DER staff member examines potential project site by river
DER staff member examines potential project site

We select our wetland, river and flow restoration projects through a state-wide, competitive process. We choose high-priority projects that bring significant ecological and community benefits to the Commonwealth. Once a project is selected as a DER Priority Project, we work with the project owner and other project team members to bring the project to fruition.

The Priority Project selection process begins with a pre-Request for Responses (RFR). During this time, we encourage applicants to contact us to discuss project ideas. Once the formal Request for Responses is released, applicants typically have six weeks to respond. Both the pre-RFR and the RFR itself are released through the Commonwealth’s COMMBUYS procurement website. Eligible applicants include private property owners, municipalities, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions.

Evaluation criteria are released with the RFR. Typically, DER selects projects based on ecological benefit, benefit to the community, and local leadership. Selected projects are eligible for technical services such as data collection, engineering, design work, and permitting; project management and fundraising assistance from DER staff; and small grants. DER reviews each project’s progress and needs on an annual basis and works with the project sponsor to determine the type of assistance that will be most useful. Once a project is selected to the Priority Project list, there is no need to reapply.

For projects that have high potential for ecological benefit but are constrained by uncertainties regarding critical feasibility issues, DER may offer a Provisional Project designation. Following the first year as a Provisional Project, DER will review the progress that has been made toward resolving key feasibility uncertainties. Projects that have resolved identified issues may receive full Priority Project status.  

For project locations, see our DER Priority Projects Map

For pictures of active and completed projects, see our Flickr photostream.