For Immediate Release - February 19, 2013

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces $64,650 for Ecological Restoration Projects in Seven Massachusetts Communities

Projects Enhance Habitat, Adapt to Climate Change, and Spur Job Creation and Economic Growth

BOSTON – Tuesday, February 19, 2013 – Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan today announced $64,650 in grants for river and wetland restoration projects in seven communities across the Commonwealth. Funded through the Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Division of Ecological Restoration (DER), these grants will support existing endeavors, designated as Priority Projects.

“Ecological restoration projects provide many benefits to Massachusetts residents across the state,” said Secretary Sullivan. “In addition to job creation, they aid communities with flood mitigation, alleviate the impacts of climate change and improve wildlife habitat.”

The projects selected present the greatest benefit to the Commonwealth – ecologically, socially and economically.

“Not only are we sustaining fish and wildlife habitat by restoring ecosystems, we are also assisting local communities eliminate aging infrastructure such as failing dams and undersized culverts,” said DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin.   

All grants are funded by DER’s Priority Projects Program. The projects are eligible to receive both internal program assistance and contracted technical services funded by DER.

“While contributions per project are relatively modest, state funds leverage on average 6:1 federal, private and foundation funds,” said Tim Purinton, DER Director. “That translates to an investment close to $400,000 to improve our rivers and wetlands.”

Currently, there are 72 Priority Projects across the state. The following grants will support projects in Boston, Lancaster, Lawrence, Milton, North Adams, Plymouth and Scituate.

The grant awards are as follows:  

  • Wekepeke Brook Restoration -- Town of Lancaster, Lancaster, $15,000 -- This project involves the removal of the Bartlett Dam, owned by the Town of Lancaster, for the purpose of improving the ecological health of Wekepeke Brook, decommissioning obsolete infrastructure, and eliminating future liability for the Town.      
  • First Herring Brook Flow Restoration -- North and South Rivers Watershed Association (NSRWA), Scituate, $8,000 -- The Town of Scituate, NSRWA and local, regional, state, and federal partners are working to balance Scituate’s water supply management to ensure adequate water is available for aquatic life in First Herring Brook as well as for Scituate water customers.  
  • Lower Neponset River Restoration -- Neponset River Watershed Association, Boston and Milton, $10,000 -- DER is partnering with the Neponset River Watershed Association, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries to advance restoration options at the Tilestone and Hollingsworth Dam.
  • Beaver Dam Brook Restoration -- Tidmarsh Farm, Inc., Plymouth, $6,650 -- This project will restore approximately 3.5 miles of stream and 250 acres of wetland. Funds will support monitoring, research and public education.  
  • Hoosic River Revitalization -- Hoosic River Revival, North Adams, $10,000 -- This project will improve water quality and the ecological function of the impaired Hoosic River in North Adams, revitalizing downtown business and residential districts.
  • Spicket River Revitalization -- Groundwork Lawrence, Lawrence, $15,000 -- This project will improve habitat and the ecological functions of the Spicket River through restoration of in-stream habitat, riparian corridor improvements including invasive species control and the creation of river access for passive recreation and enjoyment at city-owned Scarito Park and the Bennington-Short Street neighborhood.  

The mission of the Division of Ecological Restoration is to restore and protect the Commonwealth’s rivers, wetlands and watersheds for the benefit of people and the environment. The Division was created in 2009 with the merger of the Riverways and Wetland Restoration Programs and is coordinating 80 ecological restoration projects across the Commonwealth.

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is responsible for promoting the enjoyment and conservation of the Commonwealth’s natural resources.  DFG carries out this mission through land preservation and wildlife habitat management, management of inland and marine fish and game species, and enforcement of the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. DFG promotes enjoyment of the Massachusetts environment through outdoor skills workshops, fishing festivals and other educational programs, and by enhancing access to the Commonwealth’s lakes and ponds.