- Department of Fish and Game
- Division of Ecological Restoration
- Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards Nearly $12 Million to 24 Ecological Restoration Projects
Troy Wall, Communications Director
BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that the Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) has awarded through its Priority Projects Program approximately $11.8 million in grant funding to 24 projects that will strengthen community preparedness for large storms, improve climate-ready infrastructure, and protect fish, wildlife, and river and wetland habitats. In December 2021, Governor Baker signed a $4 billion federal COVID-19 relief spending bill utilizing funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). $11.4 million of today’s grants are being awarded utilizing ARPA funds, with the remainder of the funding coming from DER’s Operational Budget.
“Ecological restoration is essential for building a climate-ready Commonwealth that will restore and enhance Massachusetts’ natural resources to address climate vulnerabilities while providing important access to recreational opportunities for residents,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our Administration continues to invest in this work and support Massachusetts communities and ecosystems that will bring environmental benefits for generations to come.”
“Through these projects, communities will be able to increase climate resilience, improve public safety, enhance habitat, and provide additional benefits to our residents, wildlife, and natural resources,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We are grateful for the strong partnership between our Administration, municipalities, and other organizations to move these valuable restoration efforts forward.”
The Priority Projects Program is one of the vehicles by which DER pursues restoration projects that provide significant social, environmental, and economic benefits to the state and local communities and support projects throughout the Commonwealth that advance DER’s mission. Priority Projects underway include the restoration of tidal flow to degraded coastal habitats, removal of aging and unsafe dams, and restoration of freshwater wetlands in former cranberry farmlands.
“It is imperative that we continue to improve degraded habitats to benefit wildlife and enable communities across the Commonwealth to be more resilient to the impacts of climate change,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card. “Providing funds for these projects is an example of the Administration’s ongoing efforts to support the restoration of our rivers and waterways in order to promote healthy ecosystems and climate preparedness.”
“We are excited to support this group of projects, which bring numerous benefits to both people and nature,” said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Ron Amidon. “The results of this funding will be enjoyed into the future as they enable residents and visitors alike to step into nature with new recreational opportunities, improved water quality and habitat for wildlife, and resilience to the impacts of climate change.”
“We are proud to support these projects and to continue to work with our dedicated partners to achieve our restoration goals,” said DER Director Beth Lambert. “We are excited to see this work continue to advance and look forward to the many benefits it will bring to Massachusetts’ people and environment.”
The following 22 projects were awarded grant funds through DER’s Priority Projects Program through ARPA funds:
Abbey Brook Restoration and Revitalization, Chicopee
Award: City of Chicopee; $2,000,000
- This award will support the first construction phase of the Abbey Brook Restoration and Revitalization Project, which aims to restore and revitalize Abbey Brook by removing two dams, replacing an undersized road-stream crossing, and “daylighting” a culverted reach of a stream along Abbey Brook in Chicopee. This first phase includes the removal of the Lower Bemis Pond Dam and stormwater management improvements along the reach of Abbey Brook. This work will eliminate the risk to public safety posed by the aging dams, reduce flood risk, restore natural river processes, improve water quality, and enhance recreational opportunities.
Bayview Cranberry Bogs Restoration, Yarmouth
Award: Cape Cod Conservation District; $350,000
- This award will support project development, engineering and design, permitting, and community engagement for the Bayview Cranberry Bogs Restoration Project, which aims to restore approximately 44 acres of abandoned commercial cranberry bogs to healthy, self-sustaining wetlands. This work will improve public access, recreation, and climate resilience on the 90-acre project site located within an environmental justice community.
Bowen’s Pond Dam Removal, Wendell
Award: Bowen’s Pond LLC; $125,000
- This award will support project design and permitting for the Bowen’s Pond Dam Removal and Osgood Brook Restoration Project in Wendell. This project will restore natural riverine ecological functions, improve downstream coldwater fisheries habitat, and eliminate a potential public safety hazard.
Church Manufacturing Co. Dam Removal, Monson
Award: RJ Realty Holdings; $800,000
- This award will support the design, permitting, and construction of the Chicopee Brook Restoration Project, which aims to remove the Church Manufacturing Co. Dam. This project will eliminate unnecessary infrastructure and reconnect a segment of Chicopee Brook, which is a Coldwater Fisheries Resource, as well as improve public safety and eliminate costly future maintenance and repairs.
Cold Brook Restoration, Harwich
Award: Harwich Conservation Trust; $400,000
- This award will support implementation and construction oversight for the Cold Brook Restoration Project, which aims to restore a healthy, self-sustaining wetland and stream system within over 50 acres of a former commercial cranberry bog and over 4,000 linear feet of river channel along Cold Brook in Harwich. This project will improve habitat for migratory and resident fish, as well as improve coastal resilience and water quality.
Freemans Pond Restoration, Brewster
Award: Town of Brewster; $200,000
- This award will support permitting and adaptive management at the culvert inlet of the completed Freemans Pond Restoration Project, also leveraging federal funding. The Freemans Pond Restoration Project replaced an undersized culvert that restricted flow. The project improved tidal flow and benefitted over 20 acres of salt marsh and associated plant communities, fish, and coastal bird species. The site has an active anadromous fish run for herring and brown trout. Current work will protect the investments in coastal restoration and improve the coastal resiliency of both the natural and built environment.
Kinne Brook Restoration, Chester
Award: Trout Unlimited; $350,000
- This award will support the construction of a culvert replacement and the removal of another culvert on a tributary to Kinne Brook. Replacing the undersized culvert with a larger, safer structure and removing the failed culvert that is no longer in use will allow full upstream and downstream movement of aquatic species, including native eastern brook trout, and will reduce the risk of road damage and failure in flood conditions. This project is part of a multi-year effort to reconnect over 10 miles of coldwater fish habitat, to date including completed dam removal and culvert replacement.
Larkin Road Dam Removal, Newbury
Award: Town of Newbury; $450,000
- This award will support the design, permitting, and implementation phases of the Parker River Restoration Project, which aims to remove the Larkin Road Dam and associated structures on the Parker River to restore ecological function and fish passage for migratory and resident aquatic species. This grant leverages $60,000 of municipal and $50,000 of USFWS funds, as well as previous DER investments.
Long Pond Brook Restoration, Great Barrington
Award: Bard College at Simon’s Rock; $150,000
- This award will support data collection, preliminary design, and permitting of the Long Pond Brook Restoration Project, which aims to restore aquatic connectivity to Long Pond Brook by removing three dams on the Bard College at Simon’s Rock campus. This project will eliminate the risk to public safety posed by aging dams, reconnect river habitats that benefit fish and wildlife, and restore natural riverine flows.
Mattapoisett Bogs Restoration, Mattapoisett
Award: Buzzards Bay Coalition; $600,000
- This award will support the implementation of the Mattapoisett Bogs Restoration Project, which aims to re-naturalize 57 acres of retired cranberry bogs, restore aquatic connectivity to Tripps Mill Brook, and improve public access and amenities on-site.
Mill Brook Restoration, Chilmark
Award: Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, Inc.; $100,000
- This award will support construction for the Mill Brook Restoration Project, which aims to implement one of the first culvert replacement projects on Martha’s Vineyard, and leverages $138,842 in federal funds. This project will restore ecological function, including fish and wildlife passage, provide reliable vehicular access across Mill Brook, and restore habitat for eastern brook trout and other coldwater species.
Monatiquot River Restoration, Braintree
Award: Town of Braintree; $1,444,981
- This award will support the removal of the “High Hazard” Armstrong Dam and the Ames Pond Dam as part of the Monatiquot River Restoration Project. This award leverages over $5.5 million of private, local, state, and federal funds. The project will open 36 river miles, strengthen community resilience, improve water quality, and restore natural river processes.
Nashawannuck Brook Restoration, Northampton
Award: City of Northampton; $250,000
- This award will support planning and assessment, conceptual design, permitting, and community outreach for the Nashawannuck Brook Restoration Project, which seeks to restore the stream and wetlands within a former golf course property. Restoration will improve stream and wetland habitat and function, remove barriers to aquatic connectivity, improve water quality, enhance climate resilience, preserve open space, and provide passive recreation through an established trail network.
Old Swamp River Dam Removal, Weymouth
Award: Town of Weymouth; $200,000
- This award will support the design, permitting, and construction phases of the Old Swamp River Dam Removal and Restoration project, which aims to remove the obsolete Sediment Nutrient Uptake Pond (SNUP) Dam to restore natural riverine processes, continuity, and habitat for migratory and resident cold-water species. In addition, the SNUP settling basins will be decommissioned to restore natural riparian wetland function for improved habitat and water quality benefits.
Pamet River Restoration, Truro
Award: Town of Truro; $400,000
- This award will support project management, data collection, modeling, design, and permitting for the Pamet River Restoration Project and leverages additional federal funding. This project aims to restore 225 acres of former tidal habitat and improve connectivity to more than six miles of stream habitat for migratory and resident fish species. This work will improve salt marsh habitat and increase climate resilience.
South Middleton Dam Removal, Middleton
Award: Bostik, Inc.; $370,000
- This award will support the removal of the South Middleton Dam, which is in poor condition and has the potential to pose a significant hazard. This grant leverages over $1,000,000 of previous federal, state, and private investments. Its removal will open 57 miles of mainstem and tributary habitat, improve water quality, and eliminate a public safety hazard.
Stuart Bogs Restoration, Rochester
Award: Buzzards Bay Coalition; $250,000
- This award will support engineering design, permitting, and wetland restoration for the Stuart Bogs Restoration Project, which aims to restore wetlands by naturalizing the flow of water through approximately 65 acres of retired cranberry bogs that drain into the west branch of the Sippican River. This project will expand a rare natural Coastal Atlantic White Cedar Swamp, improve wetland habitat and function, enhance climate resilience through carbon sequestration, preserve open space, and allow public access through the development of a trail network.
Talbot Mills Dam Removal, Billerica
Award: OARS; $385,000
- This award will support design, construction administration services, and permitting for the Concord River Restoration Project, which aims to remove the Talbot Mills Dam and leverages $250,000 in Natural Resource Damages settlement funds. This project will decommission aging infrastructure, eliminate ongoing maintenance and repair obligations, reduce upstream flood hazards, restore passage for migratory fish species, and improve water quality, aquatic habitat, and natural riverine processes.
Town River Restoration, Bridgewater
Award: Town of Bridgewater; $2,000,000
- This award will support the implementation of the Town River Restoration Project, which aims to remove the High Street Dam, replace the undersized and aging High Street road-stream crossing over Town River, and protect and enhance surrounding infrastructure and public utilities.
Upper Bass River Wetland Restoration, Yarmouth
Award: Friends of Bass River; $165,000
- This award will be used to advance engineering, preliminary designs, and permitting tasks for the Weir Road culvert replacement component of the Upper Bass River Wetland Restoration project. The project involves the replacement of two undersized, tidal road-stream crossings and the restoration of a cranberry bog, and will improve tidal flushing, fish habitat access, and water quality within the Bass River watershed.
Upper Coonamessett River Restoration, Falmouth
Award: Town of Falmouth; $100,000
- This award will support the completion of project permitting, design, and bid phase services for the Upper Coonamessett River Restoration Project, which aims to restore a healthy, self-sustaining wetland and stream system within over 20 acres of a former commercial cranberry bog and approximately 3,700 linear feet of river channel along the Coonamessett River. This project complements the Lower Coonamessett River Restoration Project, completed in 2020.
Windswept Cranberry Bog Restoration, Nantucket
Award: Nantucket Conservation Foundation; $400,000
- This award will support final design, permitting, and a portion of construction phase services for the Windswept Cranberry Bog Restoration Project, which aims to restore 40 acres of former commercial cranberry bogs to healthy, self-sustaining wetlands and sandplain grasslands, and integrate the restored landscape within the publicly accessible 231-acre conservation property. The restored landscape will a provide habitat for a wide variety of animal and plant species.
In addition, these two projects are supported through DER Operational Earmarks through DER’s Operational Budget:
Assawompset Ponds Complex, Taunton River Watershed
Award: Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District; $250,000
- This award will advance flood management efforts and will contribute to the management of aquatic invasive species within the Assawompset Ponds Complex (APC), which has recurring issues with flooding, sedimentation, water quality, and diminished herring runs. Assawompset Pond is the largest natural freshwater lake in Massachusetts and is part of a larger system of ponds, collectively called the Assawompset Ponds Complex (APC). The APC serves as the public water supply for the Cities of New Bedford and Taunton and forms the headwaters of the Nemasket River, which has the longest herring run in Massachusetts.
Belle Isle Marsh Preservation, East Boston
Award: Friends of Belle Isle Marsh, Inc.; $50,000
- This award will support the Friends of Belle Isle Marsh for the implementation of their environmental preservation programs at Belle Isle Marsh Reservation in East Boston. Belle Isle Marsh is the largest remaining salt marsh in Boston Harbor and provides important wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, and climate resilience benefits to the surrounding communities.
“As we work together to build a more resilient and climate-ready Commonwealth, I want to applaud the Baker-Polito Administration for working with us in the Legislature to combat climate change, improve water quality, enhance local habitats and meet critical environmental infrastructure needs,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues, Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means (D-Westport). “Because of our enduring partnership, we have made incredible progress and this $12 million award announcement is just another strong example of how we can invest to protect our communities, promote healthier ecosystems, while confronting the impacts of climate change head on.”
“I am thrilled to see several critical ecological restoration projects on the Cape and Islands receive funding through the Department of Fish and Game's Priority Projects Program,” said State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “The Cape and Islands’ natural environment will benefit immensely from these grant monies which will be used to restore wetlands, grasslands, stream systems, salt marshes, and tidal areas in order to support habitat for animals and plants, increase climate resilience, and improve water quality.”
To review a full list of active ecological restoration Priority Projects throughout the state, please visit DER’s Restoration Project Map webpage.
The mission of the Division of Ecological Restoration is to restore and protect the Commonwealth’s rivers, wetlands, and watersheds for the benefit of people and the environment. Additionally, the Department of Fish and Game is responsible for promoting the conservation and enjoyment of the Commonwealth's 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's rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.