Long Island Sound restoration funds advance in federal budget plan, Sen. Murphy says

Greenwich – Sen. Chris Murphy delivered good news on Aug. 24 about prospects for federal funding for Long Island Sound programs including Connecticut Sea Grant to an audience of conservation group representatives, local and state government officials and the public.

Sen. Chirs Murphy speaks to audience in Greenwich on Aug. 24 about Long Island Sound funding.
Sen. Chris Murphy tells an audience in Greenwich about promising prospects for Long Island Sound funding.

While funding for cleanup and habitat restoration programs for the Sound and other waterways was eliminated in Pres. Trump’s budget plan, Congress’ current proposed version of fiscal 2018 federal budget includes $8 million for the Sound, Murphy said.  The fiscal 2017 budget funded $4 million worth of restoration programs in the estuary, which is shared by Connecticut and New York.

“The final appropriations bill doubled funding for Long Island Sound,” Murphy told an audience of about 50 people gathered at the Bruce Museum’s Seaside Center overlooking a public beach. “This will double the number of projects we can fund.”

Also in the proposed budget is $3 million in new funding for aquaculture research, said Murphy, who is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He noted that much of that will be spent at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s aquaculture lab in Milford.

“This will be used for research on how to restore shellfish beds,” he said, noting that shellfish farming has both economic and environmental benefits because shellfish filter nutrients and enhance water quality.

Funding for National Sea Grant programs, run as federal-state partnerships, was also eliminated in the Trump budget plan, but was restored to $65 million for base programs and $11.5 million for Sea Grant aquaculture. Connecticut Sea Grant is one of 33 programs in coastal and Great Lakes states.

“These were programs slated for big cuts that we were able to preserve,” Murphy said. He noted that while water quality has improved in the Sound in recent decades, continued investment is needed to continue progress.

While there is bipartisan disagreement on many federal environmental initiatives, Murphy said both parties agree that support for “backyard environmental protection” such as restoration of waterways should be maintained.

UConn Prof. Charles Yarish gives book about Long Island Sound to Sen. Murphy.

UConn Prof. Charles Yarish gives Sen. Murphy a copy of the 2014 book he co-authored, \"Long Island
Sound: Prospects for an Urban Sea.\" (photos by Judy Benson / Connecticut Sea Grant)

Senate action is good news for Sea Grant

On a bipartisan vote, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved funding for the National Sea Grant program at $65 million for base programs and $11.5 million for Sea Grant aquaculture. Part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency budget, the funding for National Sea Grant supports Sea Grant programs in 33 states, including Connecticut Sea Grant. This follows similar action in the House of Representatives and bodes well for the future of Sea Grant, which had been slated for termination under the President’s budget proposal. Connecticut Sea Grant is grateful for the support that Congress has demonstrated for the program, and the services it provides to communities and the maritime economy. While changes could still be made before passage of a final budget, the prospects for Sea Grant are promising.

Letter from Our Director re Sea Grant Budget

FY17 federal budget agreement would continue to support Sea Grant

Friends and colleagues,
As you may know, President Trump’s budget proposal included a $30M cut (out of a $73M total for the program) to Sea Grant for FY17, the current fiscal year that ends on September 30, and an elimination of the funding for Sea Grant altogether for FY18, which starts October 1, 2017. Thanks to the sustained efforts of our stakeholders expressing the value of Sea Grant to their organizations, and the support of members of Congress, the budget agreement for the rest of FY17 includes funding for Sea Grant at $72.5M, which represents only a manageable 0.7% cut, rather than the 41% cut proposed by the President. This is a clear reflection on the value of stakeholders mobilization and the democratic process in action, and I thank all of you for your continued support.

I want to also mention what’s coming for the FY18 budget. President’s request is to zero out Sea Grant was made public as part of the “skinny” budget request released in early March, which mobilized stakeholders in support of Sea Grant. As a result, both the House and Senate circulated letters of support for Sea Grant, with signatures from roughly a quarter of the members of Congress. The release of the more detailed version of the President’s budget is expected later this month, and we still expect Sea Grant zeroed out. This should not be considered a failure, it is just part of the process. The real influence of previous stakeholders engagement will likely be manifested through the budget mark ups taking place both in the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. We may ask for your help again later this summer should there be signs that it would help secure reasonable funding to assure that Sea Grant can continue to address your needs.

Thank you all for your continued support!
Sylvain De Guise

Connecticut Sea Grant Arts Funding Program

Deadline April 17, 2017

The Connecticut Sea Grant Arts Funding Program awards up to $1000 to an artist through this competitive funding program. The winning submission will be selected on the basis of its aesthetic quality, relevance to coastal and marine environments and Connecticut Sea Grant themes, as well as its potential impact on non-traditional audiences.

Eligibility: Artists who live in Connecticut, or whose work relates to the Connecticut coast or is Long Island Sound-based.

For more information contact Dr. Syma A. Ebbin, Research Coordinator, Connecticut Sea Grant, at (860) 405-9278 or e-mail

Development Project Funding

Development or ″seed grants″ include start-up funds for small research and outreach projects, pilot studies, publications and conferences generally $5000 or less, typically in the range of $250-$3,000. Seed Grants are accepted on a rolling basis and may be sought at any time from the CTSG Research Coordinator, Syma Ebbin.

Please refer to these guidelines when writing your development grant.