For Immediate Release - September 09, 2013

Patrick Administration Awards Grants to Protect, Restore Buzzards Bay

$83,000 in federal grants for Rochester, Wareham, Fairhaven and Mattapoisett

BOSTON – September 9, 2013 – Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan today announced $83,460 in federal grants to help four South Coast communities protect and restore Buzzards Bay through land conservation and infrastructure projects.

The projects are designed to conserve open space and rare species habitat, as well as reduce pollution discharges to shellfish beds.

“Preserving valuable habitat and water resources is a key priority of the Patrick Administration,” said Secretary Sullivan. “I thank these communities and their leaders for working with us to protect some of the Commonwealth’s most precious resources.”

“The Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program works directly with local communities to improve the region’s water quality and habitat, and this year’s grants continue to provide the resources necessary to achieve lasting results,” said Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Director Bruce Carlisle. “I’d like to recognize the critical support and collaboration that EPA provides to our National Estuary Programs here in the Commonwealth so that we can continue these efforts.”

“The grants awarded this year will help leverage other funds and actions,” said Dr. Joseph Costa, Executive Director of the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program. “Partnerships such as these projects help to meet our common goals to protect and restore water quality and natural resources in the Buzzards Bay watershed.”

"I am pleased the Commonwealth is taking steps to protect Buzzard's Bay, one of our precious resources and habitats," said Sen. Marc R. Pacheco of Taunton, Senate Chairman of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. "We owe it to our citizens and to the many rare species in Massachusetts to improve our quality of water and the condition of our important shellfish beds."

"The monies received by Fairhaven and Mattapoisett will further protect a beautiful and scenic coastal area located in both towns and improve public access to it", said Senator Mark Montigny of New Bedford. "These types of grants are essential to our efforts to preserve, protect and enjoy open space and the wildlife that live in it as well as improve the quality of our coastal waters."

“Protecting natural resources, like the Dexter Mill Brook in Rochester, is vitally important to preserving the natural heritage and rural character of the South Coast,” said Senator Michael Rodrigues of Westport. “This grant provided to the Town of Rochester and the Rochester Land Trust is a strong example of an enduring partnership working to safeguard our Commonwealth’s air, land and water for current and future generations.”

“I have a strong and continued interest in protecting the watershed and the water quality of Buzzards Bay,” said Representative William M. Straus of Mattapoisett. “I am pleased that this funding will go towards preserving and maintaining the quality of this important natural resource and promote conservation measures throughout the region.“

The grants are funded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and administered by CZM through the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program. This year’s grants to Buzzards Bay watershed communities are:

  • The Town of Rochester, which received $20,000 to protect land and habitat along Dexter Mill Brook. The town will use the funds to hire an engineer to conduct a field survey and prepare a plan for the 48 acre property. The parcel consists of agricultural fields and forested upland, and contains endangered species and critical natural habitats. The town is partnering with the Rochester Land Trust and will use the plan to assist the property owner to permanently protect areas through deed restrictions.
  • The Town of Wareham, which received $20,000 to develop and permit engineering plans to treat contaminated runoff discharging to the Wareham River estuary. The project will treat runoff from two outfalls located in a bulkhead at Besse Park in downtown Wareham. The receiving waters are polluted and closed to shellfishing. This project, together with other stormwater projects being undertaken by the town, will help improve water quality in the estuary.
  • The Towns of Fairhaven and Mattapoisett, which received $21,730 each to support a larger initiative to permanently protect 398 acres around Nasketucket Bay. The Towns of Fairhaven and Mattapoisett, Buzzards Bay Coalition and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation (DCR) are collaborating on the broader project. Portions of the project area have rare and endangered species, as well as important habitat. The project will link to the local bike path and add 18 acres of waterfront property to the Nasketucket Bay State Reservation.

Since 2007, the Patrick Administration has conserved more than 110,000 acres of land throughout the Commonwealth. Under this unprecedented effort, more than 16,000 acres in 10 habitat reserves have been preserved, and more than 170 parks have been created or restored.

The Office of Coastal Zone Management is EEA’s lead policy and planning agency on coastal and ocean issues. Created in 1985, the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program provides grants and technical assistance to South Coast and Cape Cod communities to protect and restore water quality and natural resources in Buzzards Bay and its surrounding watershed and is one of 28 similar programs designated by the EPA.