For Immediate Release - June 20, 2013

Environmental Officials Celebrate Restoration of Freeman’s Pond Salt Marsh

Officials also honor Patrick Administration’s designation of “Rivers and Wetlands Months” in Massachusetts

BREWSTER –Thursday, June 20, 2013 – State environmental officials and project partners today celebrated the restoration of Freeman’s Pond and Paine’s Creek, a 20-acre salt pond, tidal creek and salt marsh complex that is a tributary to Stony Brook. The restoration project, primarily supported by $650,000 in federal funding, is slated for completion later this month.

“The completion of this project will help improve water quality, replace aging infrastructure and sustain local fisheries in the surrounding area,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “I’d like to thank our municipal and private partners for making this restoration effort a success.

Replacing the undersized and deteriorated culvert will greatly increase tidal flow to the pond and marsh, which has seen an increase in the invasive common reed (Phragmites australis) in recent years. The larger culvert will not only provide full tidal exchange on the restricted higher tides, but will also improve site drainage and water quality.

“This project will improve the marsh’s resilience to increasing sea level rise due to significant open space surrounding the marsh edge, providing a chance for future marsh migration,” said Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Commissioner Mary Griffin.

According to a recent report commissioned by the DFG’s Division of Ecological Restoration, the Commonwealth’s lead on the project, healthy salt marshes capture or sequester carbon more effectively than unhealthy marshes. The ability to capture harmful carbon dioxide can be quantified and that value is estimated to be equivalent to avoiding $100,000 of damage over a 50 year period for a similar scale project.

“The project is one of 27 accepted by the Natural Resource and Conservation Service (NRCS)-sponsored Cape Cod Water Resources Restoration Project and the third to be completed in the town under this plan,” said Charles Sumner, Town Administrator of Brewster.

“The Cape Cod Water Resources Restoration Project is an effort to address storm water pollution for shellfish, improve fish passage and restore degraded salt marshes – three significant environmental challenges to Cape Cod’s sensitive ecosystems,” said Christine Clarke, NRCS’ State Conservationist.

The project has also drawn funding from the private sector, reflecting the benefit of private-public projects for the public good.

“Dominion Foundation contributed to this project through the Massachusetts Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership because it represents a sound investment in improving the natural resources of Cape Cod,” said Leo Pierre Roy, Chair of the Massachusetts Corporate Wetland Restoration Partnership.

“This project has been key to improving water quality for Freemans Pond and Paines Creek,” said Senator Dan Wolf. “Hopefully the successful collaboration among our state and federal government, private partnerships and the town of Brewster will set an example for future water quality improvement projects.”

"We once called wetlands ‘swamps,’ but we now know and understand that they are a critical component of a vibrant and healthy ecosystem. I salute and thank our government and private partners for their role in making this project a reality," said Representative Sarah Peake.

“This project serves as an excellent example of the what can be achieved when the federal, state and local governments as well as the private sector work together to better the community,” said Representative Cleon Turner.

Commissioner Griffin also highlighted the Patrick Administration recent proclamation of May as Wetlands Month and June as Rivers Month in Massachusetts. DFG’s Division of Ecological Restoration issued a Rivers and Wetlands calendar of events as part of the designation.

Partners on the project include the town of Brewster, DFG’s Division of Ecological Restoration, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Cape Cod Conservation District, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, Massachusetts Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership, Dominion Community Foundation and the Association to Preserve Cape Cod.

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.