For Immediate Release - July 14, 2014

Patrick Administration Announces $94,000 for Restoration of Rivers and Wetlands in Wellfleet, Truro, Taunton and Cheshire

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

BOSTON – Monday, July 14, 2014 – Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett today announced $94,000 in grants for river and wetland restoration projects across the Commonwealth. The grants are provided by the Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Division of Ecological Restoration (DER).

“Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in river and wetland restoration,” said Secretary Bartlett. “The healthier the watershed, the better it can purify water, sustain wildlife and buffer against extreme weather.”

All grants were funded by DER’s Priority Projects Program, the primary vehicle by which Massachusetts advances wetland and river restoration. The projects selected present the greatest ecological, social and economic benefits to the Commonwealth. Designated Priority Projects are eligible to receive both internal program assistance and contracted technical services funded by DER.

“River and wetland restoration projects improve habitat for many anadromous fish such as alewife, blueback herring and shad, as well as native trout, migratory birds and small mammals,” said DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin. “These projects also help communities remove or repair aging infrastructure, saving cities and towns significant maintenance costs.”

The grants announced today will support existing Priority Projects, including wetland and river restoration projects in Wellfleet, Truro, Cheshire and Taunton. There are 63 Priority Projects across the state, for a complete list click here.

“These projects could not have been achieved without the collaborative efforts and fund our federal, private and foundation partners,” said Tim Purinton, DER Director. “These efforts translate to hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in Massachusetts to improve our rivers and wetlands, as well as help kickstart the burgeoning restoration economy.”

"This grant from the Division of Ecological Restoration will support critically important coordination of federal, state and local partners undertaking the largest and most complex tidal restoration project in the northeast," said Friends of Herring River President, Don Palladino. "Among its many benefits, the project will restore the estuary's connection to the larger marine environment of Cape Cod Bay and the Gulf of Maine, thereby recovering its natural tidal marsh functions as a nursery for marine fisheries and providing numerous benefits and services to the people of Cape Cod and the greater region."

The projects are listed below:

Herring River Estuary Restoration, Towns of Wellfleet and Truro, Friends of Herring River, $60,000

The Herring River Restoration Project is the largest tidal estuary restoration project proposed in Massachusetts and the North Atlantic coast of the United States. The project will restore tidal flow to approximately 1,000 acres of degraded salt marsh and estuarine habitats. DER funding will support critical tasks related to engineering design and coordination of multiple project development activities.

Thunder Brook Restoration, Town of Cheshire, Hoosic River Watershed Association, $4,000

  • To restore ecological functions and protect public safety, the Thunder Brook Dam was removed and an undersized culvert downstream was replaced in 2013 in partnership with the Town of Cheshire, Trout Unlimited, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This grant will support continued monitoring of the invertebrate community. The data collected will be compared to pre-restoration conditions to assess the response of the various organisms to the restoration work, helping inform the design of future dam removal projects.
Mill River Restoration, City of Taunton, Department of Public Works, $30,000
  • The project goal is to restore habitat connectivity along the entire Mill River in Taunton through the removal of three dams. In 2012, Hopewell Mills Dam was removed and in 2013, the Whittenton Dam was breached. This funding will complete upgrades near the site of the first dam removal project to restore the Mill River and protect essential infrastructure.

The mission of 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 Wetland Restoration Programs and is coordinating 63 ecological restoration projects across the Commonwealth.

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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