For Immediate Release - October 25, 2013

Massachusetts Ecological Restoration Projects Receive $10.4 Million in Federal Superstorm Sandy Funding

BOSTON – Friday, October 25, 2013 - In advance of next week’s one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, the Patrick Administration today announced $10.4 million in Superstorm Sandy funding from the Obama Administration’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for four ecological restoration projects that will protect Massachusetts coasts and create jobs.

"Climate change adaptation is one of our top priorities," said Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “This federal funding will aid in our ongoing efforts to protect our coast from the devastating impacts of a massive weather event. These projects will also pay dividends for the Massachusetts economy through the creation of jobs and economic output for local communities."

“Our Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) works very closely with the USFWS to restore and protect wetlands, rivers and other natural areas across the Commonwealth,” said Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Mary Griffin. “We are thrilled to once again work with our federal partners and local communities on these important restoration projects that will greatly benefit fish and wildlife habitats and the people that live and work in these areas.”

"This funding will go a long way in furthering the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's ongoing work with the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, Division of Ecological Restoration to support local conservation partnerships to keep our coastal areas resilient against storms and a changing climate,” said Wendy Weber, Northeast Regional Director of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.“These projects will provide clean water and healthy habitats for both people and wildlife."

A recent study commissioned by DER showed that the average economic output resulting from project design and construction generates a 75 percent return on investment and creates or maintains 12.5 full-time-equivalent jobs for every $1 million spent. Thanks to the combined investments from the Obama Administration, state and local partners totaling $14.5 million, these four projects are estimated to generate 181 jobs and $25.4 million in economic output for the Massachusetts economy.

These projects aim to restore the natural benefits that healthy rivers and wetlands provide for people and the environment. Also known as ecosystem services, these benefits include clean water, flood protection, fisheries habitat, recreational opportunities and climate change preparedness.

An economic analysis of the projected water quality benefits of the Muddy Creek Estuary project, commissioned by DER, found that the project will save Chatham and Harwich millions of dollars in wastewater infrastructure costs.

“When you tally up all of the economic and environmental benefits restoration projects deliver, it makes a very compelling case for investing in the health care of Massachusetts’ natural habitats,” said DER Acting Director Hunt Durey. “Collectively, these habitats form a ‘green infrastructure’ foundation that supports economic prosperity, public health and safety and a high quality of life for Massachusetts residents.”

Below are the Massachusetts ecological restoration projects benefitting from the $10.4 million in federal funding:

Mill River Restoration - Taunton - USFWS award $650,000

The purpose of this project is to remove two aging mill dams from the Mill River in Taunton and increase the resiliency of natural and human infrastructure. The project will open up 30 miles of high quality habitat for American eel and river herring and reduce the probability of flooding and eliminate the potential for catastrophic dam breaches posed by these obsolete dams.

Round Hill Salt Marsh Restoration - Dartmouth - USFWS award $2,277,000

This project will directly restore 11.6 acres of salt marsh functions and values lost for nearly 100 years due to historic filling. It will also protect and enhance the ecological integrity of the connected 70-acre Meadow Shores Marsh by enhancing the tidal inlet through which the tidal waters sustaining these marshes flow and increase tidal flushing to the existing marsh. This will be accomplished by directly removing up to 75,000 cubic yards of fill material from the marsh, revegetating and replacing the defunct wooden culvert beneath Ray Peck Drive with a larger, properly-sized culvert for unimpeded tidal exchange within the restored marsh.

Parkers River Restoration - Yarmouth - USFWS award $3,718,000

The Parker’s River Restoration Project will restore natural tidal hydrology to a 219-acre estuarine system (tidal river and coastal salt pond) through replacement of a tidally restrictive bridge with a larger span structure and enhance diadromous fish passage through replacement of two underperforming fish passage structures. The project will improve coastal system function and resiliency and improve diadromous fish passage.

Muddy Creek Wetland Restoration - Chatham and Harwich - USFWS award $3,762,000

The 55-acre Muddy Creek project site is a tidally-restricted estuary with fringing degraded tidal marshes. Objectives include enhancing coastal system resiliency through the restoration of a mix of estuarine and subtidal wetlands, improved water quality and restoration of passage for diadromous fish. Restoration actions included the removal of twin undersized 3 feet x 3 feet stone culverts and replacement with a 94-foot span bridge and open channel.

The mission of the Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) 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 Wetlands Restoration Programs.

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is responsible for promoting the conservation and enjoyment of the Commonwealth's natural resources. DFG carries out this mission through land protection and wildlife habitat management, management of inland and marine fish and wildlife species, and ecological restoration of fresh water, salt water, and terrestrial habitats. 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 rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.