For Immediate Release - December 22, 2010

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

BOSTON - December 22, 2010 - Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles today announced the availability of $375,000 in grants to help communities in coastal watersheds improve water quality.

Under the Coastal Pollution Remediation Grant Program of EEA's Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), the grants help municipalities curb polluted runoff from roads and manage boat waste with "pumpout" facilities.

Municipalities located within the Massachusetts coastal watersheds may request up to $125,000, with a 25 percent local match required. Since 1996, the program has provided nearly $6 million in grants to help communities reduce water pollution. Funding for this round of grants comes from the Energy and Environmental Bond Bill signed by Governor Patrick in 2008.

"Through these grants, we work hand-in-hand with communities to directly improve coastal water quality, and the results are significant---newly opened shellfish beds, fewer recreational beach closures, and improved habitat," said Secretary Bowles. "We encourage all interested communities to take advantage of this funding opportunity."

The grants may be used to reduce stormwater pollution through 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. Grant-funded projects also enhance recreational beaches, habitat for river herring, local shellfish beds and the overall health of coastal ecosystems. The towns of Duxbury, Provincetown, Oak Bluffs and Brewster received grants in Fiscal Year 2010.

In addition, grants can be used for the design, installation, and upgrade of boat-waste pumpout facilities, which are requirements for No Discharge Area (NDA) designations. NDAs are areas where discharge of any treated or untreated boat sewage is prohibited.

Over the past four years under the leadership of Governor Patrick, CZM has worked to designate 14 separate NDAs protecting 965 square miles of coastal waters. Six coastal regions, representing 60 percent of state coastal waters, achieved the designation since 2007. NDAs are in the planning stages for all three areas of Massachusetts' remaining undesignated coastal waters - Nantucket Sound, Mt. Hope Bay and the outer Cape from Chatham to Provincetown. For a list of current NDAs, visit http://www.mass.gov/czm/nda/locations.htm.

NDAs protect water quality and aquatic life from pathogens, nutrients and chemical products contained in discharged sewage and also reduce the risk of human illness, making it safer to swim, boat, fish and eat shellfish from protected waters. NDAs can also help reduce the growth of harmful algae that occurs due to high nutrient levels in sewage discharge and protect commercial clam fishing flats. In Massachusetts, CZM works closely with communities and the Environmental Protection Agency to establish NDAs as part of a comprehensive regional water quality approach.

For more information on No Discharge Areas in New England, visit www.mass.gov/czm/nda and www.epa.gov/region01/eco/nodiscrg.

For more on boat sewage pumpout locations throughout Massachusetts coastal waters, see: www.mass.gov/czm/nda/pumpouts.

Coastal Remediation Program grant applications are due on January 7, 2011, and eligible projects must be completed by June 30, 2011. For more information and to obtain an application, visit www.mass.gov/czm/cprgp.htm.

CZM is charged with protecting Massachusetts' approximately 1,500-mile coast. Through technical assistance, educational and planning 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 protect and restore coastal and aquatic habitats.

Visit our website: www.mass.gov/eea