For Immediate Release - June 18, 2010

Patrick-Murray Administration Officials Celebrate Massachusetts Rivers Month at the Jones River

KINGSTON - Friday, June 18, 2010 - As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to river protection and restoration projects, Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Commissioner Mary Griffin joined conservation organizations and state and federal environmental officials today to mark June as Massachusetts Rivers Month - part of an annual nationwide celebration.

"This month we celebrate the 10,000 miles of rivers and streams in Massachusetts and those individuals and groups that work to preserve and protect them," said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles.

"I hope that visitors and residents will get outside this season to enjoy fishing, boating, hiking or spotting wildlife along one of these spectacular waterways this summer," said Commissioner Griffin. "Our hope is that having a bit of riverside fun will inspire people to environmental stewardship, ensuring these rivers and streams are protected for future generations."

There are river-related events occurring across the state this month in celebration of the natural resources Massachusetts has to offer. Click here to view the DFG's Division of Ecological Restoration 2010 Rivers and Wetlands Month Calendar to find local events.

Commissioner Griffin was joined by staff from DFG's Division of Ecological Restoration, the Jones River Watershed Association, the Massachusetts Environmental Trust and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) at today's event.

In May, the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) awarded $20,000 to assist in the removal of the Wapping Road Dam on the Jones River as part of a group of grants to protect and restore rivers and watersheds in 20 communities across the Commonwealth. There are two dams near the mouth of the river - one at Elm Street which has a fish ladder, and one at Wapping Road which does not support fish passage. The project will open most of the watershed to migratory fish such as Alewife, Blueback Herring and American Eel.

A diverse group of partners are working together to restore the Jones River. The Wapping Road Dam is slated for removal in the fall of 2010. Project partners and funders include Jones River Watershed Association, DFG's Divisions of Ecological Restoration and Marine Fisheries, NOAA, Jones River Realty Trust, the MET and the town of Kingston.

The Jones River meanders seven miles through southeastern Massachusetts, starting at its headwaters at Silver Lake and draining into Kingston Bay. The river has a rich history of boatbuilding and supports river herring and other important marine fish. It is also an area used by kayakers and anglers.

"For 25 years the Jones River Watershed Association has been working tirelessly to understand and improve the local environment. This dam removal is a major step in restoring the natural function of the river," said Pine DuBois, Executive Director of the Jones River Watershed Association. "We are excited to have the support and recognition of these agencies and the local community to help us make it a success."

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 environmentally themed specialty license plates, as well as fines for environmental violations.