For Immediate Release - April 17, 2014

Patrick Administration Designates New Priority River and Wetland Restoration Projects

BOSTON — Thursday, April 17, 2014 - Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan today announced that eight new river and wetland restoration projects will be designated Priority Projects through the Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Division of Ecological Restoration (DER). Priority Projects can receive grants, contracted technical services funded by DER and program assistance.

“Healthy rivers and wetlands protect communities from flooding, provide clean drinking water, and support critical habitats important to the Commonwealth’s native fish and wildlife,” said Secretary Sullivan. “These new habitat restoration projects will enhance environmental benefits while stimulating local job creation and economic activity.”

“River and wetland restoration projects improve habitat for many species of fish, such as brook trout, blueback herring, alewives, and rainbow smelt, that support recreational and commercial fisheries,” said DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin.  “In addition to enhancing fish and wildlife habitat, these projects also protect human health and safety by upgrading or removing aging bridges and dams that impair water quality and create flood hazards.”

More than 60 active ecological restoration projects throughout the state are currently designated as Priority Projects. The eight new projects include dam removals, culvert replacements, streamflow restoration and fill removal that will provide significant social, environmental and economic benefits to the Commonwealth and the communities they affect.

The new priority projects are as follows:

Bellingham: A partnership with the Town of Bellingham to remove the Old Mill Dam, restoring connectivity on the Charles River and alleviating risk of damage to surrounding infrastructure from potential dam failure.

Chilmark: A partnership with the Sheriff's Meadow Foundation to restore connectivity to the headwaters of Mill Brook by removing an earthen dam on the Roth Woodlands Property.

East Bridgewater: A partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to restore habitat connectivity to the Satucket River, a tributary to the Taunton River, by removing the Cotton Gin Mill Dam.

Halifax: A partnership with the Town of Halifax to examine the flow patterns and potential for ecological improvements to the Stump Brook and Monponsett Pond system.

Marshfield and Duxbury: A partnership with the North and South Rivers Watershed Association to address numerous barriers to resident and migratory fish passage, as well as restoring ecological functions of the South River.

Northampton: A partnership with the City of Northampton to restore connectivity in the upper reaches of Roberts Meadow Brook by removing the Upper Roberts Meadow Dam.

Revere: A partnership with the Mystic River Watershed Association to restore tidal flows to over seven acres of salt marsh within the Rumney Marshes Area of Critical Environmental Concern by breaching an old earthen dike across the salt marsh.

West Boylston: A partnership with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) to remove the Quinapoxet Dam and restore fish passage for landlocked salmon and other species to the Quinapoxet River, a major tributary to the Wachusett Reservoir.

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 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.

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