- Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
- Department of Fish and Game
- Division of Ecological Restoration
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Grants for Watershed Restoration Projects
Boston — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $45,000 in state grant funds for two river restoration efforts in Chester and Halifax. These funds will leverage more than $190,000 in federal and foundation grants to enhance stream habitats for fish and wildlife and improve water quality.
“These restoration efforts will improve water quality, increase climate change resiliency, boost recreation and tourism and help sustain commercial and recreational fishing,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This funding announcement reflects our commitment to conserving the Commonwealth’s land and wildlife, as well as proactively taking steps to increase our resilience to the effects of climate change.”
“These projects will enable these water bodies to be restored to their natural state, improving ecological conditions and allowing wildlife to thrive,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “By leveraging funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, this grant will help make these important local conservation efforts possible.”
The Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) coordinates these grants for priority river restoration projects. DER is awarding $40,000 to Trout Unlimited for the restoration of Kinne Brook in Chester by replacing two undersized culverts and $5,000 to the Town of Halifax for improvements to Stump Brook.
“Smart infrastructure, such as properly sized culverts, will help us better adapt to climate change, prevent flooding and reduce damage to roads and other infrastructure,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “By awarding funds to these culvert replacement and water quality protection projects we can improve stream habitat, water quality and public health in Chester and Halifax.”
“Healthy rivers and streams support recreational pursuits such as fishing, canoeing and kayaking, and small brooks are often the source of our drinking water,” said DFG Commissioner George Peterson. “Keeping them clean, healthy and free-flowing is a priority of our Department.”
Trout Unlimited is leading the effort to design and replace two undersized culverts on Kinne Brook, a tributary of the Westfield River. When complete, the project will reconnect over 30 miles of coldwater stream habitat. State funding will help match a $134,429 grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation’s New England Forests & Rivers Fund. Funds will facilitate final designs and permit applications for the culvert replacement projects and will support outreach and on-going monitoring efforts.
“Great partnerships between the state and active grassroots organizations like Trout Unlimited are the cornerstone of maintaining the pristine natural resources that make the Berkshires so special,” said Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield).
“I am pleased that the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration has selected Trout Unlimited to receive $40, 000,” said State Representative Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington). “This grant money will go a long way in helping complete their project in Chester. In addition to protecting a delicate natural ecosystem, long term this project will ultimately reduce maintenance costs for the Town, reconnect access for residential and emergency vehicles, and protect municipal and private infrastructure.”
“Undersized culverts are barriers to many species that call our rivers home, and more than 60% of culverts in our local watersheds are undersized,” said Erin Rodgers, Ph.D., Western New England Project Coordinator of Trout Unlimited. “These structures not only keep animals from their habitat, during floods they can act like dams and eventually wash out, creating expensive emergency repair work. Replacing these culverts before they become a problem helps everyone.”
The Town of Halifax is working with multiple partners in the management of Monponsett Ponds and Stump Brook to optimize water quality and quantity. These water bodies are subject to harmful seasonal algal blooms. State funding will match an EPA grant of $57,338 through the EPA’s Southeast New England Coastal Watershed Restoration Program.
“I want to thank the Baker Administration, Secretary Beaton of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and Commissioner Peterson of Department of Fish and Game for aiding state and local officials and members of the Monponsett Pond Working Group in their efforts involving the Stump Brook Restoration and Sustainable Flow Management Project in the town of Halifax and Hanson,” said State Senator Michael D. Brady (D-Brockton).
“I am pleased that the Town of Halifax is receiving assistance to identify sources discharging into Monponsett Pond and Stump Brook,” said State Representative Thomas Calter (D-Kingston).“I applaud the Town and its partners who continue to be actively engaged in finding solutions to improve water quality and quantity in these valuable community resources.”
“State funds will identify, map, and prioritize the stormwater outfalls and other sources discharging to the East and West Monponsett Ponds, ponds that feed into Stump Brook,” said Halifax Town Administrator Charlie Seelig. “By doing so, the amount of nutrients and other chemicals flowing into Monponsett Pond can be reduced, thereby improving the water quality of Monponsett Pond and Stump Brook.”
The Priority Projects Program is one of the vehicles by which the Division of Ecological Restoration pursues wetland and river restoration, urban river revitalization, and stream flow restoration projects that present the greatest benefit to the Commonwealth, ecologically, socially and economically.
The mission of the Division of Ecological Restoration 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.