For Immediate Release - January 19, 2010

Patrick-Murray Administration Awards $76,000 for River and Salt Marsh Restoration

BOSTON - Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles today announced that five river and salt marsh restoration projects will receive more than $76,000 in grant funding in fiscal year 2010 through the Department of Fish and Game's (DFG) Division of Ecological Restoration (DER).

"Rivers and wetlands provide flood control, supply our drinking water, and support critical habitats important to the Commonwealth's native fish and wildlife," Secretary Bowles said. "The Department of Fish and Game and its Division of Ecological Restoration have made dam removal, salt marsh restoration and urban river revitalization priorities in order to restore these vital systems."

The following projects were selected to receive funds:

  • Town of Marshfield: $6,180 for the Green Harbor River Restoration Project
  • Town of Somerset: $30,000 for the Somerset Marsh Restoration Project
  • Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District: $20,000 for removal of the State Hospital Dam on the Mill River
  • Ipswich River Watershed Association: $10,000 to examine the feasibility for the removal of the South Middleton Dam
  • Hoosic River Revival Coalition/Hoosic River Watershed Association: $10,000 for the revitalization of the Hoosic River in North Adams

DER's grant funding is authorized by the Energy and Environment Bond Act of 2008. With its partners, DER works to restore aquatic habitat to benefit fish and wildlife. Restoration projects also serve the community by providing local jobs, improving public safety and helping communities prepare for and adapt to climate change.

"River revitalization is very important for cold water fish like brook trout and anadromous fish such as blueback herring, alewives, and rainbow smelt, while marsh restoration benefits fish and wildlife such as waterfowl and wading birds," said DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin. "In addition to physical improvements to rivers and streams, DER and partners are implementing innovative flow restoration projects in Georgetown, Scituate, Pittsfield and Stockbridge that will restore more natural water levels to rivers and streams."

DER also announced that new projects in Pittsfield, Cheshire, Athol, Plymouth, Middleton, Lawrence, Taunton, Rochester, Scituate, Pelham, Georgetown, Lee, Milton/Boston, Stockbridge and North Adams have been accepted as DER Priority Projects. A total of 84 active ecological restoration projects throughout the state have now been designated as priority projects, making them eligible for technical assistance and a future DER grant.

The 15 new project proposals include dam removals, urban river revitalization and a first-in-the-state effort to implement proactive in-stream flow restoration. DER focuses on implementing scientifically sound and proven restoration techniques such as dam removal that provide the greatest positive impact to native fish and wildlife. These restoration projects have ancillary benefits including improving water quality and recreation, eliminating aging infrastructure and safeguarding the public.

DER accepted the following as new Priority Projects:

  • Pittsfield : Partnership with Massachusetts Audubon Society for the Sackett Brook Restoration Project
  • Cheshire : Partnership with the Hoosic chapter of Trout Unlimited for the Thunder Brook Restoration Project
  • Athol: Partnership with the town of Athol for the Thousand Acre Brook Watershed Restoration Project
  • Plymouth : Partnership with the town of Plymouth for the Wellingsley Brook Restoration
  • Middleton: Partnership with the Ipswich River Watershed Association for the Ipswich River Restoration Project
  • Lawrence : Partnership with Groundwork Lawrence for the Spicket River Revitalization Project
  • Taunton : Partnership with Taunton Development Corporation for the Cotley River Restoration Project in Taunton
  • Rochester : Partnership with the Coalition for Buzzards Bay for the Sippican River Revitalization Initiative
  • Scituate : Partnership with North & South Rivers Watershed Association for the First Herring Brook Restoration
  • Pelham: Partnership with the town of Amherst for the Amethyst Brook Restoration Project
  • Georgetown : Partnership with the Parker River Clean Water Association for the Upper Parker River
  • Lee: Partnership with the Housatonic Valley Association for the Housatonic River Restoration and Columbia Mill Dam Removal
  • Milton/Boston: Partnership with the Neponset River Watershed Association for the Lower Neponset River Restoration Project
  • North Adams : Partnership with the Hoosic River Revival Coalition for the Hoosic River Flood Chute Naturalization Project
  • Stockbridge/Pittsfield: Partnership with the Housatonic Valley Association to restore the Pecks Brook and West Branch Housatonic River and the Larrywaug Brook

The DER's mission is to restore and protect the health and integrity of the Commonwealth's rivers, wetlands and watersheds for the benefit of people, fish and wildlife. The Division was created in July 2009 with the merger of the Riverways and Wetland Restoration Programs.

The DFG is responsible for promoting the enjoyment and conservation of the Commonwealth's natural resources. DFG carries out this mission through land preservation and wildlife habitat management, management of inland and marine fish and game species, and enforcement of the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. DFG promotes enjoyment of the Massachusetts environment through outdoor skills workshops, fishing festivals and other educational programs, and by enhancing access to the Commonwealth's lakes and ponds.