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Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Announces Grants for River and Wetland Restoration Projects

Projects will restore healthy habitat while helping to prevent storm damage, address aging infrastructure, and increase opportunities for outdoor recreation
For immediate release:
3/09/2021
  • Department of Fish and Game
  • Division of Ecological Restoration
  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Grants for River and Wetland Restoration Projects

Craig Gilvarg, Press Secretary

BostonThe Baker-Polito Administration today announced $285,000 in grant funding to support seven river and wetland restoration projects that will restore healthy habitat while helping to prevent storm damage, address aging infrastructure, and increase opportunities for outdoor recreation. Six of these projects are designated Priority Projects through the Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) Priority Projects Program. The remaining project is designated as a Culvert Replacement Training Site through DER’s Culvert Replacement Training Initiative.

“Ecological restoration projects are an important part of our Administration’s efforts to build a Commonwealth that is resilient to the growing impacts of climate change,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The local projects supported through this funding will deliver substantial benefits to Massachusetts communities, residents and the wildlife that rely on these natural spaces.”

“These ecological restoration projects will help communities address aging infrastructure and prevent damage from increasingly intense storms,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Thanks to the help of valued state and local partnerships, these critical efforts can move forward and support the resilience of rivers and wetlands across Massachusetts.” 

The Priority Projects Program is one of the vehicles by which DER pursues wetland and river restoration, urban river revitalization, and streamflow restoration projects that present the greatest benefit to the Commonwealth ecologically, socially, and economically. The six newly funded Priority Projects include cranberry bog restoration, wetland restoration, and dam removal projects which restore healthy habitat while also helping communities prevent storm damage, address aging infrastructure, and improve outdoor recreation.

DER’s Culvert Replacement Training Initiative provides direct technical assistance and funding to municipalities to advance the replacement of select municipally owned culverts at strategic locations throughout Massachusetts to provide convenient, centralized learning locations for local road managers.

“The projects awarded funding today will put these communities in a better position to prepare for the impacts of climate change and build a more resilient future,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Supporting the revitalization of our rivers and wetlands will restore streamflow and important habitats, open new recreational opportunities for residents, and remove aging infrastructure.”

“These habitat restoration efforts will create many new outdoor recreational opportunities for Massachusetts residents through the restoration of natural spaces and wildlife passage,” said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Ronald Amidon. “We are pleased to partner with the municipalities and conservation organizations on these important projects.”

Once completed, these Priority Projects will provide significant social, environmental, and economic benefits to the Commonwealth and local communities. There are currently 48 active ecological restoration projects throughout the state designated as Priority Projects. To review a full list of projects, please visit the Department of Fish & Game’s DER Priority Projects Map webpage.

Of the total funds awarded, $235,000 in state capital funds will advance the following Priority Projects:

Becker Pond Dam Removal, Mt. Washington

Award: The Nature Conservancy, $15,000

DER is partnering with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to remove the Becker Pond Dam, located within TNC’s Mt. Plantain Preserve in Mt. Washington. This project will improve riverine processes within an ecologically sensitive area, open approximately 0.75 miles of additional habitat for brook trout and other aquatic species, and improve climate resiliency. It will also eliminate a public safety hazard by removing aging and hazardous infrastructure. Funding from this grant will support permitting.

Stuart Bogs Wetland Restoration, Rochester

Award: Buzzards Bay Coalition, $40,000

DER is partnering with Buzzards Bay Coalition (BBC) to protect and restore historic wetlands in Rochester. This is a DER Provisional Project that involves protection of approximately 240-acres, including historic wetlands now part of an active cranberry farm. Once protected, approximately 60 acres of retired farmland will be restored to historic wetland conditions and integrated within the broader landscape. Funding from this grant will support BBC’s efforts to acquire the property for permanently protected, public open space, and set the stage for restoration design, permitting, and implementation in the years ahead.

Upper Coonamesett River Restoration, Falmouth

Award: Town of Falmouth, $30,000

This project represents a continuation of significant river and wetlands restoration work recently completed in the lower portion of the Coonamessett River Watershed. This new phase of work, proposed in the upper portion of the watershed, includes wetland restoration of approximately 20 acres of former cranberry farmland, stream channel restoration, and removal of up to eight culverts to improve fish passage. These changes will allow the system to adapt to future conditions, improve biodiversity, and provide a lasting ecological benefit to wildlife. DER funding will support data collection and conceptual restoration design.

Windswept Cranberry Bog Wetland Restoration, Nantucket

Award: Nantucket Conservation Foundation, Inc., $50,000

The Windswept Bog is a 231-acre property owned by the Nantucket Conservation Foundation (NCF). Currently, there are approximately 39 acres of retired cranberry bogs and 111 acres of non-cranberry bog wetlands on the property, all of which are open to the public for passive recreational opportunities such as walking, running, biking, bird watching, and nature study. DER funding will support preliminary engineering design for cranberry bog restoration, as well as baseline data collection to help document future change.

South Meadow Wetland Reserve Easement Restoration, Carver

Award: Edgewood Bogs, LLC, $50,000

This project involves restoration work across approximately 32 acres of retired commercial cranberry farmland, which is currently enrolled in the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) program. DER will partner with NRCS and the landowner to develop designs for wetland and stream restoration, obtain project permits, and construct the project. DER funding will support preliminary engineering design.

Pinnacle Cranberry Bog Restoration, Plymouth

Award: Kapell Pinnacle Watercourse Trust, $50,000

This project, focused on approximately 50 acres of former commercial cranberry farmland protected by the NRCS WRE program, will include wetland restoration of nearly 15 acres to benefit a variety of wetland wildlife, including several rare species. DER will partner with the landowner, NRCS, and the Town of Plymouth to design, permit, and construct the project. DER funding will support preliminary engineering design.

In addition to the six newly funded Priority Projects, a further $50,000 in state capital funds was awarded for the following Culvert Replacement Training Site:

Culvert Replacement Training Project Site: Baptist Corner Road, Ashfield

Award: Town of Ashfield, $50,000

The culvert at Baptist Corner Road in Ashfield is severely undersized, in degraded condition, and is a barrier to fish and wildlife movement. The site is in the Deerfield River Watershed, within a coldwater fisheries resource area that supports resident trout. The existing 5-foot diameter pipe will be replaced with a 19-foot open bottom arch that will provide passage for brook trout and other aquatic and terrestrial species. The upgraded structure will also improve Ashfield’s infrastructure and storm resilience. This culvert has been a DER culvert replacement training site since 2016 and will continue to host DER-led municipal culvert replacement trainings to expand municipal capacity to implement this type of project. Funding will support the construction phase of this project.

“DER’s Priority Projects Program and Culvert Replacement Training Initiative connect DER with partners throughout the state to achieve ecological restoration goals,” said DER Director Beth Lambert. “We are excited to see the benefits of this work in the form of increased community resilience to climate change and improved habitat for Massachusetts wildlife.”

“I am very pleased that $50,000 has been awarded to support the restoration and maintenance of a healthy river and wetland habitat in the Town of Carver,” said Dean of the Massachusetts Senate Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton).  “The cranberry bog is an agricultural staple of the Southeastern region and the worst effects of climate change have already begun to disturb the natural balance of our local ecosystems.  As significant changes continue to emerge, local freshwater habitats will increasingly depend on critical resources such as these to adapt.  Thanks to all those who contributed to a successful application in this latest round of river and wetland restoration grants.”

“Investment in fish and wildlife movement is critical for preserving the abundance of natural resources that make Western Mass unique,” said State Senator Adam Hinds (D-Pittsfield). “This funding will also go hand-in-hand with maintaining each community’s infrastructure and the climate resiliency efforts throughout our region.”

"This grant award for Edgewood Bogs in Carver is a wonderful project,” said State Representative Susan Williams Gifford (R-Wareham). “Not only will it restore a very delicate part of the ecosystem but it will show what can be accomplished by federal, state and local land owners in a partnership to accomplish common goals that benefit the environment." 

The mission of the Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) is to restore and protect the Commonwealth’s rivers, wetlands, and watersheds for the benefit of people and the environment. 

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.

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Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Grants for River and Wetland Restoration Projects

Department of Fish and Game 

The Department of Fish and Game works to preserve the state's natural resources. We exercise responsibility over the Commonwealth's marine and freshwater fisheries, wildlife species, plants, and natural communities, as well as the habitats that support them.

Division of Ecological Restoration 

DER restores and protects rivers, wetlands, and watersheds in Massachusetts for the benefit of people and the environment.

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs 

EEA seeks to protect, preserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s environmental resources while ensuring a clean energy future for the state’s residents. Through the stewardship of open space, protection of environmental resources, and enhancement of clean energy, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs works tirelessly to make Massachusetts a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.
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