For Immediate Release - February 13, 2013

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

Grants will aid in safeguarding Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay

BOSTON — Wednesday, February 13, 2013 — The Patrick-Murray Administration today announced $84,543 in federal funding to support six projects designed to protect and enhance coastal waters through the Massachusetts Bays Program’s Research and Planning Grants. The projects seek to understand the causes of coastal habitat degradation, develop plans to address coastal water quality and restore estuarine habitats.

Projects funded with Research and Planning Grants 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.

Funding for the Massachusetts Bays Program, one of 28 National Estuary Programs in the country, and these grants is provided through an annual agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“This program shows the difference we can make in our local communities by bringing state and federal resources together to preserve and protect our coastline,” said EEA Secretary Rick Sullivan. “I applaud the efforts of these organizations for their work in protecting our state’s precious resources.”

The grant awards will go to the following non-profits and academic institutions: 

  • Friends of Herring River, Wellfleet/Truro – $20,000 to evaluate the effectiveness of proposed tidal control structures designed to restore salt marsh conditions to the Herring River floodplain in Wellfleet
  • Neponset River Watershed Association – $7,500 to address water quality concerns in the Neponset River Area of Critical Environmental Concern
  • Cohasset Center for Student Central Research – $10,600 to conduct a survey of river herring populations and perform water quality monitoring in the Gulf River estuary
  • Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries – $8,120 to study the impacts of small docks and piers on salt marsh vegetation in Massachusetts estuaries
  • University of New Hampshire – $20,000 to test the viability of transplanting eelgrass into Plum Island Sound where it was once abundant
  • Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies – $18,323 to conduct an assessment of shoreline change along the coast from Beach Point in Truro to Jeremy Point in Wellfleet

“These grants will not only help protect the water quality and habitats of Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay, they will help sustain the economy and quality of life of our coastal communities, which are dependent on healthy coastal ecosystems,” said CZM Director Bruce Carlisle. “We are thankful for the funding support from EPA and the commitment of our local partners. Together, we are making a real and lasting difference along the coast.” 

“The Massachusetts Bays Program is built upon community partnerships, and we are very proud to support these innovative protection and restoration efforts, developed by local organizations and supported by local communities,” said Pam DiBona, Director of the Massachusetts Bays Program. “The health of estuaries in the region – and beyond – will benefit from the products of this third round of Research and Planning Grants.”

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. The Massachusetts Bays Program is a partnership of citizens, communities, and government that strives to protect and enhance the coastal health and heritage of Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays.