established by Congress in 1987 to improve the quality of places where rivers meet the sea.
The New York Sea Grant is a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York and is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.