For Immediate Release - June 30, 2014

State Environmental Officials Solicit Habitat Restoration Projects For the Upper Sudbury River Watershed

BOSTON – Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett today announced that proposals are now being accepted for projects to improve natural resources habitat in the Upper Sudbury River watershed, utilizing $157,426 from the General Motors (GM) trust fund connected to the company’s former site in Framingham.

The proposals for riparian and wetland habitat restoration could include re-establishing physical stream channel and river bank features within the watershed and enhancing wetland functions through removal of invasive species and replanting with native species.  

“Restoring our precious environmental resources is critical for our communities, our wildlife and for the benefit of future generations,” said Secretary Bartlett. “The projects supported by this funding will help us get closer to these important goals.”

The Natural Resource Damages funds were allocated as part of a May 2012 bankruptcy agreement between the GM Liquidation Company General Unsecured Creditors Trust and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). The environmental damages associated with GM’s former assembly plant in Framingham, which operated from the 1940s until 1994, included contamination of Beaverdam Brook sediment, banks and wetlands from heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

“MassDEP looks forward to working with Upper Sudbury River area communities to identify and implement projects that will restore habitats critical to the health of this watershed,” said MassDEP Commissioner David W. Cash.

Details regarding project eligibility and instructions for submitting a grant application are provided in the Grant Announcement and Application package that is available on the MassDEP Natural Resources Damages (NRD) Program web site here: http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dep/cleanup/sites/nrd/sudnrdgr.pdf

Hard copies of application materials are also available at the Ashland Public Library.

An applicant conference will be held on Tuesday, August 5, 2014, from 7-9 p.m. at the Memorial Building, 150 Concord Street, Framingham. At this meeting, MassDEP will review the grant announcement and application and will address attendees' questions regarding the grant application process.

Written questions will be accepted by MassDEP until Tuesday, August 19, 2014, and proposals will be accepted by MassDEP until 4:30 p.m. on September 19, 2014. Additional information about the application process can be obtained by contacting MassDEP NRD Program Coordinator Karen Pelto at 617-292-5785 or at karen.pelto@state.ma.us

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.