- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards Funding to Assist Local Water Quality Management Efforts
Edmund Coletta, MassDEP – Director of Public Affairs
BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded $208,995 in funding to six projects to assess watershed pollution and plan for work to address water quality impairments. The projects, selected each year by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), are located in Athol, Braintree, Great Barrington, Natick, Palmer and Quincy.
“The protection of our watersheds is vital to our administration’s efforts to improve water quality and better protect public health,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By supporting innovative green infrastructure solutions, these grants will help communities preserve their environmentally sensitive resources.”
“Stormwater runoff pollutes our watersheds and waterways and has an impact on the quality of life in our communities,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “This grant program helps us build partnerships with local communities as they implement projects that protect important natural resources and preserve local ecosystems.”
The grants are funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through Section 604b of the federal Clean Water Act. Since 1998, MassDEP has funded 103 projects under the 604b water quality management program, totaling more than $4.8 million to address non-point source pollution problems.
“Comprehensive watershed protection efforts keep communities, residents and natural resources across the Commonwealth safe and healthy,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “These grants will help the communities assess and ultimately protect vital local watershed resources.”
“Communities collect watershed data and develop green infrastructure plans to help them manage their local water sources, and we are pleased to offer this support for their efforts,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “The testing of water bodies and the development of low-impact development plans to manage stormwater are key steps in our overall water resource protection strategy across the Commonwealth.”
The term “non-point source pollution” refers to contaminants that are carried to a waterway as a result of precipitation and stormwater runoff from the land or infiltration into the soil. Common types of non-point source pollution include phosphorus and nitrogen from lawn and garden fertilizers, bacteria from pet waste and waterfowl, oil and grease from parking lots and roadways and sediment from construction activities and soil erosion.
Projects selected by the Baker-Polito Administration to receive funding are:
Lake Ellis Watershed Survey – $47,000
Town of Athol
Funding will be used to establish a water quality baseline to serve as a foundation for the development of a watershed-based plan for the control of nuisance aquatic vegetation in Lake Ellis. The project will include consideration of alternative measures for the control of aquatic weeds.
Sub-watershed Assessment and Stormwater Retrofit – $30,623
City of Braintree
Funding will be used to identify and prioritize 10 town-owned parcels suitable for instillation of Low-Impact Development stormwater retrofits and to develop conceptual designs for the use of Best Management Practices at those sites. This effort will include a public engagement program for stakeholders through public meetings, design charrettes and interpretive signage.
Lake Mansfield – Beach Parking Area Stormwater Planning – $25,400
Town of Great Barrington
Funding will help the town prepare preliminary designs and cost estimates to install stormwater Best Management Practices near the Lake Mansfield beach area parking lot, which is one of the last remaining pollution sources contributing to water quality impairment of the lake.
Greening Natick Streets – $27,975
Town of Natick
Funding will be used by the town and the Charles River Watershed Association to develop a Green Street Design program for Pond Street to help reduce phosphorus inputs to Dug Pond, the Charles River and Lake Cochituate. The effort will also include a Green Streets Guide for use in future projects and a public outreach campaign to raise awareness about the importance of the Green Streets program.
Forest Lake Watershed Assessment – $48,119
Town of Palmer
Funding will help the town identify and assess non-point pollution sources to Forest Lake and assist watershed residents and town officials in the development and implementation of a Watershed Based Plan. The plan will help identify opportunities for stormwater remediation.
Stormwater Retrofit Evaluation Project - $29,878
City of Quincy
Funding will help the city and the Neponset Watershed Association (NWA) identify, prioritize and inspect sites suitable for retrofitting with structural stormwater Best Management Practices. The city and NWA will conduct substantial field inspections of potential retrofit locations and select three priority sites.
“I am glad to see funding going to support watershed management, particularly in Palmer and Athol,” said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “These grants go a long way towards ensuring that our towns are prepared and equipped for water quality issues associated with inclement weather and I am proud that they are taking a proactive approach.”
“Lake Mansfield is a jewel in Great Barrington,” said State Representative Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “I applaud the town and the Lake Mansfield Committee for all of their efforts in supporting the enhancement of the lake’s parking lot and for protecting this treasure in the Berkshires.”
“These water quality grants help local officials assess and make significant investments in the health of local watersheds,” said State Representative Todd Smola (R-Warren). “I would like to congratulate the town of Palmer for taking this opportunity to protect Forest Lake for future generations.”
To find out more information about grants and financial assistance related to water quality and watersheds, turn here.