PRESS RELEASE, August 8, 2017, Issued by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Baker-Polito Administration Announces Grants for Water Protection and Habitat Restoration Projects
BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded $506,344 in grants from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) to 15 projects across the state that will restore aquatic habitat, rivers and watersheds, monitor water quality, protect endangered species and promote environmental stewardship.
“Last year’s drought showed how precious and vulnerable our water resources are, and how important it is we act proactively to protect these resources and the wildlife that rely on them,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These innovative local projects will improve water quality across the state and make our natural resources more resilient to the effects of climate change.”
“Our administration remains committed to working collaboratively with our community-based partners to protect and restore rivers, wetlands, and the valuable natural resources throughout the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Thanks to the over 50,000 residents who have purchased environmental license plates, we are able to provide necessary funding for the work these groups and municipalities do to ensure the health of the state’s water resources.”
Since it was founded in 1988 as part of the Boston Harbor cleanup, the Massachusetts Environmental Trust has awarded more than $20 million in grants to organizations statewide that protect and enhance the state’s water resources, from supporting water projects in communities to protecting coastal habitats. Funding for this grant program comes from the sale of the state’s three environmentally-themed specialty license plates: the Right Whale Tail, the Leaping Brook Trout and the Blackstone Valley Mill.
“These grants will fund vital work to restore habitat, preserve endangered species and protect public health,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “I encourage all Massachusetts drivers to consider buying an environmental license plate from the RMV to help us continue to support these important environmental projects.”
The grants awarded by the Baker-Polito Administration include:
American Turtle Observatory, Inc. (New Salem) - $40,000 was awarded to evaluate the effects of habitat and wetland change on four long-lived, freshwater turtle species of concern.
Center for Coastal Studies (Provincetown) - $37,484 was awarded to measure total nitrogen in six embayments on Cape Cod to identify and quantify different sources through the use of stable isotope analysis.
Connecticut River Watershed Council (Greenfield) - $40,500 was awarded to a second year of a 3-year project to launch and sustain freshwater mussel restoration in the Connecticut River Watershed, with emphasis on the endangered brook floater mussel.
Green Roots, Inc. (Chelsea) - $25,000 was awarded to design, permit and construct ecological habitat improvements on the upland banks of the Mill Creek and identify the cause of, and develop a solution to, high bacterial counts in water quality testing results.
Lloyd Center for Environmental Education, Inc. (Dartmouth) - $20,000 was awarded to continue the Climate Science Learning Project (CSLP), an interactive elementary school teaching model introduces web-based learning tools to provide access to information about the effects of climate change on biodiversity. The CSLP will engage 96 classrooms, serving low-income families in Fall River and Greater New Bedford.
Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (Statewide) - $35,000 was awarded to research, write, and publish the Massachusetts Wetlands Buffer Zones Guidebook, a resource on regulating activities in the buffer zones of wetlands and other water resources that will provide model wetland bylaws, ordinances, regulations, and policies that municipalities and conservation commissions can adopt and adapt for buffer zones. The project fills a gap in protecting wetlands and water resources, as there is no definitive source for regulating work in areas that buffer wetlands and other water resources.
Mystic River Watershed Association (Arlington) - $20,000 was awarded to conduct a final season of water quality testing to complete a plan to address nutrient pollution in the Mystic River watershed.
North and South Rivers Watershed Association (Norwell) - $28,500 was awarded to document, scientifically monitor, and tell the story of the physical and biological response of the Third Herring Brook river system after removing the Tack Factory Dam.
OARS, Inc. (Concord) - $25,000 was awarded to develop a report card for the Sudbury-Assabet-Concord rivers to better communicate the changing health of the rivers, with the goal of improving stewardship and restoring river health.
Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition Corp. (Newburyport) - $25,000 was awarded to conduct a hydrodynamic study by Woods Hole Research Group to evaluate factors necessary to restore tidal exchange and fish passage to Fresh Brook in South Wellfleet.
Town of Duxbury - $10,000 was awarded to support a hydrology and hydraulics study to understand the effects that removing the Tempe Street Dam might present.
Town of Ipswich - $25,000 was awarded to underwrite the cost of a feasibility study to remove the Ipswich Mills Dam, including conceptual designs, renderings and cost estimations.
Town of Manchester-by-the-Sea - $41,885 was awarded to conduct feasibility studies for the removal of a tide gate, culvert enlargements, and restoration of Central Pond and the Sawmill Brook stream channel.
Trout Unlimited, Inc. (Chester & Worthington) - $38,600 was awardedto remove two impassable instream barriers and reopen access to over 30 miles of interconnected coldwater habitat on Kinne Brook, a tributary to the Middle Branch of the Westfield River.
UMass Amherst - $94,375 was awarded to develop a water isotope mapping tool for fingerprinting sources and understanding drought impacts. The data will be incorporated into a public domain for assisting water managers and watershed stakeholders in assessing the sustainability of freshwater recourses.
“Protecting natural resources is a vital component in the fight against climate change,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst). “These grants will empower our communities to pursue local conservation efforts, building a more sustainable future for the Commonwealth as a whole.”
“I am thrilled that UMass has been awarded this grant,” said State Representative Solomon Goldstein-Rose (D-Amherst). “I've visited some of UMass's water technology facilities myself, and they are doing amazing work that contributes important knowledge and capabilities to communities around the state.”
“Habitats for aquatic life is are often at risk from pollution, inadequate infrastructure and other challenges. These Trust grants will assist cities and towns across the state by connecting them with tools and resources,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “The Administration is working with communities and giving them access to funding which puts local leadership into action.”
“Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration for assisting Ipswich and Manchester-by-the-Sea,” said State Representative Brad Hill (R-Ipswich). “The two feasibility studies, funded through the Massachusetts Environmental Trust, will assist in the critical restoration of the Ipswich River and Manchester-by-the-Sea’s Central Pond and the Sawmill Brook stream.”
“These grants are important investments to protect and enhance natural habitats and environmental quality throughout the Commonwealth,” said State Representative Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington). “I thank the thousands of citizens who support the Environmental Trust by purchasing special license plates, and also the Baker-Polito Administration for making sure that all parts of Massachusetts will benefit from these projects.”
“I'm very pleased that the American Turtle Observatory of New Salem is seeing money from the purchase of these license plates,” said State Representative Susannah Whipps (R-Athol). “The American Turtle Observatory of New Salem is a strong partner in identifying and conserving landscapes that support fresh water turtles in the North Quabbin Region and beyond.”
The Massachusetts Environmental Trust’s specialty environmental license plates can be purchased online here.