Government and the Long Island Sound

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The Long Island Sound

The Long Island Sound is a vital resource used by both humans and wildlife. The quality of its water is an issue that affects everyone and everything. Scientific studies and continuous monitoring provide evidence as to what actions need to be taken to improve and restore the water quality. In more ways than one, the United States government has devoted much of its time to ensure the revival and protection of the Long Island Sound.

There are many ways to help in the protection of the Long Island Sound. Various government agencies and organizations initiate projects beneficial to the Sound. The government donates grants and monies for funding for the Long Island Sound. There are also bills and legislation passed by the government, which provides laws protecting the sound.

The Long Island Sound Study (LISS) is a partnership devoted in the restoration and protection of the Sound. This partnership involves federal, state, interstate, and local agencies, universities, environmental groups, industry, and the public in a program to protect and restore the health of Long Island Sound. The Long Island Sound Study has seven issues deserving special attention. These issues are low oxygen conditions, otherwise called hypoxia, toxic contamination, pathogen contamination, floatable debris, the impact of these water quality problems and habitat degradation and loss on the health of living resources, public involvement and education, and land use.

The LISS is undergoing studies that in hopes will reduce the extent of hypoxia. In order to restore the health of Long Island Sound additional nitrogen reduction is needed. Two major research efforts have provided much of the information on how low oxygen conditions affect living resources in the Sound. The EPA's (Environmental Protections Agencies) Office of Research and Development conducted a study which was the first major research effort.

The study used a variety of species of fish, crab, shrimp, lobster, and other crustaceans known to live on the bottom waters of the Long Island Sound were exposed to low levels of oxygen in the laboratory. The effect of different concentration of oxygen on growth and survival was measured.

The second study which provided information on the effects of low oxygen conditions in the Sound was conducted by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CTDEP). The CTDEP collected bottom- dwelling fish and invertebrates and compared the quantity of organisms and number of species with the levels of oxygen in the water. Both of these studies confirmed that severe effects occurred whenever levels of oxygen fell below 2.0 mg/l. Large reductions in the numbers and types of aquatic life present were noted. The lab experiments recorded reductions in both growth and increase in death.

The Long Island Sound Study is receiving funding for the wastewater treatment facility improvements for the Sound. The main source of funding comes from the State Revolving Fund Programs. The Environmental Protections Agency, through the federal Clean Water Act, provides financing to support State Revolving Fund Loan Programs. Connecticut uses the capitalization grant from the EPA to leverage with state bond funds to provide grants and low interest loans.

New York, Connecticut, and EPA along with the federal Clean Water Act are ensuring enforcement to see a healthier Sound. The provisions of the federal Clean Water Act provide a vehicle for ensuring that nitrogen reduction targets are legally enforceable. A section of the Act (303(d)) requires the identification of a Total Maximum Daily Load for pollutants that will result in the accomplishment of water quality standards. Once a Total Maximum Daily Load has been established, the act calls for reductions to be allocated to sources so that the load target is met.

New York, Connecticut, and EPA will use their authorities to provide an...
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