Empire State Development’s Board of Directors met today in New York City and approved funding totaling $9,832,900, pledging to create 120 new jobs and retain 1069 existing jobs in New York State. The funding will leverage over $245 million in investments across the state.
From the funding, $182,900 will go to the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County (CCE), which unites researchers, students, educators, and community members, to provide learning opportunities in the fields of agriculture, gardening, marine ecosystems, forestry, and nutrition. They will use the grant of up to $182,900 to assist in the expansion of the Peconic Bay Scallop Restoration Project in Suffolk
County, which focuses on restoring the bay scallop population on Long Island to both protect the eco-system and generate marine-related economic activity.
CCE will utilize the Regional Council award from Empire State Development to help expand the Peconic Bay Scallop Restoration project to allow for increased seed production, deployment of spat collectors to increase the number of seeds collected and planted, and educating shellfish companies, including in-field demonstration, on how to successfully grow bay scallops, along with the creation of a marketing event.
The economy of Suffolk County derives hundreds of millions of dollars from marine-related industries and from its diversified agriculture/horticulture industries, all of which benefit from the research –based information and assistance provided by CCE.
The Peconic Bay Scallops Restoration Project was identified and supported by the Long Island Regional Council as a Transformative Project in recognition of the importance of increasing the scallop stocks in the Peconic Bay of Long Island. The stock was in decline for years and innovative efforts by Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County during the past decade have resulted in increased scallop landings, numerous jobs in the industry and $3 million in annual regional economic activity.
The next meeting of the ESD Board of Directors will tentatively be held the third week of July at a location to be announced closer to the time of the event.