PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES FEMA GRANT MATCH FOR SALISBURY TOWN CREEK
"Thanks to the work of federal, state and local partners, this project protects municipal infrastructure that is critical for this community," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "These improvements will not only help keep businesses open, but will also improve water quality and restore critical wetland habitats that support the commercial fishing industry in the region."
The Salisbury restoration site, known as the Town Creek Flood Hazard Mitigation and Wetland Restoration Project, is a large coastal wetland system containing hundreds of acres of former salt marsh that was disconnected from the regular tidal flushing of the Merrimack River over a century ago when a railroad line was built across the creek and marsh. In 2006 and 2007, the embankment washed out during severe storm events and caused flooding of Route 1 and adjacent businesses.
Today, a small culvert with a flap gate conveys very limited tidal flow into the upstream creek and marsh, and severely inhibits drainage during flood events. The site exhibits many indicators of degradation, including poor water quality and domination by invasive species. The project will greatly reduce the risk of flooding to upstream properties by improving the town's ability to effectively manage water levels within the system. The design will enhance tidal flushing of the estuary to improve habitat conditions for many important species of fish, birds and other wildlife.
State investment, funded through the Environmental Bond Bill signed by Governor Deval Patrick in 2008, represents 25 percent of the total project cost, and FEMA's investment represents the remaining 75 percent of the cost.
"Thanks to Lieutenant Governor Murray's leadership, this funding will help the Town of Salisbury build a permanent solution at Town Creek to prevent repeated devastation during storms for years to come", said Senator Steven A. Baddour.
"The Town Creek floodgate project has been a collaborative effort with Governor Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. Usually, the matching share for a FEMA grant comes to the Town, but they realized that the project has larger impacts. The two new floodgates will solve the environmental problem and address public safety issues. Additionally, the businesses along Route 1 should have a higher comfort level once the project is complete," said Representative Michael Costello.
In 2006, the Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) identified the site as a high priority salt marsh restoration opportunity in the Great Marsh Coastal Wetlands Restoration Plan and identified the site as a state-designated Priority Wetlands Restoration Project. Since that designation, the state and its partners have spent approximately $100,000 to evaluate restoration options and conduct engineering and other technical studies to prepare the project for construction.
The organizations involved in this project are the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, US Fish and Wildlife Services, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), US Army Corps of Engineers, Eight Towns & the Bay Committee, Conservation Law Foundation, Massachusetts Audubon Society and the town of Salisbury.