For Immediate Release - November 06, 2009

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces Grants to Help Coastal Communities Combat Water Pollution

BOSTON - Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles today announced $400,000 in grants available to help shoreline communities improve coastal water quality by limiting polluted runoff from roads and upgrading boat waste "pump-out" facilities, furthering Governor Patrick's commitment to protect the Commonwealth's coast from pollution.

"The Massachusetts coastline is a haven for residents and tourists," said Secretary Bowles. "I'm pleased to announce the availability of this funding to help coastal communities keep our tidal rivers, harbors, and beaches clean for fishermen, families and boaters for decades to come."

Under the Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Program of EEA's Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), municipalities located within the Massachusetts coastal watershed are eligible for grant support. Municipalities may request up to $125,000, with a 25 percent local match required. Since 1996, the program has provided more than $5.5 million in grants to help communities improve water quality. Funding for this round of grants comes from the Energy and Environment Bond Bill signed by Governor Patrick in August.

"These funds help seaside communities keep the coastal waters safe for recreation and fishing by combating water pollution caused by boat waste, stormwater runoff, and other sources," said Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Coastal Zone Management Deerin Babb-Brott.

Grants may be used to reduce stormwater pollution and for the design, installation and upgrade of boat waste pump-out facilities, which are prerequisites for communities to apply for No Discharge Area (NDA) designation. NDAs are areas where the discharge of boat sewage, whether treated or not, is prohibited. A body of water can be designated an NDA if local, state, and federal authorities determine the area is ecologically and recreationally important enough to merit protection above and beyond that provided by state and federal laws.

Massachusetts has 12 NDAs, including the coastal waters of Plymouth, Kingston, Duxbury, and Harwich; Buzzards Bay; Waquoit Bay in Falmouth; Three Bays/Centerville Harbor in Barnstable; Chatham's Stage Harbor; coastal waters of Nantucket from Muskeget Island to Great Point; Cape Cod Bay; Boston Harbor; Salem Sound; the Lower North Shore; and the Upper South Shore. CZM is currently working with communities and other partners to plan NDAs in Nantucket Sound, Mt. Hope Bay and the Upper North Shore, with the ultimate goal of making all Massachusetts coastal waters an NDA.

In addition to funding for pump-out facilities, municipalities can use grants for the design and construction of stormwater management projects along roadways, parking lots or other paved surfaces. Stormwater contamination is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground, picking up pollutants and depositing them into coastal waters, rivers, wetlands and groundwater.

Funded projects enhance recreational beaches, habitat for river herring, local shellfish beds, and the overall health of coastal ecosystems. The towns of Duxbury, Barnstable, Plymouth, and Provincetown received grants in FY 2009.

Grant applications are due on December 4, 2009, and eligible projects must be completed by June 30, 2010. For more information and to obtain an application, visit www.mass.gov/czm/cprgp.htm.

The Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) is the agency within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs charged with protecting Massachusetts' approximately 1,500-mile coast. Through educational and regulatory programs, CZM seeks to balance human uses of the coastal zone with the need to protect fragile marine resources. The agency's work includes helping coastal communities anticipate and plan for sea level rise and other effects of climate change, working with cities and towns and the federal government to develop boat sewage no-discharge areas, and partnering with communities and other organizations to restore coastal and aquatic habitats.