Jay T. Mar, Connecticut State Conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) today announced the inception of the Long Island Sound Watershed Partnership.
Long Island Sound (LIS) is one of 28 designated estuaries of national significance in the U.S. The LIS Watershed begins at the headwaters of the Connecticut River on the Quebec border and encompasses 17,814 square miles in six states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and
Rhode Island). The watershed contains some of the most important farmland in the country and is home to a thriving aquaculture industry. The Sound provides natural habitats to more than 1,200 species of invertebrates, 170 species of fish, and hundreds of species of migratory birds. Nine million people live in the watershed, and 21 million live within 50 miles. The estimated annual value of the local economy in 2011 was $8.91 billion.
“The health and condition of the agricultural landscape, habitats, and residents of LIS are connected to the quality of water that enters into big rivers and their tributaries,” said Mar. Ninety percent of the fresh water in LIS comes from three major rivers – Connecticut, Housatonic, and Thames Rivers.
The priorities of this multi-state partnership include improving conservation opportunities for private agricultural and forest land owners; ensuring more sustainable agriculture, creating healthy aquatic environments for shellfish and finfish production; restoring and protecting wildlife habitat; and maintaining and restoring hydrologic and ecological functions within the watershed.
“As of today, NRCS is accepting applications for Long Island Sound Multi-State Partnership projects to address resource concerns in this remarkable natural wonder,” said Mar. Closing date for applications for FY2012 funding is May 11, 2012.
For more information, contact your local service center.
For more on this story, visit: Long Island Sound Watershed Partnership Announced | Connecticut NRCS.