- Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards Grants to Restore Habitat and Water Quality in the South Coast Region
BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $48,920 in federal grant awards for habitat restoration and water quality protection projects in Buzzards Bay. Two grants will help the towns of Gosnold and Dartmouth to better manage boat waste and to investigate causes of salt marsh degradation, and are being matched by $43,950 in municipal and private contributions.
“Buzzards Bay is a state and national treasure, and protecting its clean water and healthy habitats is essential to the economy and quality of life of South Coast communities,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These grants support our administration’s commitment to working with communities to protect and restore the Commonwealth’s vital natural resources.”
“Our administration is proud to work with the federal government to assist these communities in their important conservation work,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Through federal funding, state support and targeted local action, these grants are a useful tool to protect environmental resources and human health in the Buzzards Bay region.”
“We congratulate Gosnold and Dartmouth for their forward-thinking approaches to protecting Buzzards Bay water quality and ecosystems,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton. “These projects offer practical, on-the-ground solutions that will effectively reduce environmental impacts.”
The grants are being awarded by the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program (NEP) through the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), with funding from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“For decades, CZM’s National Estuary Programs have supported federal, state and local partnerships with significant long-term benefits for the Massachusetts coast,” said CZM Director Bruce Carlisle. “We are proud of the priority that the Buzzards Bay NEP puts on partnering with coastal communities in the region and want to thank the EPA for their continued support to protect and restore our estuaries.”
“Ensuring adequate boat waste pump-out facilities in Buzzards Bay is a priority for our program,” said Joe Costa, Executive Director of the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program. “The Dartmouth project is also very timely as we have been receiving reports of die offs in other salt marshes around Buzzards Bay.”
The following grants were awarded:
The Town of Gosnold will receive $13,920 to purchase a stationary, self-service boat waste pumpout unit for the Cuttyhunk Vessel Pumpout Station. The pumpout, to be operated and maintained by the Town’s partner, the Buzzards Bay Coalition, will be made available at no cost to recreational boaters. It will be located at the dock entrance to Cuttyhunk Harbor and available seasonally from Memorial Day to mid-September. Boat sewage may contain bacteria and viruses, nutrients and chemicals that can be harmful to water quality and public health. With the nearest boat waste pumpout facility more than nine miles away, this project provides the opportunity to prevent the discharge of raw sewage into Cuttyhunk Harbor and Buzzards Bay by providing pumpout options to the thousands of summer boaters in Cuttyhunk.
The Town of Dartmouth will receive $35,000 to perform a restoration study to determine the causes of deterioration in the 16.6-acre Cow Yards salt marsh, located at the mouth of the Little River in Dartmouth. The salt marsh, owned and permanently protected by the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust, is experiencing an extensive loss of vegetation and subsidence of the marsh surface. The Town will hire an engineering firm to assess existing conditions and hydrology within the salt marsh, identify restoration recommendations and evaluate feasibility of implementing the recommendations.
“Congress continues to support the National Estuary Program because of their focus on results, their capacity to forge partnerships and their ability to leverage state, local and private resources with limited federal funds,” said Congressman Bill Keating. “These grants in Buzzards Bay demonstrate that local government and the public want clean water and natural habitat for their enjoyment and as a legacy for future generations.”
“Once again the Baker-Polito Administration has come through with money that will help our greatest asset on the South Coast – Buzzards Bay,” said Chris Markey (D-Dartmouth). “I want to thank the Governor, Lt. Governor and Secretary Beaton for their commitment to restoring and protecting this incredible natural resource for future generations.”
“Buzzards Bay is an invaluable natural resource for our community, and salt marshes are a critical component towards its health and vitality,” said Senate Assistant Majority Leader Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford). “These funds will help us better understand current conditions at Cow Yards so that future corrective actions may be taken to protect Buzzards Bay.”
“Cuttyhunk is a stunningly beautiful destination for recreational boaters all summer long,” said State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “The Town of Gosnold’s grant will ensure that visitors and residents have a free and safe way to protect the water quality of the island’s harbor for years to come.”
“Cuttyhunk is one of the most beautiful areas of our state and we must do everything we can to protect and preserve this unique community,” said State Representative Dylan Fernandes (D-Falmouth). “This grant will go a long way towards advancing water quality and environmental stewardship.”
The Office of Coastal Zone Management is EEA’s lead policy and planning agency on coastal and ocean issues. Created in 1985, the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program provides grants and technical assistance to South Coast and Cape Cod communities to protect and restore water quality and natural resources in Buzzards Bay and its surrounding watershed and is one of 28 similar programs designated by the EPA.