OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Federal funding to preserve, protect and restore Long Island Sound expired in 2011.

Environmentalists and conservationists held a roundtable with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Steve Israel on Friday to discuss legislative action, restoration efforts and funding levels.

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Israel said they have introduced a bill that would authorize $40 million a year for restoration and $25 million a year for stewardship on a sustained basis.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports

If the feds don’t restore funding Pat Aitken, Executive Director of Friends of the Bay, thinks Long Island Sound could be destroyed.

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“We’ll be in trouble,” she said.

Chris Gobler, of Stony Brooks’ Marine Science Center, said people’s livelihoods are at stake citing that fisherman are out of work when shellfish beds are closed.

“Obviously the Long Island Sound is a national treasure and it’s something that is not only beautiful to enjoy for our families but it’s also an enormous economic engine,” Gillibrand said.

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The Sound borders New York and Connecticut and officials said it contributes close to $9 billion annually from sport and commercial fishing, boating, recreation and tourism.