For Immediate Release - December 29, 2016

Baker-Polito Administration Announces $53,700 in Grants for Coastal Communities to Increase Effectiveness and Resiliency of Stormwater Infrastructure

BOSTON – December 29, 2016 - The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $53,708 in grants for communities to design retrofits of existing stormwater infrastructure to increase the effectiveness of polluted runoff treatment systems impacted by climate change. The goal is to fund pilot projects that improve and protect coastal water quality and ensure that these technologies can withstand higher sea levels, more intense storms and other climate change impacts over the long term. The grants, provided by the Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), were awarded to Manchester-by-the-Sea, Melrose, Winthrop and Yarmouth.

“The Commonwealth’s coastal communities invest significant effort and financial resources to properly manage and treat runoff pollution,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Coastal zone management grants will provide state resources to help these towns improve local infrastructure so that they can continue to do their job in the face of extreme weather.”

“We rely on municipalities to be a partner with us on identifying the challenges associated with maintaining stormwater infrastructure and ensuring that we prepare for future conditions,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The coastal zone management pilot grants awarded today offer a perfect opportunity for the state to support these important efforts.”

“Massachusetts is proud to be a leader in water quality protection and effective climate change adaptation,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “This funding demonstrates our continued commitment to maintaining and improving coastal water quality at the local level by addressing the very real need to retrofit these technologies to address a changing climate and prepare for future sea levels and storm impacts.”

As a result of climate change, coastal areas are becoming more vulnerable to flooding and inundation, storm surge, salt water intrusion, changing precipitation patterns, rising sea and groundwater levels and shifting vegetation hardiness. The goal of CZM’s Retrofit Design Pilot Grant is to improve and protect coastal water quality by designing modifications to coastal stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) to ensure their adaptability and continued performance in the face of these impacts.

“CZM has a strong track record of support for local efforts to treat stormwater runoff and our recent assessments have demonstrated that this infrastructure is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” said CZM Director Bruce Carlisle. “We are pleased to offer these targeted grants and expand on our work with communities to proactively address these risks and ensure that our long-term investment in clean coastal waters continues to effectively address runoff pollution.”

The funding also builds upon the Baker-Polito Administration’s strong leadership to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Earlier this year, in a continued effort to mitigate and adapt to climate change, Governor Baker signed an Executive Order which lays out a comprehensive approach to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, and build a more resilient Commonwealth.

The following four projects have been funded through this year’s grants:

Manchester-by-the-Sea - $14,430
The Town of Manchester will design an infrastructure retrofit to address stormwater entering Sawmill Brook, an important rainbow smelt spawning habitat currently impacted by runoff pollution. The retrofit will also address stormwater flow and backups in the drainage system due to flooding, which is predicted to increase with climate change.

Melrose - $6,700
The City of Melrose will develop final designs for raingardens, with a focus on resiliency to anticipated increases in storm intensity and frequency due to climate change. When constructed, these BMPs will effectively treat stormwater pollutants, especially bacteria and sediments entering Ell Pond. This work will contribute to Melrose’s ongoing effort to restore Ell Pond to a fishable and swimmable waterbody.

Winthrop - $15,000
The Town of Winthrop will design infrastructure retrofits in its downtown area to ensure that stormwater management technologies remain effective despite the predicted increase in flooding due to climate change. In addition, the retrofits will improve the treatment of bacteria in stormwater runoff that is negatively impacting water quality at Winthrop’s public beaches.

Yarmouth - $17,578
The Town of Yarmouth will evaluate existing stormwater Best Management Practices within areas most vulnerable to climate change and develop retrofit designs for a number of priority locations, addressing both anticipated increases in precipitation and rising groundwater tables. This work will complement Yarmouth’s ongoing efforts to address stormwater pollutants, especially bacteria and nitrogen, entering its coastal waterbodies.

“These grants will have an immense and lasting impact on Massachusetts,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “This funding will allow communities to strengthen their infrastructure, mitigate pollution, and address public health concerns. I thank the Baker Administration for its foresight in protecting our natural resources and making towns like Winthrop better places to live, work and raise a family.”

“I am deeply grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration for offering these funds to the Town of Manchester-by-the-Sea to assist with climate resiliency and its stormwater infrastructure,” said State Representative Brad Hill (R-Ipswich). “As a seaside town that relies heavily on its waterways, this support to help maintain its infrastructure and help prepare for future climates is an invaluable resource for the community.”

“Over the past few years we have collaboratively become aware of just how important it is to be proactive in strengthening our resilience to storms and erosion by investing in our natural resources,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “This grant program benefits Manchester and other cities and towns so that they can better prepare for, and respond to, water management challenges. Investments today in storm water management will directly support our quality of life, economy and communities for years to come.”

“As a coastal community Winthrop must remain vigilant toward the effects of climate change on our community,” said State Senator Joseph Boncore (D-Winthrop). “These funds will not only provide needed infrastructure upgrades to prepare Winthrop for the future, but ensure that our beaches remain the Town’s treasure for generations.”

The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) is the lead policy and planning agency on coastal and ocean issues within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Through planning, technical and grant assistance and public information programs, CZM seeks to balance the impacts of human activity with the protection of coastal and marine resources. The agency’s work includes helping coastal communities address the challenges of storms, sea level rise and other effects of climate change; working with state, regional and federal partners to balance current and new uses of ocean waters while protecting ocean habitats and promoting sustainable economic development; and partnering with communities and other organizations to protect and restore coastal water quality and habitats.

 

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