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Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Awards Grants to Improve Habitat Health in Massachusetts Bays

Funds will help local environmental organizations improve ecosystem health in Ipswich Bay, Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay
For immediate release:
7/29/2020
  • Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management
  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards Grants to Improve Habitat Health in Massachusetts Bays

Craig Gilvarg, Press Secretary

BostonThe Baker-Polito Administration today awarded $95,615 in federal funds to help local environmental organizations improve ecosystem health in Ipswich Bay, Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay. These Healthy Estuaries Grants are being awarded by the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Partnership (MassBays) through the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“Bays and estuaries are critical ecosystems that are also important to quality of life and economic activity here in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These grants will help support important local efforts to ensure that these vital natural resources remain resilient and healthy for generations to come.”

“Local environmental groups play a key leadership role in maintaining water quality and healthy ecosystems,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The MassBays Healthy Estuaries Grants provide these organizations with an important source of federal funding and state support to help protect and manage these crucial habitats.”

Projects funded through this year’s Healthy Estuaries Grants include water quality monitoring, resource management planning, and investigations of estuary habitats. Funds will be matched by $191,310 in municipal and private contributions.

“These grants apply federal funds to local projects that directly improve water quality and habitat conditions from Salisbury to Provincetown,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “We are pleased to work with our federal partners at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to support these important projects, and we look forward to further collaboration with the dedicated groups that are working diligently to protect the Commonwealth’s bays and estuaries.”

“CZM is pleased to support MassBays in its efforts to protect coastal waters and habitats through effective collaborations and partnership,” said CZM Director Lisa Engler. “Through the Healthy Estuaries Grants, MassBays is connecting local environmental groups with state and federal resources that dramatically enhance capacity to protect these coastal resources.”

“MassBays is excited to support research and monitoring of these natural resources,” said Pam DiBona, Executive Director of MassBays. “The projects funded through these grants will fill gaps in our knowledge about the bays and inform efforts to improve conditions across the entire region.”

The following four projects have been funded through this year’s grants:

·      Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) - $28,083 to expand CCS’s existing water quality monitoring program to include measures of coastal and ocean acidification. This MassBays-funded effort will contribute to the Commonwealth’s initiative to assess and minimize impacts of ocean acidification on shellfish and other estuarine ecosystems.

·      Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) - $30,000 to conduct an inventory of environmental conditions in Belle Isle Marsh. The MassBays grant will fund the first steps toward developing a comprehensive resource management plan for one of the last remaining substantial salt marshes in greater Boston. 

·      Merrimack River Watershed Council (MRWC) - $22,532 to re-establish MRWC’s monitoring program in the lower portions of the river (monitoring sites in Amesbury, Newbury, Newburyport and Salisbury). With MassBays funding, MRWC will collect data on water quality and bacteria to share with residents and inform management actions.

·      Salem Sound Coastwatch (SSCW) - $15,000 to investigate the impacts of docks and piers on seagrass in Salem Sound. SSCW’s effort will ensure protection of an important fish habitat that is already under stress from pollution and climate change.

“As I’ve seen as a member of the Massachusetts Commission on Ocean Acidification, we’re experiencing climate-related changes in our ocean chemistry that can have detrimental effects on shellfishing and aquaculture industries,” said State Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth). “Initiatives like this can make a real difference in our efforts to preserve and protect our ecosystems and I am thankful to the Baker-Polito Administration for their efforts to secure these funds.”

“The Center for Coastal Studies’ work to monitor and mitigate the effects of ocean acidification is critical to Cape Cod’s regional shellfish economy and those who rely on it to make a life here,” said State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “We are grateful to our state and federal partners for delivering resources that will keep our shores ecologically sound for many years to come.”

“I am thrilled to see the Center for Coastal Studies receive a grant to expand their water quality monitoring program,” said State Representative Kathleen LaNatra (D-Kingston). “The health of Cape Cod Bay and its ecosystems is crucial to the economy and way of life all communities that surround the bay. I am confident that CCS will provide much needed data to ensure that we are able to protect this valuable resource.”

“Our shellfishing industry relies on a healthy ecosystem to thrive, but ocean acidification threatens this progress,” said Representative Josh Cutler (D-Duxbury). “Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration and the Office Coastal Zone Management for making this grant to monitor water quality and support sustainable aquaculture in the Commonwealth." 

“I am thrilled that the Center for Coastal Studies is receiving a MassBays grant for their efforts in improving the water quality in Cape Cod Bay. CCS has been leading the charge in monitoring water quality in Cape Cod Bay since the Outfall pipe went ‘live,’” said State Representative Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown). “Now as we face the threat of ocean acidification negatively impacting our many fisheries, but especially shellfish and lobsters, it is even more critical the Center for Coastal Studies water quality monitoring program has the funding to continue their important research.”

The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) is the lead policy and planning agency on coastal and ocean issues within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. CZM hosts the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Partnership (MassBays), an EPA-funded program that empowers 50 coastal communities from Salisbury to Provincetown to protect, restore and enhance their coastal habitats. To fulfill this mission, MassBays engages local, state and federal entities to advance the use of scientific information and provides technical support for better decision making.

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Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards Grants to Improve Habitat Health in Massachusetts Bays

Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management 

CZM is the lead policy, planning, and technical assistance agency on coastal and ocean issues within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and implements the state’s coastal program under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act.
PLEASE NOTE: All CZM offices are currently closed for in-person services. See "Contact CZM" under "Top actions & services" below for more information.

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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