The American Littoral Society's New York State Beach Cleanup (NYSBC) program will gain a new face and focus in the coming year thanks to funding from the Long Island Sound Futures Fund (LISFF).
While the nearly 40-year-old NYSBC program will continue to coordinate beach cleanups all around New York state, it will aim to increase involvement at 30 sites along the shorelines in Queens, Westchester, Suffolk and Nassau Counties, including inland areas of the Long Island Sound watershed, in order to stem the flow of trash to the sound.
To help facilitate the effort, the Littoral Society has brought onboard Jessica Klich as the NYSBC Program Coordinator. Jessica initially joined the Society in the summer of 2019 as a seasonal employee of the Northeast Chapter Youth Restoration Corps Program (R-Corps).
Born on the Lower East Side of New York City, Jessica's passion for coastal protection first developed when she participated in an oyster growing project in her city high school. A subsequent state exam for aquaculture then led her to SUNY Cobleskill, where she began work on an Environmental Studies associate degree and a bachelor's degree in Aquaculture and Fisheries that will be complete by the fall of 2024.
Last summer, Jessica began working with the NYSBC and developed a passion to carry the program into the future. Late in 2022, the Littoral Society was awarded an $87,000 grant from the LISFF to enhance the beach cleanup program.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's (NFWF) Long Island Sound Futures Fund supports projects to fully restore the health and living resources of Long Island Sound. It operates within a partnership of federal and state agencies, foundations, non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, user groups, and individuals dedicated to restoring and protecting the Sound. Marine debris negatively impacts coastal watersheds and creates public health hazards to local communities, while also threatening the habitats on which many species depend.
In addition to helping organize volunteers to collect trash and recyclables along the sound and watershed, the NYSBC program will work to:
Stretching more than 110 miles into the Atlantic, with 600 miles of coastline, the Long Island Sound is an estuary that provides economic and recreational benefits to millions of people while also providing habitat for more than 1,200 invertebrates, 170 species of fish and dozens of species of migratory birds. All 9 million people who live, work, and play in the watershed impacting the Sound can benefit from and help build on the progress that has already been made to restore its health and living resources.
The vision for the Sound is of waters that are clean, clear, safe to swim in, and charged with life. It is a vision of waters nourished and protected by extensive coastal wetlands, by publicly accessible, litter-free beaches and preserves, and of undeveloped islands. It is a vision of abundant and diverse wildlife, of flourishing commercial fisheries, of harbors accessible to the boating community, and of a regional consciousness and a way of life that protects and sustains the ecosystem.
The LISFF supports efforts to test innovative approaches to conservation, deliver transformative projects and support people and communities who value the sound and take a direct role in its future. Funding priorities for this program include:
Since 2005, the Long Island Sound Futures Fund has invested $42 million in 570 projects. The program has generated an additional $54 million in grantee match for a total conservation impact of $96 million for regional and local projects. The projects have added 119 river miles for fish passage, restored 811 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat, treated 206 million gallons of pollution, and engaged over 5 million people in the protection and restoration of the Sound.
NFWF manages the Long Island Sound Futures Fund in partnership with the Long Island Sound Study through U.S. EPA’s Long Island Sound Office. Other partners include U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Long Island Sound Funders Collaborative.