For Immediate Release - May 27, 2010

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces 22 Environmental Grants for Water Protection, Habitat Restoration and Education

BOSTON - May 27, 2010 - Continuing the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to environmental stewardship, Energy and Environment Secretary (EEA) Ian Bowles today announced $627,951 in grants from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) for projects to protect and restore rivers, watersheds, and wildlife across the Commonwealth.

The grant, largely funded by proceeds from the purchase of specialty environmental license plates, will help support projects in 20 communities around the state including: Andover, Boston, Boxford, Concord, Lawrence, Lowell, Saugus, Gloucester, Lynn, Kingston, Taunton, Barnstable, Fitchburg, Leominster, Winchendon, Holyoke, Whately, Otis, Becket, and Sandisfield.

"Investments in clean water projects across the state have lasting benefit today and for years to come," said Governor Patrick.

"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," said Secretary Bowles.

Since it was founded 22 years ago as part of the Boston Harbor cleanup, MET has awarded more than $18 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. Grant funding comes from the sale of specialty environmentally-themed license plates, as well as fines for environmental violations.

"The thousands of Massachusetts citizens who have bought environmental license plates have also made possible these investments in clean water," said Jim Gomes, Director of Clark University's Mosakowski Institute, who chairs the Massachusetts Environmental Trust.

Established by the Legislature as a state trust in 1988, MET is governed by a nine-member board of trustees appointed by the EEA Secretary.

"Water has been front page news recently, reminding us how vitally important clean water is to our health, quality of life and economy," said Rep. Carolyn Dykema. "I'm so pleased that the state is investing in these local programs that are helping protect our precious rivers, lakes and coastal areas."

"Organizations like these do the real on-the-ground work to clean up our rivers and streams and keep our drinking water safe. I'm pleased that the administration is supporting their work," said Sen. Jamie Eldridge.

The grant awards range from $8,000 to $50,000 and are listed below.

Statewide

Boston - Clean Water Fund - Massachusetts Chapter - $20,000

To educate citizens and municipal and state leaders about innovative, decentralized solutions to water infrastructure problems.

Boston - Toxics Action Center - $15,000

To develop community pollution cleanup guides that will help communities prevent and clean up pollution.

Boston - Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health - $50,000

To engage immigrant workers as leaders in promoting environmental health practices that benefit the water resources of Massachusetts through education about workplace hazards and human health issues.

Boston - Massachusetts Rivers Alliance - $8,000

To organize a one-day conference to coordinate and prioritize future water quality monitoring activities statewide.

North

Andover - Center for Ecosystem Restoration - $25,000

To plan the removal of two obsolete dams in Andover to restore native spawning runs of migratory fish, and to improve water quality, biodiversity and in-stream habitat.

Gloucester - Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center - $32,000

To extend the "Ocean Expolorers" program to all Gloucester Public Schools 5th grade students.

Boxford, Georgetown, Groveland - Parker River Clean Water Association - $25,000

To conduct a multiyear population viability assessment for the threatened Blanding's turtle within the Parker River Watershed and develop conservation measures that will better help protect this species.

Lawrence - Groundwork Lawrence - $40,000

To increase Lawrence's urban tree canopy to capture rainfall that would otherwise run off impervious surfaces and collect pollutants as it flows to Lawrence's three rivers.

Lowell - Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust - $33,000

To conduct an eco-inventory of Hale's Brook, conduct research into the land-use history of the corridor, and offer youth and adult environmental education programs within the resource area.

Lowell - Merrimack River Watershed Council Inc. - $30,000

To analyze pollutants in the Merrimack River in Massachusetts from the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line to the estuary in Newburyport.

Greater Boston

Saugus & Lynn - Saugus River Watershed Council - $18,000

To launch a new climate change awareness project to inform and engage students, residents, waterfront property owners, businesses and local public officials in working together to mitigate ongoing and anticipated negative impacts of climate change on the natural resources of the Saugus River watershed.

Concord - Organization for the Assabet River - $24,216

To assess endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) in the Assabet River and raise public awareness of the problem.

Boston - Urban Harbors Institute - UMass Boston - $49,470

To create an online, interactive coastal atlas for Boston Harbor that focuses on habitats and factors affecting habitat, including wetlands, eelgrass beds, anadromous fish runs, breeding or nesting birds, threatened species, invasive species, watersheds and flow, land use, and shoreline modification


South

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

To complete the removal of the culverts in Pine Brook and the Wapping Road Dam and to provide needed environmental monitoring components to evaluate restoration progress.

Taunton - Southeastern Regional Planning & Economic Development District (SRPEDD) - $50,000

To remove the State Hospital Dam in Taunton, the first dam that migratory fish encounter on the Mill River.

Cape Cod - Silent Spring Institute - $50,000

To test for endocrine disrupting compounds, pharmaceuticals, excreted hormones, components of personal care products and other wastewater contaminants in 20 Cape Cod public drinking water supply wells.

Central

Fitchburg & Leominster - Nashua River Watershed Association - $16,815

To improve water quality in the North Nashua River sub-basin through a comprehensive approach to the elimination of dry weather bacterial sources from West Fitchburg to the Leominster/Lancaster town boundary.

Winchendon - Town of Winchendon, Dept of Planning & Development - $13,000

To improve the water quality and enhance stewardship of the Millers River through reduction of stormwater and nonpoint source pollution and through water quality monitoring in the river to enable recreational use.

Leominster - Massachusetts Watershed Coalition - $18,000

To work with local communities to protect and restore the health of their streams, lakes and water supplies through reduction of stormwater runoff.


Western

Becket, Otis, Sandisfield - Farmington River Watershed Association - $30,450

To establish a long-term, locally-supported water quality monitoring and outreach program in the Massachusetts portions of the Farmington River watershed.

Holyoke - The Trustees of Reservations - $20,000

To undertake ecological restoration and remediation at the Land of Providence reservation located on the Connecticut River in Holyoke.

Whately - The Nature Conservancy, Massachusetts Chapter - $40,000

To remove, redesign, and reconstruct a culvert on the West Brook tributary of the Connecticut and to track movement of tagged brook trout through the new culvert.