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State Announces Environmental Grants
February 19, 1996
The Executive Office of Environmental Affairs announced $200,000 in coastal water pollution control grants to seven municipalities under the Coastal Pollutant Remediation (CPR) Program. The announcements were made at the Bourne Town Library by Trudy Coxe, Secretary of Environmental Affairs, and Peg Brady, Director of Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management, whose agency administers the program. The municipalities receiving awards are Barnstable, Bourne, Ipswich, Mattapoisett, Seekonk, Wareham, and Weymouth.
The CPR Program will appropriate up to $4 million over the next five years for projects which reduce transportation-related nonpoint pollution sources, specifically stormwater runoff from roadways and sewage from boats. The area covered under the CPR program includes all of the watersheds that flow into and consequently impact Massachusetts coastal waters. The program was created under the State Transportation Bond Bill passed by the legislature under the leadership of Rep. Thomas Cahir in December, 1994.
"The Coastal Pollutant Remediation Program underscores the state's commitment to improve coastal water quality and to increase local economic opportunities," explained Trudy Coxe, Secretary of the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. "Cleaner coastal waters means shellfish beds can be opened, which will allow more commercial and recreational diggers to harvest these resources. Clean water also improves prospects for aquaculture throughout the Commonwealth."
"Transportation agencies need to work in cooperation with towns and the environmental community to reduce the devastating consequences of pollution in our coastal waters," emphasized Representative Thomas Cahir (D-from the 3rd Barnstable District and Chairman of the Transportation Committee) who was instrumental in establishing the CPR program. "I am pleased to be associated with this effort."
Nonpoint source pollution occurs when rain water and snow melt run over roadways, farm fields, timberland, lawns, and other surfaces. The water collects contaminants, such as toxic petroleum compounds from roads and pesticides from farm fields, and deposits them into nearby ponds, rivers, streams, and coastal waterbodies. Overtime, these contaminants can build up to levels that cause algal blooms in ponds, shellfish bed closures, and fish habitat destruction. Runoff from roadways are known to be significant sources of sediment, bacteria, heavy metals, and petroleum hydrocarbons.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), with assistance from MCZM, has developed a comprehensive strategy to regulate stormwater discharges through existing state programs as described in the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program. To meet state water quality standards, DEP's "Stormwater Initiative" proposes to control urban sources of nonpoint pollution by setting performance standards as goals and using Best Management Practices (BMPs) for managing runoff from new development and redevelopment projects. Structural BMPs for urban areas might include catch basins which channel surface runoff, capture sediments, and filter pollutants before the runoff is released into adjacent waterbodies. The Coastal Pollutant Remediation Program will provide funding for towns to implement BMPs that remediate specific existing nonpoint pollution sources from past roadway development.
A primary goal of the CPR program is to complement other state initiatives aimed at restoring water quality in order to open shellfish beds for recreational and commercial use. More than 40,000 acres of shellfish beds have been opened over the last year thanks to the Shellfish Bed Restoration Program and efforts by the Division of Marine Fisheries to conduct current sanitary surveys to assess water quality and verify the safety of shellfisheries for public use.
"MCZM recognizes the importance of helping communities deal with road runoff and other stormwater issues," explained Peg Brady, Director of MCZM. "I am excited that we are administering the CPR grants, which will allow communities to improve their coastal water quality."
MCZM will be soliciting application for the second round of grants in April and hopes
to be able to double the number of grants available for funding in the second round.
Municipalities who have identified a coastal pollution problem and are interested in developing
a proposal are encouraged to Contact MCZM's Steve Barrett at (617) 727-9530, x413 or your
MCZM regional office.