Sound waters to benefit from $1.3M in federal funding

The sun rising over Orient Harbor in Orient. (Credit: Tim Kelly file photo)
The sun rising over Orient Harbor in Orient. (Credit: Tim Kelly file photo)

Three clean water initiatives with North Fork ties have been granted some significant federal funding as part of a larger effort to protect the Long Island Sound, federal officials announced Wednesday.

Project proposals from the environmental advocacy groups Peconic Green Growth, the Azuero Earth Project and the American Farmland Trust were among 22 awarded to receive a total of $1.3 million.

• Peconic Green Growth has received $60,000, which, combined with $47,000 from the organization will help the group study technologies to help Orient residents reduce nitrogen loading into the aquifer and surface waters.

The study will explore clustered decentralized wastewater treatment options for about 354 homes in Orient, with hopes of cutting nitrogen loading down by 50 to 90 percent.

“This was the last piece we needed to move forward with the next phase,” said Glynis Berry, Peconic Green Growth’s executive director. They organization has contracted with three engineering firms to develop reports evaluating solutions and costs, and will explore the process for approvals and management of alternative systems.

• The American Farmland Trust has received $87,000, which, combined with $211,00 match from the trust, will help 10 Suffolk County farmers to adopt soil health and nutrient management practices to reduce nitrogen fertilizer use by 20 percent across 15 acres of vegetable farms.

• The international Azuero Earth Project received $33,000 to be combined with a $33,000 match from the nonprofit group to design and deliver a toxin-free lawn care and education program for homeowners and landscapers in hopes of reducing chemical use on 75 acres of lawn throughout Riverhead and Southold towns.

“The Long Island Sound Futures Fund continues to fund valuable projects to restore habitats, improve water quality, and promote public awareness throughout the Sound’s Watershed,” said Joe Martens, commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. “In addition, these on the ground projects ensure continued involvement and partnerships on the local, state, and federal level to help protect and restore Long Island Sound.” The funding was provided by the U.S.

Environmental Protection Agency, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Long Island Sound Funders Collaborative and the Dissolved Oxygen Environmental Benefit Fund, and funned into the Long Island Sound Futures Fund, a result of a legal settlement between the state and Connecticut.

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