Environmental fund awards grants to local conservation projects

Local marine organisms and seafood lovers alike may soon see a difference in their quality of life.

The Community Foundation of Greater New Haven announced last week that it will award eight grants totalling approximately $92,000 to local organizations to sponsor efforts toward the improvement of local water quality. Yale received more than $21,000 from the grants for two separate projects, one to measure mercury levels in local finfish and shellfish and another to educate environmental activists on river processes, spokeswoman Tricia Caldwell said. The six other grants will go to Connecticut organizations dedicated to environmental protection, such as the Watershed Partnership, which will campaign to stop point pollution from lawn pesticides and fertilizers.

A three-person committee, including Gordan Geballe, the assistant dean of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, selected the winning organizations. All projects will focus on the Quinnipiac River, New Haven Harbor or other local watersheds.

The Quinnipiac River Fund was founded in 1990 when a court battle between environmental groups and New Haven-based Upjohn Co. over the company’s wastewater discharge into the Quinnipiac River resulted in a settlement of more than $1.2 million paid by Upjohn to the fund, which currently has a balance of just under $2.5 million.

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