PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES FEDERAL GRANTS TO FIVE BUZZARDS BAY WATERSHED COMMUNITIES
BOSTON – Monday, November 5, 2012 – Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan today announced $122,000 in federal grants to help five South Coast communities protect and restore Buzzards Bay.
Administered by the Office of Coastal Zone Management's (CZM) Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program, the grants help South Coast and Cape Cod communities protect and restore water quality and natural resources in Buzzards Bay and its surrounding watershed. This year’s grant awards will fund land conservation and infrastructure improvement projects designed to conserve open space and rare species habitat, protect drinking water resources, restore wetlands, study nitrogen discharges to estuaries, and help open shellfish beds.
“Preserving valuable habitat and water resources continues to be a key priority of the Patrick-Murray Administration and these projects will go a long way to benefitting the Commonwealth’s coast line,” said Secretary Sullivan. “I want to thank these communities and their leaders for working with us to protect some of our state’s most precious resources.”
The federal grants, which last year totaled $282,512 for seven southeastern Massachusetts communities, are funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program is one of 28 similar programs designated by the EPA.
In 1985, Congress designated Buzzards Bay an Estuary of National Significance. The effort was led by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who joined with others in Congress to pass legislation that led to the creation of the National Estuary Program in 1983. The programs are administered by EPA and state or local partners and are founded on the principle that good science leads to good management. Through the program, scientists and managers meet with the public, industry, local officials and other stakeholders to develop rational and publicly supported Action Plans to protect and restore their estuaries.
“The Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program focuses on helping local communities directly address the environmental issues that are affecting the water quality and habitat of the region,” said Bruce Carlisle, CZM Director. “This year’s grants will give these towns the funds they need for these critical projects, which will make a real and lasting difference for Buzzards Bay. I’d like to also recognize the support and collaboration that EPA provides for our National Estuary Programs here in the Commonwealth.”
“We have been fortunate in having this grant program in place for 21 years thanks to the continued support of our legislators,” said Dr. Joseph Costa, Executive Director of the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program. “This program works because of the commitment and leadership of city and town officials and the support of local citizen groups who have been able to leverage local dollars and in-kind services to fund many innovative projects over the years.”
“These grants will do a great deal to protect our crucial natural resources,” said Sen. Marc Pacheco, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “Though we have taken great strides toward protecting the environment in our Commonwealth, we must always be aspiring to do more.”
"Buzzards Bay is an important historical, ecological and economic resource for the entire Commonwealth,” said Rep. Anne Gobi, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture. “These grants represent a partnership between the communities and the Federal Government to ensure the continued vitality of the Bay."
This year's awards to Buzzards Bay watershed communities are:
- Mattapoisett -- $35,000 to acquire and permanently protect 19.5 acres of wetlands and forest in two parcels of land in the Mattapoisett River Valley aquifer.
- Westport -- $20,000 to develop engineering designs to treat stormwater discharge at Drift Road.
- Wareham -- $20,000 to develop engineering designs to treat stormwater discharge in the downtown Wareham Village area.
- Wareham -- $3,000 for a real estate appraisal on a 28.4-acre property along the shores of the Weweantic River for a land protection project.
- Dartmouth -- $17,000 to help the town complete a comprehensive feasibility study as part of an effort to restore permanent tidal flushing to a salt pond at the corner of Gulf Road and Smith Neck Road.
- Carver -- $27,000 to the Town of Carver for a study on nutrient loss from cranberry bogs to groundwater in the Weweantic and Wareham River watersheds.
The Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) is the agency within the 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.