For Immediate Release - July 08, 2011

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces 15 Grants for Water Protection, Habitat Restoration and Education

BOSTON - July 08, 2011 - Continuing the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to environmental stewardship, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary (EEA) Richard K. Sullivan Jr. today announced $488,998 in grants from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) for projects to protect and restore rivers, watersheds, and wildlife across the Commonwealth.

"For over 20 years the MET has been at the forefront of conservation efforts that protect the vital waterways of Massachusetts," said Secretary Sullivan. "These types of projects rely on the collaborative efforts of communities and conservation partners, working side by side with the Commonwealth to ensure our waters are clean and protected for generations to come."

The grants will help support projects in Amherst, Athol, Boston, Cheshire, Kingston, Plymouth, Pelham, Saugus, and Wareham. Funding comes from the sale of the state's three environmentally-themed specialty license plates: the Right Whale Tail, the Leaping Brook Trout, and the Blackstone Valley Mill.

Since it was founded in 1988 as part of the Boston Harbor cleanup, MET has awarded more than $19 million in grants to organizations statewide that provide a wide array of environmental services, from supporting water projects in communities to protecting coastal habitats.

"When Massachusetts motorists purchase environmental license plates, they also make an investment in our waters," said James R. Gomes, director of Clark University's Mosakowski Institute, who chairs the Massachusetts Environmental Trust.

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

The grant awards range from $15,600 to $75,000 and are listed below:

  • Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (Belmont) - $ 34,415 to update the web-based training course "Fundamentals for Conservation Commissioners," which provide certification for conservation commissioners on wetlands issues.
  • University of Massachusetts (Boston) - $35,000 to establish a network of five long-term river restoration monitoring sites and collect the first phase of pre- and post-restoration data at dam removal sites in Massachusetts.
  • The Charles River Conservancy (Boston & Cambridge) - $30,000 for a feasibility analysis of swimming sites in the Charles River. The project will monitor and analyze E. coli at the two sites; monitor and analyze cyanobacteria in the lower Charles basin; and develop sediment sampling protocols to assess risk from potentially contaminated sediments at the two sites.
  • Neponset River Watershed Association (Canton) - $25,000 to work with municipalities in the Neponset River Watershed to prepare for and to implement the new EPA Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System General Permit.
  • Town of Saugus - $35,000 for design and permitting for restoration of the 32-acre Ballard Street marsh. Once restored the marsh will provide improved flood protection and critical habitat for birds, fish, and shellfish. .
  • American Rivers (Plymouth) - $75,000 to plan the ecological restoration of 240 acres of coastal wetlands. The project includes two dam removals and restoration of two headwaters areas; restoration of stream channel and floodplains; and assures fish passage over 3.5 miles of Beaver Dam Brook.
  • Association to Preserve Cape Cod, Inc. - $15,600 to initiate a new comprehensive regional monitoring program for aquatic invasive species.
  • The Coalition for Buzzards Bay (Wareham) - $50,000 to implement the Wareham Nitrogen Consensus to reduce coastal nitrogen pollution. Through implementation of the Consensus Action Plan, a wide range of constituents will implement strategies to reduce to wastewater and agricultural nitrogen pollution.
  • Jones River Watershed Association, Inc. (Kingston) - $22,470 to remove a failed tide gate to restore tidal flow and salt water exchange to over 20 acres of impaired marsh lands in Kingston and Duxbury.
  • MA/R.I. Trout Unlimited Council (Wareham) - $25,000 for design and permitting for the continued restoration of Red Brook to its source at White Island Pond in Plymouth. The Project will restore 60 acres of wetlands, remove numerous small dams, and preserve the coldwater nature of the stream.
  • Town of Athol - $30,000 to remove two dams and a failed culvert in the headwaters of Thousand Acre Brook and restore the native wetland. The project will re-connect wetland and riverine areas separated for over a century.
  • Deerfield River Watershed Association (Greenfield) - $16,552 to study macroinvertebrate communities in small headwater streams in forested portions of the Deerfield River watershed.
  • Housatonic Valley Association (Lee) - $22,931 to assess and prioritize culverts and barriers in the Housatonic Watershed, and recommend necessary replacement for integration into highway plans.
  • Town of Amherst (Pelham) - $47,030 to remove the Bartlett Fish Rod Co. Dam on Amethyst Brook in Pelham. Removing the dam will restore upstream fish passage for migratory and resident fish species and improve water quality and in-stream habitat.
  • Town of Cheshire - $25,000 to remove a dam and replace a failed culvert on Thunder Brook in Cheshire. Thunder Brook is a high-quality coldwater stream with a large population of native brook trout.