From Long Island Sound to large cities, areas across the state will see positive change through multiple grants recently secured by The Nature Conservancy. Awards will advance ongoing collaborative work with existing partners but will also engage stakeholders in new conservation projects.
Long Island Sound Work
Long Island Sound’s coastal waters in both Connecticut and New York are the focus of a $262,000 award to TNC in collaboration with Citizens Campaign for the Environment and Save the Sound. The award—from the EPA through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Long Island Sound Futures Fund—will support the bi-state Long Island Sound Coastal Watershed Network.
The new round of funding will further events and information sharing—including an upcoming webinar in January on nitrogen pollution—and provide opportunities for local governments, NGOs, businesses and concerned residents to collaboratively address water quality challenges. Network programming connects advocates from varied backgrounds by highlighting successful projects and fostering a shared commitment to reducing pollution impacts in the Sound’s coastal waters.
“Since beginning this work in 2020, our organizations have highlighted more than 40 local projects and built a network of 560 members working to reduce local water pollution from sewage, stormwater, fertilizers, litter and marine debris,” said Holly Drinkuth, TNC’s director of river and estuary conservation in Connecticut.
City of Groton Partnership
TNC has received a $361,080 grant to partner with the City of Groton in addressing longstanding issues from stormwater flooding in the Five Corners neighborhood. The grant, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, will fund a stormwater assessment to closely study the affected areas and develop nature-based solutions.
TNC has worked extensively with the City of Groton, including the development of the Southeastern Connecticut Regional Framework for Coastal Resilience. This project continues this work, as well as the city’s Community Resilience Plan, released in May 2022.
“Stormwater flooding in Five Corners is a critical issue for residents and the city’s workforce. We’ve seen infrastructure pushed beyond its limit by the volume of water in the area,” says Tim Clark, program director of the Resilient Southeast CT project. “This grant gives TNC and Groton a fantastic opportunity to unlock restorative actions identified by the city in their Community Resilience Plan.”
Urban Forestry’s Future
A $2.2 million grant has been awarded to TNC from the U.S. Forest Service to help advance urban forestry plans. Communities across the state will have the chance to learn from peers and plan long-term change for residents through the proposed Connecticut Urban Forest Network for Equity and Resilience.
Funding is from the Inflation Reduction Act through the Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program.
The collaborative, statewide work aims to build Connecticut’s urban forestry capacity, particularly in communities with very low tree canopy cover, assess community urban forestry needs, give members a chance to work together, and lay the foundation for sustainable funding and capacity.
“There are numerous approaches to caring for and expanding Connecticut’s urban forests, and many communities seek opportunities to learn from their peers. Time is of the essence, and bringing together communities across the entire state will maximize impact,” explains Drew Goldsman, TNC’s urban conservation director in Connecticut.
Wildlife Assessments with CT DOT
In its first project with the state Department of Transportation, TNC, along with the state Department of Energy Environmental Protection, will examine wildlife passageways that intersect with roadways. The DOT is receiving $360,000 to develop a statewide assessment that identifies areas with the most frequent collisions between vehicles and wildlife, as well as informational resources for the public. As the project manager, TNC will gather research and data, and bring together stakeholders, to inform future state projects and safety improvements.
“We’re so pleased that federal funds can support this first-ever statewide examination of wildlife movement across the state, as it’s been a long-term goal for many agencies in Connecticut,” says Shelley Green, TNC’s director of conservation programs in CT. “We’re hopeful it will lead to improved safety for people and wildlife and that it will provide much-needed information for a state wildlife action plan being developed by DEEP.”
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 70 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.