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Local Environmental Groups Receive Grants From the Gulf of Maine Council
December 9, 1999
The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment awarded grants to four Massachusetts' nonprofit groups to protect and enhance the vitality of the Gulf of Maine. Funds were given to: the International Collaborative for Science, Education, and the Environment, Inc. for its Roxbury Science Workshop Muddy River Project, the Massachusetts Audubon Society Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary for barrier beach projects, the Boston Harbor Association for a marine debris project, and the Friends of Belle Isle Marsh for a nature walk in Winthrop.
"Through these grants we are able to provide local citizens with the tools to improve the quality of our coastal waters and prevent the continuous deterioration of our shorelines," said Bob Durand, Secretary of the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs and Gulf of Maine Council Member. "The projects we are funding this year balance environmental stewardship, scientific research, and public education - key ingredients in the protection of our waterways."
"I congratulate these four environmental groups for the work they are doing in the Gulf of Maine and am glad that we can provide them with funds to further their efforts," said Tom Skinner, Director of Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management and also a Council member. 'The range of environmental issues the projects address is impressive and underscores the quality of their applications.
The International Collaborative for Science, Education, and the Environment, Inc. received a $5,000 grant to fund the Roxbury Science Workshop Muddy River Project. Fifteen middle school students from Boston schools will study the Muddy River, a short urban waterway that flows from Jamaica Pond to the Charles River in Boston. The students will design and build equipment to conduct fieldwork on the river; collect data and take photographs of river flow, wildlife habitat, vegetation, and litter accumulation; and analyze water chemistry. An exhibit showing the sampling equipment used and the results of the project will be displayed at a Mini Science Museum being developed in Roxbury.
The Massachusetts Audubon Society Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary was awarded $7,000 to support restoration projects on three barrier beaches in the Sanctuary. These beaches are used as nesting sites by endangered Piping Plovers, Least Terns, and Diamond Back Terrapins. Unfortunately, due to the degradation of the beaches, the nests have been repeatedly washed away. The restoration efforts include installing snow fencing to trap wind blown sand and slowly build up the beaches, planting beach grass to prevent erosion, enclosing nesting sites with fencing, and posting the fenced sites with educational signage. The nesting activity on the beaches will be monitored by volunteers over time to document the number of shorebirds, terns, and terrapins roosting at these sites. Educational exhibits will also be installed at the Sanctuary.
The Boston Harbor Association (BHA) was awarded $10,000 to clean up litter and other marine debris in Boston Harbor. The BHA will bring together public agencies, waterfront businesses, environmental advocates, and community leaders to develop and implement a strategy to reduce the introduction of marine debris into the Harbor, as well as remove marine debris. The project strategy will address small floating trash that is often generated from on-shore or recreational boating activities, as well as larger debris generated from dilapidated wharves and piers around the waterfront.
The Friends of Belle Isle Marsh, a small non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the 250-acre salt marsh just outside Boston Harbor, received $9,900 to build the Winthrop Greenway, a nature walk along the southern edge of the marsh. The Greenway will include educational signs and easy access to the marsh. On Earth Day 2000, teams of volunteers will begin establishing the path, cutting reeds and other bordering vegetation, cleaning up debris, and posting signs. The Winthrop Greenway, when completed, will provide an opportunity for students and community members to enjoy the splendor of the Marsh.
Grant announcements were made at the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine
Environment's biannual meeting on December 9. The Council was established in
1989 to foster cross-border cooperation among government, academic, and private
groups on issues that affect the Gulf, which extends from Nantucket to Cape
Sable, Nova Scotia. Its mission is to maintain and enhance environmental quality
in the Gulf of Maine to allow for sustainable resource use by existing and future
generations. Public and private representatives from Massachusetts, New
Hampshire, Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia oversee the Gulf of Maine
Council Program and its activities in marine monitoring, habitat protection, public
education, and pollution prevention. In honor of its 10-year anniversary, the
Council is proclaiming 2000 as the year of the Gulf of Maine.