‘Long Island Sound should be critical conservation area’: Malloy

Apr 24th, 2014 | By | Category: Long Island Sound, Water

(HARTFORD, CT) – In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to designate the Long Island Sound and its watershed as a critical conservation area. The Governor requested that a portion of the $1.3 billion Congress provided the USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) over the next five years as part of the 2014 Farm Bill be targeted for the Sound and its watershed.

Long Island Sound as seen from Long Wharf Nature Preserve in New Haven (photo: cjzurcher, Environmental Headlines)

Long Island Sound as seen from Long Wharf Nature Preserve in New Haven (photo: cjzurcher, Environmental Headlines)

“Over the last three decades, Connecticut has made a significant commitment to protecting and restoring the Sound,” Governor Malloy stated in his letter. “Millions of dollars have been invested in communities throughout its watershed to address pollution concerns and protect the tidal wetlands along its shore. Long Island Sound ranks 4th out of the 28 national estuaries for leveraging federal dollars.  For every $1 in federal spending there is $98 in non-federal spending.  Formal designation as a critical conservation area would significantly amplify our ongoing conservation activities associated with Long Island Sound and our watershed partners.

“I commend Congress for creating the RCPP as part of the 2014 Farm Bill and your commitment to fostering restoration and sustainable use of soil, water, wildlife and related natural resources on regional or watershed scales.  The benefits to the people and resources of the Long Island Sound watershed, stretching as it does through six states to Quebec, would be substantial.”

In sending this letter, Governor Malloy joins with Connecticut’s congressional delegation, members of New York’s congressional delegation and many stakeholders who also have asked Secretary Vilsack to designate Long Island Sound a critical conservation area.

The LIS economic impact is estimated at more than $8.9 billion per year. The watershed alone contains some of the most important farmland in the country with over 650,000 acres. The Sound is also home to a 200-year-old aquaculture industry with over 70,000 acres of shellfish beds under cultivation resulting in $30 million in farm gate sales and over 300 jobs in Connecticut.

Earlier this week, Governor Malloy made several other pro-environment announcements in commemoration of Earth Day, including announcing that Connecticut is now a “range confident” state for drivers of electric vehicles – giving drivers more confidence than ever before that they can recharge their batteries when needed, and promoting his legislation to double the state’s recycling rate and modernize the state’s waste management system. The Governor also attended an event with U.S. Energy Secretary Moniz to showcase his efforts to bring cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy to Connecticut.

**Download: Governor Malloy’s letter to Secretary Vilsack.

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