Restore America’s Estuaries Announces RFA for the Long Island Sound Community Impact Fund
Up to $1.5 million available to build capacity in under-resourced Connecticut and New York communities to help protect and restore Long Island Sound
In partnership with the Long Island Sound Study (LISS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) is announcing a request for applications (RFA) for the Long Island Sound Community Impact Fund (LISCIF). The purpose of the LISCIF is to provide technical and financial assistance to communities with environmental justice concerns and improve the quality and accessibility of the Long Island Sound. LISCIF intends to distribute up to $1.5 million in competitive grants in the first round of funding. RAE will also facilitate annual peer-to-peer learning and information sharing meetings among awardees and key stakeholders in the region.
“Innovative programs like the Long Island Sound Community Impact Fund are essential for continued protection and restoration of the Long Island Sound – and for confronting longstanding inequities by dedicating environmental resources to local neighborhoods that need them most,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “I look forward to celebrating the positive impacts of these projects made possible through historic funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and with the vision and support of Restore America’s Estuaries.”
“Long Island Sound is a national treasure with critical environmental, cultural and economic importance,” said EPA Region 2 Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “With the Long Island Sound Community Impact Fund we are advancing environmental justice, as well as restoring and preserving our precious Long Island Sound for communities along the Sound in New York and Connecticut.
The competitive grant program will focus on activities that address challenges and opportunities facing overburdened and underserved communities in Connecticut and New York that affect Long Island Sound. Eligible projects will be community driven, help implement the Long Island Sound Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan, and address challenges and risks faced by communities experiencing disproportionate environmental injustices.
LISCIF’s grantmaking process utilizes a two-step application process: a Letter of Intent (LOI), followed by a limited number of invited, full proposals. LOIs are due by December 1, 2023. Upon selection and invitation, full proposals are due by March 15, 2024. For more information and access to the RFA, please go to LISCIF24 RFA Page. Webinars and technical assistance opportunities for LISCIF will be available in October and the upcoming months.
Funding is available for projects that:
- Result in quantifiable pollutant prevention or reduction;
- Restore habitat within the “Important Coastal Habitat Types” targeted by LISS;
- Foster diverse, abundant populations of fish, birds, and wildlife.
- Increase public engagement, knowledge, and stewardship;
- Enhance community resilience and sustainability;
- Plan and design water quality, habitat restoration, and resilience implementation;
- Increase community-based science;
- Improve data management and accessibility for community action; and
- Other similar activities that the applicant proposes, and EPA approves, that are consistent with section 119 of the Clean Water Act.
RAE will host two informational webinars for potential applicants to learn about the program, walk through the application process, and be able to ask questions of the program director. The first will be October 10 at 10 AM ET and the second will be October 17 at 2 PM ET. Click the respective links to register.
Funding for LISCIF is provided by EPA through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will help meet the goals of the Justice40 Initiative which calls for, “40% of the overall benefits of these Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution”. The EPA defines environmental justice as, “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. This goal will be achieved when everyone enjoys: (1) The same degree or protection from environmental and health hazards, and (2) Equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work”.
For more information on the Long Island Sound Study, please visit: https://longislandsoundstudy.net/