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Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Awards Grants for River and Wetland Restoration, Climate Adaptation

Grants will support two Priority Ecological Restoration Projects in the towns of Falmouth, Mashpee, and North Adams.
For immediate release:
11/09/2020
  • Department of Fish and Game
  • Division of Ecological Restoration
  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards Grants for River and Wetland Restoration, Climate Adaptation

Craig Gilvarg, Press Secretary

BostonThe Baker-Polito Administration today announced $831,000 in state and federal grant funds to support two Priority Ecological Restoration Projects in the towns of Falmouth, Mashpee, and North Adams. The two projects will help local partners remove aging dams, rejuvenate historic wetlands on retired cranberry bogs, replace undersized and failing culverts, restore streamflow and floodplain habitat, and revitalize urban rivers.

“Our Administration is proud to support projects that work to implement nature-based solutions to some of the pressing issues that our communities are facing,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Dam removals, culvert replacements, and other similar work address our aging infrastructure and increase resilience to climate change, improve public safety, and restore important habitats for a variety of wildlife.”

“This work will serve the Commonwealth in the long term by improving natural systems and increasing communities’ resilience to climate change, which will bring increasingly severe storms in the coming years,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “These investments will also drive economic activity in these communities, and we are pleased to work with our federal partners to support these important projects.”

The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) brings together federal, state, and local agencies and organizations to plan, fund, and implement projects that restore rivers and wetlands while also helping communities adapt to climate change. 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.

“By improving public safety, increasing resilience to storms and mitigating flood risk, and improving water quality and habitat for a variety of important species, these projects provide significant benefits to both Massachusetts residents and the environment,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “As the Commonwealth continues to experience the impacts of a changing climate, projects that improve aging infrastructure are increasingly important, and we commend the communities and local organizations for their forward-thinking in pursuing this work.”

“DER’s Priority Projects are not only beneficial for a variety of important species through water quality, passage, and overall habitat improvement, but also provide increased recreational opportunities to enjoy this wildlife in their natural habitat,” said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Ronald Amidon. “Especially during these times when access to outdoor space is so important, we’re proud to provide new opportunities to enjoy nature via paddling, walking, observing, and various other kinds of outdoor recreation.” 

Once completed, the projects will provide significant social, environmental, and economic benefits to the Commonwealth and local communities. Currently, 56 ecological restoration projects throughout the state are designated as Priority Projects.

Of the total funds awarded, $819,000 are federal grant funds awarded to DER through the United States Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program. A further $12,000 comes from state capital funds.

The grants awarded by the Baker-Polito Administration include: 

Childs River Restoration, Falmouth and Mashpee

Award: Falmouth Rod and Gun Club & the Town of Falmouth, $819,000 (federal)

The Falmouth Rod and Gun Club, the Town of Falmouth, and partners are working together to restore parts of the Childs River, which involves restoration of coastal freshwater wetlands and stream restoration to reconnect the headwaters of the Childs River to Waquoit Bay and Vineyard Sound. Work for this project will include the removal of an earthen dam, replacement of an undersized road culvert, re-establishing the channel and wetland floodplain, as well as the removal of dikes and water control structures within the former cranberry bogs. When complete, the former cranberry bogs will be transformed into a mosaic of habitat types and approximately 26 acres will be restored. The project will also offer opportunities for scientific research, public education, and passive recreation.

Hoosic River Flood Chute Naturalization Project, North Adams

Award: Hoosic River Revival, $12,000 (state)

The City of North Adams, Hoosic River Revival, Hoosic River Watershed Association, and state and federal agencies are working together to re-naturalize and revitalize the north and south branches of the Hoosic River as they flow through North Adams. The project will improve public safety and reduce annual operating and maintenance costs, while also improving habitat, access, connectivity, and climate resilience. This phase of the project includes the design and permitting of a flood management system within North Adams to replace the existing 2.5-mile aging and deteriorating concrete chute system.

“It is a favorite sight to see dozens of residents kayaking and canoeing along lakes throughout the Berkshires and Western Mass and appreciating our abundance of natural resources,” said State Senator Adam Hinds (D-Pittsfield). “Investment in projects such as this that preserve the environment and protect our natural resources is necessary to mitigate the impact of climate change.”

“This is a community partnership in transforming a former cranberry bog into a natural habitat that will help preserve our ecosystem and aquatic habitat as well as supporting the blue economy in our district,” said State Senator Susan L. Moran (D-Falmouth).

Funding these community-led projects, which help to restore local ecosystems and improve biodiversity, is a necessary step in mitigating the climate crisis,” said State Representative Dylan Fernandes (D-Falmouth). “We have to continue providing local leaders with the resources they need to build innovative climate solutions, because there is still time to prevent the worst consequences of climate change from happening, but only if we are bold and ambitious in our response.

This funding is a significant step in allowing the City of North Adams and the Hoosic River Revival to continue their efforts to address the issue of how best to deal with the City’s deteriorating flood control chutes,” said State Representative John Barrett III (D-North Adams).

“I'm excited to see the final investment in the Child's River Restoration project and want to thank the Baker Administration and Commissioner Amidon for releasing these funds,” said State Representative David T. Vieira (R-East Falmouth). “I grew up going to the Falmouth Rod & Gun Club and helping clear the wildlife habitat plots across the river.  That wildlife habitat was named after my grandfather Charles Eastman II.  I know he would be excited to see that his vision of habitat management has been carried forward to this river restoration project.  My hats off to Gary Anderson and all the volunteers of the Falmouth Rod & Gun Club that are making this project a reality.”

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Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards Grants for River and Wetland Restoration, Climate Adaptation

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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