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Boston — February 6, 2017 – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced a grant of $1 million in federal funds to the Town of Yarmouth for a tidal restoration project in the Parkers River. The project will replace an undersized bridge on Route 28, eliminate a severe tidal restriction, and improve fish passage, salt marsh growth and the overall health of the Parkers River estuary.
“We are proud to work cooperatively with the Town of Yarmouth and our federal partners on this impressive local project to improve habitat, infrastructure, and coastal resiliency,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This grant takes us one step closer to improved transportation on Cape Cod and healthier natural resources in the Parkers River estuary.”
“The Parkers River restoration will improve public safety and the ecology of the Parkers River, benefiting local residents and natural habitat for fish and wildlife,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “This important project is part of our administration’s dedication to helping communities protect their infrastructure and residents, as well as improving habitat for our native species.”
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service provided a total of $3.38 million to the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) in 2014 through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act for the Parkers River restoration. DER is awarding $1 million for this pre-construction phase of the project.
Other federal partners on the project include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. DER serves as project management lead and provides technical assistance to the Town of Yarmouth and the project partners.
“This project will greatly improve tidal flow in the Parkers River estuary, improving conditions for wildlife, fish passage, and the overall health of the river and wetlands surrounding it,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “We appreciate the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s significant commitment of funds, which will cover all pre-construction costs and put the project on track for construction.”
“We are thrilled to be involved in this resiliency project at Parkers River,” said Wendi Weber, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Northeast Regional Director. “Restoring the estuary will improve the habitat for fish and shellfish and benefit communities by providing a natural defense against coastal flooding from storms and sea-level rise.”
“Healthy salt marshes buffer storms and are fertile grounds for juvenile fish, rare plants and coastal water birds,” said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner George N. Peterson, Jr. “This project will have a very positive impact on wildlife, and provide outdoor recreational opportunities including fishing, shellfishing, and bird watching.”
The project will replace a degraded and undersized state bridge on Route 28, a primary transportation corridor on Cape Cod, with a modern 30-foot-wide bridge. It will reduce damage to infrastructure by allowing storm surge to flow more rapidly out of the estuary following major storm events. The project will also improve fish passage, salt marsh growth and improve the overall health of the Parkers River estuary by reducing nitrogen loads.
“This project would not be where it is without the concerted efforts of so many at the local level in the Town of Yarmouth, along with such great support from the Commonwealth and our Federal partners,” said State Representative Timothy Whelan (R-Brewster). “Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration, Secretary Beaton, and Commissioner Peterson for your continued commitment to environmental sustainability in the Mid-Cape region.”
“Stewardship of our fragile environment is a cherished value on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket,” said State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “I am encouraged to learn that Yarmouth has been selected to receive a $1 million grant for the Parkers River Restoration project. This grant will go a long way in helping to preserve and protect our unique corner of the Commonwealth.”
“This grant is a major step forward in the restoration of the Parkers River estuary,” said State Representative William Crocker (R-Centerville). “The upgrade of this bridge and culvert will not only help the coastal water system in the area but will be a great improvement in traffic management on Route 28 through Yarmouth.”
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.