Omnibus bill includes $12 million for the Long Island Sound, $65 million for the National Sea Grant College Program, and $11.5 million for the Marine Aquaculture Program
[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT), and U.S. Representatives John Larson (CT-1), Joe Courtney (CT-2), Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), Jim Himes (CT-4), and Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) announced that the Omnibus Appropriations bill, which passed Congress last night, includes $12 million in federal funding for Long Island Sound programs – $4 million more than last year’s funding level. The Omnibus also includes $65 million for the National Sea Grant College Program base – $2 million more than last year’s funding level, and $11.5 million for the Marine Aquaculture Program – $2.5 million more than last year.
“We are pleased to announce critical funding that will help preserve the Long Island Sound and our coastal communities – two bastions of Connecticut’s economy and natural beauty,” said the delegation. “Federal funding for the Long Island Sound supports jobs in our state’s tourism, shellfish, manufacturing and maritime sectors, and will protect the Sound’s diverse ecosystem for years to come. The Sea Grant Program is vital to the development of local business and the conservation of towns along Connecticut’s shoreline. Together, this robust funding will yield long-term economic benefits for future generations.”
The Long Island Sound borders Connecticut and New York, with 9 million people living on the coast and 24 million people living within 50 miles of the coast. Although decades of high levels of development, pollution, and releases of untreated sewage have severely hurt the Sound’s water quality, the Sound’s economic contribution, including from sport and commercial fishing, boating, recreation, and tourism is estimated to be between $17 billion and $37 billion annually. Federal funding for the Long Island Sound supports environmental programs that reduce the amount of nitrogen entering the Long Island Sound from sewage treatment plants and address low oxygen levels and nitrogen levels that have depleted fish and shellfish populations as well as hurt shoreline wetlands.
The National Sea Grant College Program is a critical source of funding for Connecticut’s Sea Grant Colleges program at UConn Avery Point. The Sea Grant program supports stewardship of marine resources through research, education, outreach and technology transfer. In Connecticut, this funding helps preserve coastal economies through education partnerships with waterfront and maritime businesses, including aquaculture farmers.