For Immediate Release - June 03, 2009

Patrick Administration Announces 21 Environmental Grants to Municipalities and Non-profit Organizations

Specialty license plate-funded grants support water protection, habitat restoration and environment education

BOSTON - In keeping with its goals to protect and conserve natural resources across the Commonwealth, the Patrick Administration today announced $581,749 in grants from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) for projects to protect and restore forests, watersheds, and beaches from Wellfleet to Greenfield. The grants are made possible by the purchase of specialty environmental license plates, fees for which fund the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET).

Today's funded projects are based in 22 communities: Belchertown, Bellingham, Belmont, Canton, Cheshire, Concord, Fitchburg, Franklin, Gloucester, Greenfield, Kingston, Lowell, Newton, Norwell, Palmer, Petersham, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Provincetown, Salem, Wellfleet, and Westport.

"We're pleased to award these grants in recognition of the work these groups and municipalities do as stewards of the Commonwealth's environmental resources," Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles said.

Since its founding 21 years ago as part of the Boston Harbor cleanup, MET has awarded more than $17 million in grants to organizations statewide that provide a wide array of environmental services, from supporting water projects in their communities to protecting coastal habitats. Funded by the sale of specialty environmentally-themed license plates, as well as fines for environmental violations, grants from the trust support non-profit organizations and municipalities working to develop water protection, human health, and environmental education projects.

Established in 1988 as a state trust by the Legislature, MET is governed by a nine-member board of trustees, appointed by the EEA Secretary. The winning grant proposals range from $6,515 to $50,000.

Statewide

Belmont - Massachusetts Association of Conservation: $30,000

  • To expand training for conservation commissioners

Norwell - North and South Rivers Watershed Association: $25,750

  • To establish an inter-regional, long-term program to monitor water temperature and water level in anadromous fish runs in Massachusetts Bay

Cape and Islands

Provincetown - Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies: $50,000

  • To operate the Large Whale Disentanglement Program aimed at protecting whales that get caught in fishing gear or debris

Wellfleet - Massachusetts Audubon Society: $22,000

  • To develop an artificial oyster reef in Wellfleet

Central

Petersham - Harvard University, Harvard Forest: $25,000

  • To research innovative forest conservation financing methods

Fitchburg - Nashua River Watershed Association: $19,540

  • To engage and educate residents from the Cleghorn neighborhood, students, and other interested stakeholders about how to improve water quality and enhance recreational opportunities on the North Nashua River

Greater Boston

Canton - Neponset River Watershed Association: $21,625

  • To track the presence of optical brighteners, which are found in common laundry and cleaning products, to identify sources of water pollution in the Neponset River

Newton - Silent Spring Institute: $45,000

  • To test public water supply wells on Cape Cod to establish current levels of contamination by emerging contaminants such as endocrine disrupting compounds and pharmaceuticals

Metro West

Franklin and Bellingham - Charles River Watershed Association: $50,000

  • To develop a website for phosphorus trading to meet forthcoming water quality regulatory program requirements from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the EPA

Concord - Organization for the Assabet River Inc.: $6,515

  • To assess stream continuity for fish habitat in the Nashoba/Fort Pond Brook sub-basin of the Assabet and Concord River watershed

North

Gloucester - Whale Center of New England: $20,000

  • To launch a new curriculum that uses marine mammal standing response programs as a vehicle for teaching science and math principles in grades five through eight

Lowell - Merrimack River Watershed Council Inc.: $35,000

  • To conduct water quality monitoring in the Merrimack River

Salem - Salem Sound Coastwatch: $18,500

  • To develop and implement a citizen adopt-a-beach program for beaches along Salem Sound

South

Kingston - Jones River Watershed Association Inc.: $20,000

  • To support Year 2 of a restoration and education program in the Jones River Watershed

Plymouth - Town of Plymouth: $30,000

  • To implement a water quality monitoring program in 16 ponds and streams in Plymouth

Westport - Westport River Watershed Alliance: $10,000

  • To expand water quality monitoring in the Westport River watershed

West

Belchertown and Palmer - Pioneer Valley Planning Commission: $25,000

  • To study whether the Upper Bondsville Dam on the Swift River should be removed or retained

Cheshire - Town of Cheshire: $26,000

  • To restore habitat in Thunder Brook through removal a dam and replacement of an undersized culvert

Greenfield - American Rivers: $50,000

  • To conduct engineering and permitting for dam removal and fish passage projects on the Green River

Greenfield - Franklin Regional Council of Governments: $30,000

  • To create a web-based database for tracking septic system and private well locations and use, and private well water quality

Pittsfield - Berkshire Environmental Action Team: $21,819

  • To gather data and create a geographic information system and maps to inform local and regional planners about culverts and bridges in need of upgrading to improve hydrologic and wildlife passage

Specialty license plates featuring the North Atlantic right whale, brook trout or the Blackstone Valley Mill cost $40 every two years in addition to vehicle registration fees. The plates are available at www.mass.gov/rmv.