State and Federal Officials Solicit Land Protection Projects in the Sudbury River Watershed
BOSTON - Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. today announced that his office, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - together comprising the Nyanza Natural Resource Damages Trustee Council - are soliciting proposals to acquire high priority parcels along the Sudbury River corridor that provide important natural resource benefits.
A total of $700,000 is available for land acquisition to conserve habitats along the Sudbury River and its tributaries. These funds were allocated as part of the final restoration plan and environmental assessment (Final RP/EA) for the Nyanza Chemical Superfund site that authorized 12 projects benefiting the wildlife, people and landscape of the Sudbury River Watershed.
"The Commonwealth has conserved more than 100,000 acres under Governor Patrick's leadership," said EEA Secretary Sullivan. "These funds will continue those efforts by protecting the Sudbury River Watershed, which boasts a high-quality mosaic of species, habitats and other natural resources."
"The Nyanza natural resource damages settlement supports projects with wide-ranging benefits to wildlife and people, including healthier wetlands for waterfowl, enhanced streams for brook trout, and opportunities for enjoying the outdoors such as newly accessible trails at the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge," said Fish & Wildlife Service Regional Director Wendi Weber. "We encourage local organizations and towns to apply for the current grant, which provides an opportunity to protect land within the watershed; preserving the special character, wildlife habitat and environment of the area."
"We expect some great projects to be funded through this effort, which will help us recover and improve access to important wetland and river habitat along the Sudbury River Watershed," said NOAA Fisheries Regional Administrator John Bullard. "This will benefit fish populations, like river herring, American eel and American shad, and provide recreational opportunities and economic benefits to the 15 communities in this watershed."
In 1988, the Trustee Council reached a $3 million settlement with parties for natural resources harmed by mercury and other contaminants from the Nyanza site in Ashland. Since that time, interest earned on the settlement funds has increased the total amount of funding available for restoration activities to approximately $3.7 million. A copy of the Final RP/EA that was released in August 2012 by the Trustee Council following public review and comment is available at: Nyanza file size 6MB
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 Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Natural Resources Damages (NRD) Program web site at: NRD Hard copies of application materials are available at the Ashland Public Library.
An applicant conference will be held on Thursday, May 8, 2014, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center, 680 Hudson Road, Sudbury. At this meeting, the Nyanza NRD Trustee Council 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 Thursday, May 15, 2014, and proposals will be accepted by MassDEP until 4:30 p.m. on June 30, 2014. Additional information can be obtained by contacting Karen Pelto at 617-292-5785 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Nyanza NRD Trustee Council representatives are: Rose Knox and Karen I. Pelto - MassDEP; Molly B. Sperduto - USFWS New England Field Office; and Eric W. Hutchins - NOAA Restoration Center.