As part of the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan (LINAP), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Long Island Regional Planning Council (LIRPC) have developed a new program called Nitrogen Smart Communities (NSC). NSC is a voluntary program that will assist municipalities in Nassau and Suffolk counties identify the main sources of nitrogen pollution and take meaningful and effective actions to reduce, prevent or eliminate nitrogen pollution through a coordinated, community specific strategic plan of action.
A Nitrogen Smart Community Action Plan (NSC Action Plan) will help to steer a municipality’s activities to improve water quality in their community and on Long Island. In some instances, it will demonstrate lead-by-example strategies and initiatives for the broader community. It will also play an important role in the conservation and restoration of natural resources, preservation of public health and increased community resilience in the face of climate change. Reducing nitrogen pollution can also improve citizens’ quality of life, boost the local economy and benefit activities such as, recreation, tourism, fishing, wildlife viewing and boating.
Prior to the launch of a full-scale NSC program, a pilot project will be conducted involving two communities within the Long Island Sound watershed area. A consulting firm will work with the pilot communities to develop their respective community specific NSC Action Plan based on a template created by the DEC and LIRPC. The NSC pilot project will also gather input and information that will be used to fine-tune the program ahead of the island-wide, full-scale launch of the program.
The NSC program will assist municipalities by helping them:
> Understand the primary sources of excess nitrogen in their municipality.
> Identify, develop and implement nitrogen reduction strategies, initiatives and best practices.
> Achieve nitrogen reduction goals associated with county subwatershed plans and other initiatives.
The NSC program will also provide tools, resources and technical assistance.