Wildwood Lake in Northampton Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association has been awarded a $100,000 Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant by the Department of Environmental Conservation for an investigation by citizen scientists into the health of the local ecosystem.

The Long Island Science Center will train a fleet of citizen scientists to conduct environmental investigations, according to a press release issued yesterday by the State DEC.

FRNCA President Brad Bender said the community association is partnering with the Long Island Science Center to conduct water quality monitoring at Wildwood Lake in Northampton and possibly other local water bodies.

“Wildwood Lake is actually a very clean body of water fed by a deep water aquifer,” Bender said. Human impacts, especially fertilizer use and bodies septic systems, create water quality issues, he said.

The investigations will monitor water quality to better understand impacts and mitigation measures.

FRNCA was one of 31 community-based organizations statewide to receive one of the grant awards totaling $3.1 million, announced yesterday by the State DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. The grants support projects that address environmental and public health concerns.

“Community Impact Grants support nonprofit, community-based organizations implementing a wide range of projects addressing multiple environmental concerns that adversely impact the quality of life in minority and low-income communities across the state,” Seggos said in the press release.

Since 2006, DEC’s Office of Environmental Justice has awarded more than $12 million in funding for 214 projects to help support communities facing a disproportionate burden of environmental pollution, according to the release. This funding assists communities in developing and implementing programs that address environmental issues, harms, and health hazards, while building community consensus, setting priorities, and improving public outreach and education, the DEC said.

FRNCA has been very active when it comes to securing grand monies for a variety of community projects, everything from park improvements to community beautification projects and assistance to other local organizations.

“We’ve actually pulled in about $2 million in grant monies over the past few years,” Bender said. He credited longtime board member and past president Vince Taldone with initiating grant applications for FRNCA and grant writer Chris Kempner with bringing the grant award numbers up.

The organization welcomes new members, Bender said. It meets monthly on the first Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Crohan Community Center, 655 Flanders Road (Route 24) in Flanders. All are welcome, Bender said.

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