The New York Secretary of State, Rossana Rosado today announced sixteen Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve (Reserve) Local Assistance Grants totaling $668,385 to municipalities along Long Island’s South Shore for implementation of projects designed to increase recreational public access, and improve the health and preserve the South Shore Estuary.
These grants of up to $50,000 will assist three towns, three villages, and one county complete projects throughout the Reserve to advance the Reserves’ Comprehensive Management Plan, which was approved in 2001. The plan focuses on the protection and improvement of water quality, living resources, public access, open space, maritime heritage and economy throughout the Reserve. Kayak launches, shellfish restoration projects, and innovative wastewater treatment systems at two town beaches are among the variety of awarded projects.
“This funding will help to protect the valuable natural and economic resources of the South Shore Estuary by providing valuable funding to Reserve communities for implementation of priority projects,” said New York Secretary of State Rosado, Chair, Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve Council. “The Department of State will continue to work with these municipalities to support Governor Cuomo’s investment in the health of Long Island’s South Shore Estuary ecosystem and communities.”
The South Shore municipalities receiving grants are:
- Nassau County - $50,000 (1 Project)
- Town of Brookhaven - $178,975 (4 Projects)
- Town of Hempstead - $202,510 (6 Six Projects)
- Town of Islip - $50,000 (1 Project)
- Village of Freeport - $100,000 (2 Projects)
- Village of Patchogue - $50,000 (1 Project)
- Village of Rockville Centre - $36,900 (1 Project)
Long Island is home to 1.5 million New Yorkers and features numerous tourism assets, including beaches, marinas, parks and nature preserves. There are many opportunities for residents and visitors to swim, boat, fish, hike, and observe wildlife, which support Long Island’s growing tourism, seafood, and recreation industries. This funding aims to protect the region’s natural assets and support efforts to improve water quality throughout Long Island’s South Shore Estuary.
Basil Seggos, Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner said, “Governor Cuomo recognizes the importance of protecting and preserving the Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve for the millions of Long Islanders who live in the SSER watershed and to support tourism and local economies by improving water quality and the health of its critical natural resources. These grants to Nassau and Suffolk Counties and local governments complement both Governor Cuomo’s $10.4 million initiative to improve water quality and restore shellfish on Long Island and the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan.”
Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment said, “Long Island’s south shore communities love our rivers, harbors, bays and beaches. Clean water Projects that remove invasive species, advance the use of innovative septics, reduce polluted stormwater run-off and improve water quality in our marine environment, all preserve our way of life on the south shore. Healthy marine waters allow us to enjoy our island, preserve our maritime culture and maintain property values. A big thank you to Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature for prioritizing water quality and advancing water protection initiatives.”
Carl LoBue, The Nature Conservancy’s representative on the South Shore Estuary Reserve Council, said “The natural resources of the South Shore Estuary Reserve are essential for Long Island’s quality of life, economy, and environment. Incentives for upgrading cesspools to nitrogen reducing septic systems, and expanding investments in shellfish restoration, made possible by Governor Cuomo’s commitment of a $300 million Environmental Protection Fund, and on the heels of recent announcements of support for relocation of the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant outfall, move us closer to the vision that inspired the creation of the reserve back in 1993.”
Established in 1993, the Reserve is administered by the Department of State through the Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve Act. The Act calls for the management and protection of Long Island's South Shore bays and upland areas draining to them. Funding for the Reserve is made available through the State’s Environmental Protection Fund. A Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve Council was established through the Act, which is made up of 23-representatives from towns, villages, counties, the City of Long Beach, as well as, recreation, business, academic, environmental and citizen members.
Funding for the Reserve is made available through the State's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), which establishes support for the broad areas of Solid Waste, Parks and Recreation and Open Space. In 2016, Governor Cuomo proposed and the Legislature approved $300 million for the EPF, which provides resources for land acquisition, farmland protection, waterfront revitalization, municipal recycling, local government assistance to improve wastewater treatment plants and municipal parks, and solving environmental challenges.
The funding also supports the stewardship of public lands, including state parks and millions of acres of public lands throughout the State. Through partnerships with volunteer organizations, state agencies use stewardship funding to manage trails and lands, protect natural resources, preserve wildlife habitats, make critical capital improvements at parks and campgrounds, educate students about conservation and provide access to persons with disabilities.
A full list of grant awards can be found here.