Trust Receives Additional $3.656 Million for Drinking Water Protection

January 10, 2020

By Yvette DeBow-Salsedo

Conservation News
Water Quality

At the end of December we received news that the Trust was awarded additional funding for source — drinking — water protection by the State of New York!

The funds will be used to acquire land or purchase development rights to protect land over our sole-source aquifer in the Towns of Brookhaven, Riverhead, Southold, Shelter Island and East Hampton.

This is the 3rd consecutive year that the Trust has applied for, and received, funding through this competitive state-wide grant program for our Regional Aquifer Program Land Acquisition Program (RAPLAP). The grant program is administered by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

The funding is part of the State’s Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) program. The Trust will be working with the towns along with the Peconic Estuary Program on outreach, acquisition and restoration. To date, we have been granted just under $9 million for source water protection land acquisition on eastern Long Island.

“Open space is a significant contributor to Long Island’s economy. NY State, Suffolk County, and local towns, and watershed protection groups have prioritized the protection of Long Island’s sole source aquifer to protect drinking and surface water quality. Both are needed to ensure healthy, sustainable, and revitalized communities and businesses and industries, such as agritourism and ecotourism, on the East End of Long Island,” said program coordinator Josh Halsey.

In the 2015 Suffolk County Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan, it states: combined efforts of programs to protect the aquifer system at the federal, state, county and town levels have been very successful in controlling the impacts of development on groundwater — although the continual gradual decline of groundwater quality indicates that additional efforts are required.

“We thank New York State for their willingness to support land acquisition on Long Island to further the efforts underway to protect our drinking and surface waters for future generations,” adds Josh.

Two acquisitions in Brookhaven were made under this program in 2019. We look forward to announcing additional acquisitions under the RAPLAP program in the coming weeks.

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