For Immediate Release - August 12, 2011

State Environmental Officials Celebrate Completion of New Bedford Boat Access Projects

NEW BEDFORD - August 12, 2011 - With the summer boating and fishing season at its peak, officials from the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game (DFG), along with state legislators and city officials, celebrated today the opening of the recently reconstructed Clarks Cove Boat Access Area in New Bedford, highlighting the work at two city boat access facilities that will greatly enhance boating access and fishing opportunities in Buzzards Bay and Nantucket Sound.

"Access to outdoor recreation activities is what makes Massachusetts a premiere destination for summer activities and these two projects only enhance our existing boating and fishing resources spread across coastal and inland waters across the state," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr.

The DFG's Office of Fishing and Boating Access completed reconstruction of the two sites during fiscal year 2011. The total project cost of $488,000 was paid for by the Environmental Bond signed by Governor Patrick in 2008. Last year, DFG's Office of Fishing and Boating Access completed eight boat access projects valued at close to $1.4 million that include boat ramp renovations, parking lot improvements, and new docks that will greatly enhance boating and fishing opportunities in Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod.

"We are happy to work with the city of New Bedford on these projects that provide great fishing and boating opportunities to people in the region and throughout Massachusetts," said DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin. "On a day-to-day basis, the city manages these two sites and serves as an important partner in providing quality boat access facilities to the public."

The Clarks Cove facility on West Rodney French Boulevard involved complete reconstruction of the existing boat ramp and the addition of a new float system, making boat launching easier. The facility has 22 parking spaces for vehicles with trailers. The agency also oversaw the reconstruction of the boat ramp at the New Bedford Harbor facility, located on East Rodney French Boulevard. This site provides parking for 30 vehicles with trailers.

"Access between New Bedford's beautiful waterfront and the city improves every year," said Sen. Mark Montigny. "The more people that see Buzzard's Bay the more people can't get enough of it. The completion of this project is going to make it even easier to access the harbor and enjoy all the area has to offer."

"I fought to repair and improve the East and West Rodney French Boulevard Boat Ramps both for residents who rely on them for income and for those who enjoy the recreational activities the ramps provide access to," Rep. Antonio Cabral said. "It's great to celebrate the completion of this project, which is vital to fishermen and recreational boaters alike."

Recreational boating is extremely popular in the Buzzards Bay area and on summer weekends, boat access facilities are often filled to capacity. The areas around Buzzards Bay, Vineyard Sound, and Nantucket Sound are renowned locations for fishing, with thousands of anglers seeking striped bass, bluefish, fluke, and tautog, among other species.

"In addition to being the number one fishing port in the nation, the Port of New Bedford offers tremendous opportunities for recreational boating," said New Bedford Mayor Scott W. Lang. "The reconstruction of the East and West Rodney French Boulevard boat ramps has greatly improved access for the many recreational boaters who enjoy New Bedford harbor and the surrounding waters. I want to thank the Department of Fish and Game and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for its investment in these New Bedford facilities."

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is responsible for promoting the conservation and enjoyment of the Commonwealth's natural resources. DFG carries out this mission through land protection and wildlife habitat management, management of inland and marine fish and wildlife species, and ecological restoration of fresh water, salt water, and terrestrial habitats. 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 rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.

DFG's Office of Fishing and Boating Access (FBA) manages the construction, repair, and operation of state boat ramps, canoe and car-top launch sites, parking areas and approach roads. The office oversees facility design and construction, which is usually done by private contractors or municipal public works departments. Office funds are also used to construct handicapped accessible sport fishing piers and to purchase and improve shoreline fishing areas. FBA facilities provide access to more than 1,200 miles of seashore and hundreds of great ponds, rivers and streams in the Commonwealth. The office oversees 273 boat and canoe launch sites, shore fishing areas and fishing piers in Massachusetts, giving residents and visitors extensive opportunities to enjoy fishing and recreational boating opportunities such as canoeing, kayaking, sailing, and waterskiing.

For a table of information about the individual access locations, maps and fisheries information, visit the DFG website at http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/pab/pab_facilities.htm.

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