The Baker-Polito Administration announced $905,000 in awards today to support local culvert replacement projects that improve municipal infrastructure and river health. The grants are provided by the Department of Fish and Game\u2019s Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) through its Culvert Replacement Municipal Assistance grant program. The grants were announced as part of \u201cClimate Week,\u201d a week highlighting Massachusetts\u2019 efforts to prepare for and combat climate change and celebrating the one year anniversary of Governor Baker\u2019s signing of Executive Order 569.\u00a0 The Order, which builds on the administration\u2019s nation-leading efforts to reduce emissions, lays out a comprehensive approach to further mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, and build a more resilient Commonwealth.\n\n\u201cOur administration is proud to support cities and towns across the Commonwealth as they upgrade their local infrastructure to improve storm readiness and protect the health of the Commonwealth\u2019s natural resources,\u201d said Governor Charlie Baker.\u00a0 \u201cThe grants provided through the Culvert Replacement Municipal Assistance Grant Program help ensure our state\u2019s infrastructure can handle large rain events exacerbated by climate change.\u201d\n\n\u201cOur cities and towns are on the front lines of climate change, and our administration is proud to partner with municipalities across the state as we work together to protect our citizens, our local economies and the environment in the face of a changing climate,\u201d said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. \u201cThe Culvert Replacement Municipal Assistance Grant Program\u2019s funding and technical assistance helps cities and towns improve aging infrastructure, ecological health, and climate change resilience within their communities.\u201d\n\nThe purpose of DER\u2019s new Culvert Replacement Municipal Assistance Grant Program is to encourage and help municipalities to replace existing culverts with crossings that meet improved design standards for fish and wildlife passage, river health, and storm resiliency.\n\n\u201cFlooding and aging infrastructure is one of the most serious challenges facing cities and towns across the Commonwealth,\u201d said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. \u201cThe Baker-Polito Administration is proud to continue to collaborate with communities across the state, and provide the funding necessary for municipal road managers to fix aging infrastructure while reducing public safety risks and supporting wildlife in our rivers, streams and wetland habitats.\u201d\n\nNearly half of Massachusetts\u2019 estimated 30,000 culverts are undersized and/or poorly positioned and act as barriers to fish and wildlife.\u00a0 Undersized culverts are also a serious risk to public safety, as increased rainfall can cause flood waters to overtop roads, resulting in washouts and road closures.\u00a0 Installing culverts that meet the Massachusetts Stream Crossing Standards allows waterways to flow more naturally with lower risk of flood damage.\u00a0 Recent studies have found that culverts designed to meet these Standards are often less expensive than in-kind culvert replacements over the lifespan of the structure.\n\n\u201cRiver restoration through culvert replacement provides multiple benefits to fish and wildlife, including improved water quality, expanded habitat for aquatic organisms, and improved fisheries for local anglers,\u201d said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Ron Amidon.\n\nThe following 13 projects were awarded grants through the 2017 Culvert Replacement Municipal Assistance Grants Program:\n\nBernardston - $74,930:\u00a0 The Town of Bernardston will conduct field data collection, engineering and design, and permitting for a culvert replacement on the Mill Brook. Replacing the culvert will provide passage for fish and wildlife, and improve Bernardston\u2019s public safety and storm resilience by reducing flood impacts.\n\nBoxford - $24,250: The Town of Boxford will conduct engineering and design and permitting for a culvert replacement on an unnamed tributary to the Parkers River. Replacing the culvert will provide passage for fish and wildlife, improve Boxford\u2019s storm resilience by reducing flooding, and reduce maintenance cost by allowing debris to flow through the structure.\n\nBrookfield - $70,230: The Town of Brookfield will conduct engineering and design and permitting for a culvert replacement on an un-named tributary to the Quaboag River. The culvert replacement will improve connectivity of the headwater habitat for the 1,400 acre Quacumquasit Wildlife Management Area.\n\nColrain - $90,000: The Town of Colrain will conduct field data collection, engineering and design, and permitting for a culvert replacement on an un-named tributary to the North River. Replacing the culvert will provide passage for fish and wildlife, and improve Colrain\u2019s infrastructure by reducing the risk of culvert failure.\n\nFramingham - up to $155,000:\u00a0 The City of Framingham will conduct field data collection, engineering and design, and permitting for a culvert replacement on the Landham Brook. Replacing the culvert is the first step of a multi-phase project to improve ecological function, fish and wildlife connectivity, and storm resiliency while reducing flood impacts.\n\nLancaster - $81,000: The Town of Lancaster will conduct field data collection, engineering and design, and permitting for a culvert replacement on the Wekepeke. Replacing the culvert will improve fish and wildlife passage and Lancaster\u2019s infrastructure and storm resilience.\n\nMashpee - $50,000: The Town of Mashpee will conduct data collection, engineering and design, and permitting for a culvert replacement on the Santuit River. Replacing the culvert will improve fish passage and Mashpee\u2019s stormwater quality and infrastructure.\n\nPrinceton - $78,740: The Town of Princeton will conduct field data collection, engineering and design, and permitting for a culvert replacement on the South Wachusett Brook. Replacing the culvert will provide passage for fish and wildlife and improve Princeton\u2019s infrastructure and storm resilience by reducing flood impacts.\n\nSheffield - $97,000: The Town of Sheffield will conduct field data collection and preliminary engineering and design for a culvert replacement on the Dry Brook. Replacing the culvert will provide passage for fish and wildlife through the culvert. Sheffield\u2019s infrastructure and storm resilience will also be improved by reducing flood impacts and erosion.\n\nWarren - $49,200: The Town of Warren will conduct field data collection, engineering and design, and permitting for a culvert replacement on Taylor Brook. Replacing the culvert will provide passage for resident brook trout and other fish and wildlife, and will improve Warren\u2019s infrastructure and storm resilience.\n\nWashington - $37,750: The Town of Washington will conduct field data collection and engineering and design for a culvert replacement on Savery Brook. Replacing the culvert will provide passage for fish and wildlife and will improve Washington\u2019s infrastructure and storm resilience by reducing potential flood impacts.\n\nWenham - $60,000: The Town of Wenham will conduct field data collection and engineering and design for a culvert replacement on an un-named tributary to the Ipswich River. Replacing the culvert will provide fish and wildlife passage, and will improve Wenham\u2019s infrastructure and storm resilience by reducing flood impacts and maintaining access to the Gordon College Campus.\n\nWeston - $36,900: The Town of Weston will conduct field data collection, engineering and design, and permitting for a culvert replacement on Cherry Brook. Replacing the culvert will provide passage for fish and wildlife and will improve Weston\u2019s infrastructure and storm resilience.\n\nThe statewide Culvert Replacement Municipal Assistance Grant Program is supported by DER\u2019s Capital Budget.\u00a0 Additional funding for projects in the Sudbury-Assabet-Concord Watershed is provided by the Department of Environmental Protection\u2019s Natural Resources Damages (NRD) Program through the Nyanza NRD settlement. The New England Forests and Rivers Fund administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and the Natural Resources Conservation Service is providing support to DER for grant development and technical assistance for projects located in the Deerfield River Watershed.\n\n\u201cMassDEP is pleased to work with DER to provide these funds, as benefiting native fish, such as brook trout, is a high priority for the NRD Trustees,\u201d said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. The NRD Trustees include the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, represented by MassDEP, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.\n\n\u201cThe Town of Warren continues to take necessary steps to ensure public safety and address environmental concerns,\u201d said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer).\u00a0 \u201cThis grant will assist them in those efforts and I appreciate the support of the administration and Commissioner Amidon.\u201d\n\n\u201cThis is terrific news for the residents of Warren as well as the surrounding ecosystem,\u201d said State Representative Todd Smola (R-Warren). \u201cThis culvert replacement project will increase the health of local wildlife while safeguarding our infrastructure. I want to congratulate our hardworking town officials for securing these funds.\u201d\u00a0\n\n\u201cUndersized culverts act as barriers to the natural habitats of fish and wildlife, and also pose serious threats to public safety by not adequately protecting against flood waters,\u201d said State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). \u201cThe state grant being awarded to the Sampson\u2019s Mill Road Project in Mashpee will not only assist in the engineering and permitting process of the culvert replacement, but it will allow the Santuit River to adequately support one of the few populations of sea run brook trout.\u201d\n\n\u201cSome of our most important pieces of infrastructure \u2013 like culverts \u2013 are the ones you may not notice. But they prevent floods, they keep roads clear, and most importantly, they make sure that you can drive from one place to the other without hassle,\u201d said Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester). \u201cThat\u2019s why I\u2019m very happy that Princeton has received this grant, and that the Department of Fish \u0026 Game is keeping up good government policy by maintaining our infrastructure and protecting our local wildlife.\u201d\n\n\u201cThank you to the Baker-Polito Administration and the Division of Ecological Restoration for providing this much needed funding,\u201d State\u00a0Representative Kimberly Ferguson\u00a0(R-Holden). \u201cI\u2019m thrilled Princeton was chosen as a recipient and will be able to make long overdue repairs to the Ball Hill Road culvert.\u201d\n\nThe mission of the Division of Ecological Restoration is to restore and protect the Commonwealth\u2019s rivers, wetlands and watersheds for the benefit of people and the environment. DER\u2019s Stream Continuity Program helps municipalities replace undersized culverts with better designed structures that meet ecological and public safety criteria, ultimately resulting in improvements to stream connectivity and a reduction in roadway and flood hazards.\n\nThe Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is responsible for promoting the conservation and enjoyment of the Commonwealth\u0027s 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\u0027s rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.