U.S. Congressman Tim Bishop and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone have co-authored a letter to the U.S. secretary of agriculture asking that the Long Island Sound and the East End’s Peconic Estuary be named a “critical conservation area,” a designation that would help fund agricultural conservation, habitat restoration and the sustainable use of soil, water and other natural resources.
The 2014 federal Farm Bill, signed by President Barack Obama in February, created a new program named the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which authorizes $1.3 billion in spending over five years to help farmers in regions of the country facing significant environmental challenges.
Should it receive the designation, the Long Island Sound and Peconic Estuary would collectively be one of eight national critical designation areas.
Bishop, Bellone will formally announce the initiative at Wickham Farms in Cutchogue Monday morning, along with a number of local, regional and national agriculture and environmental advocacy organizations.