For Immediate Release - February 07, 2012

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces Federal Grants to Protect Commonwealth’s Coastal Water Quality and Habitats

Grants will aid in safeguarding Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays

BOSTON — Tuesday, February 7, 2012 – The Patrick-Murray Administration today announced $135,000 in federal funding to support eight projects across the Commonwealth designed to protect coastal waters through the Massachusetts Bays Program Research and Planning Grants. The projects will help identify the causes of coastal habitat degradation, develop plans to address coastal water quality pollution and protect coastlines across Massachusetts.

"Our coastlines and coastal communities help make up the essence of New England's history and cultural allure," said Governor Deval Patrick. "I thank the Obama Administration and our Congressional partners for providing this assistance to help protect these environmental jewels for future generations to cherish."

Projects funded through this grant program will aid the Massachusetts Bays Program, which is hosted by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), in implementing its Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. This plan serves as a blueprint for protecting the environmental health of Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay.

“Protecting the state’s water resources is critical as we invest in ports along the coast,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, Chair of the Seaport Advisory Council. “By partnering with our congressional delegation, the Obama Administration, and local organizations this funding will support efforts to promote water quality and a healthier environment for the Commonwealth’s coastal communities.”

Funding for the Massachusetts Bays Program and these grants is provided through an annual agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“This program will help bolster local efforts to improve the health of our coasts and estuaries,” said EEA Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. “By bringing state and federal resources together to preserve and protect our coastline, we can make a difference at the local level. I applaud the efforts of these communities and local organizations for their work as environmental stewards of these precious resources.”

“When we bring federal, state and local resources together we’re putting up a full force defense of our coastline," said Senator John Kerry. "These efforts will help our communities beat back pollution and build local expertise to protect our waterways.”

“I’m proud that Massachusetts has secured federal funding to help our coastal communities protect their waters," said Senator Scott Brown. "I will continue to support these important grant programs, as well as awareness initiatives like National Estuaries Day.”

The grant awards, which were offered for the first time in 2011, will go to following municipalities, non-profits and academic institutions:

  • Town of Danvers -- $20,000 to conduct a study to identify a sustainable funding mechanism for stormwater management.
  • The Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen Association -- $7,441 to enhance and expand the River Herring Warden Network.
  • The Saugus River Watershed Council -- $10,000 to conduct a smelt spawning habitat assessment in the Saugus River.
  • The University of New Hampshire -- $25,000 to create an eelgrass habitat suitability model in Plum Island Sound to identify potential restoration sites.
  • The Wildlands Trust -- $6,749 to develop a plan for the South River Greenway and establish a walking trail to restore access along the South River.
  • The Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies -- $22,119 to study the levels and sources of contaminants such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products and detergents in Cape Cod Bay.
  • Salem State University -- $22,992 to explore the nature and causes of reduced water clarity in Salem Harbor and its potential impact on eelgrass habitat.
  • The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries -- $20,000 to identify and prioritize restoration opportunities for coastal aquatic habitats in the Massachusetts Bays Program planning area.

“Protecting coastal water quality and habitat requires a commitment at the local, state and federal levels,” said CZM Director Bruce Carlisle. “This grant program is an excellent example of that collaborative approach, and we are thankful for the funding support from EPA and the commitment of our local partners.”

“The Massachusetts Bays Program is very proud to support these innovative, local estuarine protection and restoration efforts,” said Jay Baker, Director of the Massachusetts Bays Program. “These projects are both at the cutting edge of estuarine research and management issues and grounded in the support of citizens and communities. We look forward to seeing the products of another successful grant round.”

CZM is the agency within EEA charged with protecting Massachusetts’ approximately 1,500-mile coast. Through educational and regulatory programs, CZM seeks to balance human uses of the coastal zone with the need to protect fragile marine resources. The agency’s work includes helping coastal communities anticipate and plan for sea level rise and other effects of climate change, working with cities and towns and the federal government to develop boat sewage no-discharge areas, and partnering with communities and other organizations to restore coastal and aquatic habitats.

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