Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Awards Over $10 Million for Dam and Seawall Projects

For immediate release:
  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Media Contact

Katie Gronendyke,

Boston — November 2, 2016 – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced over $10 million to assist communities and groups across the Commonwealth in addressing deteriorating dams and refurbishing critical coastal infrastructure.  The awards, funded by the Dam and Seawall Repair or Removal Fund and the Governor’s annual capital budget, include engineering or construction phase support for seven dam repair projects, five dam removal projects and eight coastal protection reconstruction projects.

“Through the Dam and Seawall Repair or Removal Fund, we hope to protect our communities and natural resources from the effects of strong storms and ensure dams and seawalls across the state are not a threat to public safety,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our administration is focused on proactively increasing the resiliency of the Commonwealth’s infrastructure and helping cities and towns prepare for the impacts of climate change.”

“These funds provide cities and towns with the resources they need to protect their citizens, valuable infrastructure, and the environment from extreme weather events,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We are committed to working with municipalities to repair or remove damaged seawalls and dams that present a real threat to residents and small businesses in communities across the state.”

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ Dam and Seawall Program will award $2.91 million to Attleboro, Fall River, Gardner, Gloucester, Holbrook, the Jones River Watershed Association, the Kestrel Land Trust, the Nature Conservancy, Scituate, the Sherwood Forest Lake District, Westfield and Weymouth for dam projects, and nearly $7.7 million to Marshfield, Plymouth, Quincy, Salem, Scituate, and Yarmouth for coastal protection projects. The awards include both grants and loans to help finalize the designs, to reconstruct critical infrastructure, or to remove obsolete or unneeded structures.

“Collaboration with cities and towns across the Commonwealth is a key component of the Baker-Polito Administration’s efforts to combat and prepare for the impacts of climate change, improve ecological conditions, and protect our natural resources,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton.  “The funds awarded from the Dam and Sewall Program will allow municipalities to take crucial measures to both prepare for extreme weather scenarios, as well as improve the resiliency of vital infrastructure.”

The Dam and Seawall Program builds upon the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to strengthen the resilience of communities throughout Massachusetts by coordinating assistance to cities and towns as they prepare for the impacts of climate change.  Earlier this year, in a continued effort to mitigate and adapt to climate change, Governor Baker signed an Executive Order which lays out a comprehensive approach to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, and build a more resilient Commonwealth. 

Dam Projects

Attleboro - $250,000 grant

The Dodgeville Pond Dam is a Significant Hazard (Class II) structure in Poor condition.  This award will support the rehabilitation of the structure. While the structure is privately owned, the City of Attleboro is committed to having this structure refurbished as part of a larger master plan for improvements. The impoundment that it creates and the backwater along the Ten Mile River provide recreational opportunities for residents living along the waterway and residents visiting the waterway. The City recently received a state grant from the Gateway Cities Parks Grant program to provide riverside walking and biking paths along the Ten Mile River from Olive Street to Mechanics Pond. Preserving and Dodgeville Dam and Pond is needed to maintain water depths along this section of the Ten Mile River that will be part of the Riverwalk.

Sherwood Forest Lake District (Becket) - $52,500 grant

The Lancelot Lake Dam in Becket is classified as a high hazard level dam and it is poor condition. This award will support the planning and engineering phase of the project to return the dam to safety standards.

The Nature Conservancy (East Bridgewater) - $257,055 grant

The Carver Cotton Gin Mill Dam is located in East Bridgewater on the Satucket River, a tributary of the Taunton River. It is rated a “Significant” hazard condition dam in “Unsafe” condition. The concrete structure is 10 feet high and 44 feet long. It is the first dam from the ocean without fish passage, and removal is part of a multi-partner effort to connect major tributaries of the Taunton River with the main stem, Narragansett Bay, and the ocean. Removal of this dam will enhance public safety, create a navigable waterway for small boats, and reestablish connections to large spawning areas for numerous fish species.

Fall River - $119,853 grant

The Rattlesnake Brook Dam is owned by the City of Fall River Water Department and is located in Freetown. The dam does not provide benefits for water supply and is now a liability for the City. The dam is in unsafe condition and has created a downstream situation where there are multiple unmanaged stream channels. There is currently no operational way to control water level. A partial breach has also been reported. Removal of this dam will create a more stable downstream channel configuration and protect Narrows Road 500 feet below the dam. The project will also naturalize stream processes and open the brook to migration to trout from Assonet Bay for miles upstream to the coldwater habitat in the upper watershed.

Gardner - $67,400 grant

The Wrights Reservoir Dam impounds Mahoney Brook to form Wrights Reservoir. The dam is classified as a large size, high hazard potential structure. The structure is part of the Gardner Local Protection Project (LPP) flood management system constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in the 1960s in cooperation with the City, for flood protection of important industrial properties along the Mahoney and Greenwood Brooks. The project will repair the dam and bring the structure into compliance with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Massachusetts Office of Dam Safety compliance standards. This will increase public safety and the protection of public infrastructure through an increased capacity to manage flood flows and a decreased probability of a dam breach.

Gloucester - $500,000 grant, $500,000 low interest loan

The Haskell Pond Dam is owned and managed by the City of Gloucester as part of its water supply network.  The dam is a High Hazard (Class I) structure in poor condition.  This 43 foot high, 480 foot long structure was built in 1902.  This award will provide funding for the construction work necessary to refurbish the structure to ensure compliance with state law. This project was previously funded with $175,000 to support engineering, permitting, and the development of construction documents.

Kestrel Land Trust (Hadley) - $215,000 grant

The Lake Warner Dam in the Town of Hadley is owned by the Kestrel Land Trust.  The dam is classified as a “significant” hazard class and is currently in “poor” condition. The dam at Lake Warner, also known as North Hadley Pond, has been part of the historic village center of North Hadley for over 350 years and is greatly valued by local residents. This project will restore the structural integrity of the dam with strong benefits for public safety.

Holbrook - $207,750 grant

The Lake Holbrook Dam is a 300-foot earthen dam with a paved roadway – North Shore Road - across the crest. The dam is classified as a significant hazard level and is currently in “poor” condition. The dam has numerous deficiencies that compromise the safety of the roadway and homes and businesses downstream. This project will help to bring the dam back into compliance with safety standards.

Jones River Watershed Association (Kingston) - $223,000 grant

The Elm Street Dam is owned by the Town of Kingston, and this project will plan for its removal. The dam is a “Significant” hazard structure in “fair” condition.  The dam forms the head of tide on the Jones River creating an obstruction to tidal flow into upper reaches of the river. This creates a backwater of tides below the dam resulting in an increase of downstream bank overtopping. The dam contributes to poor water quality and even with a fish ladder, this dam blocks fish from passage upstream to their historic spawning grounds. The removal of the dam will improve conditions for river herring, Rainbow Smelt, Eastern Brook Trout, American Shad, American Eels, and other important species while removing an unneeded structure from the town inventory.

Scituate - $225,000 grant

The Hunters Pond Dam, also known as the Mordecai Lincoln Road Pond Dam, is the first dam on the Bound Brook system and is located at the head-of-tide in the Gulf River estuary. The dam is in “Poor” condition and rated as a “Significant Hazard” dam.  The Hunters Pond Dam is the primary impediment to fish passage on the Bound Brook system and its removal will promote the recovery and increase in diadromous fish populations by restoring access to spawning and rearing habitat.  Removing this obsolete dam will help to protect existing infrastructure including Mordecai Lincoln Road, Country Way, the upstream MBTA rail bridge, public utilities, and the adjacent historical mill building.

Westfield - $163,800 grant

The Tekoa Reservoir Dam, constructed in 1873, is located on Moose Meadow Brook in Montgomery. The dam impounds a reservoir that can provide water for the City of Westfield but has not been used for this purpose for many years.   The City has determined that the reservoir is no longer needed as a potential water supply; therefore removal of this 32 foot tall, 200 foot wide dam is in the best interests of the city and its citizens by reducing the costs of owning and operating unnecessary structures.  Westfield has been working with the Division of Ecological Restoration to investigate the potential for ecological improvement through dam removal.  The City of Westfield successfully removed another unneeded dam in Granville in 2016 with the support of the EEA Dam & Seawall program. 

Weymouth - $150,000 grant

The Weymouth Great Pond Dam in Weymouth was constructed in 1884 and is a key component of the city’s water supply. The structure retains the 450 acre reservoir and is classified as a significant hazard level and is in fair to poor condition. This award will support the engineering and design for a series of repairs and improvements to the dam. These repairs will improve the safety and reliability of this structure and assure its continual service for water supply needs.

Coastal Protection Projects

Marshfield - $139,000 grant

The funds will be used to design and obtain regulatory approvals for the reconstruction and improvements to an approximately 600 lf section of deteriorated seawall on Ocean Street near Brant Rock. The structure protects Ocean Street, adjacent residential areas, and associated utilities from storm damage. The existing structure has become increasingly deteriorated and now downgraded to “poor” conditions. Ocean Street is the primary access through the area connecting the communities of Brant Rock and Ocean Bluff with major state highways and is also an evacuation route during storms.

Marshfield - $2,500,000 grant, $500,000 loan

The funds will be used for Phase II of a seawall repair project located along the shoreline of Massachusetts Bay in the Fieldston section of Marshfield. Phase I of the project, successfully completed in 2015 and funded through a prior grant round, included design and permitting for the entire Foster Avenue Seawall and implemented the replacement of the existing seawall between Old Beach Road and 9th Road. The Phase II project includes updating the existing design package, bidding, and replacing the existing concrete seawall located along Foster Avenue between 9th Road and 3rd Road. The structure is deteriorated and this section of the Foster Avenue Seawall is assigned a Condition Rating of D - Poor and a Priority Rating of IV - High Priority. This project addresses the last remaining portion of the original 1931 structure and will complete the reconstruction of the seawalls protecting this densely populated area.

Plymouth - $93,563 grant

The funds will support design and environmental permitting services for the reconstruction/upgrading of approximately 900 linear feet of retaining wall primarily fronting the Plymouth Long Beach parking lot and Route 3A. The existing vertical concrete seawall has failed at several locations and does not provide an appropriate design for the lowered condition of the beach. Even moderate storms wash tons of sand, rock, and debris over the seawalls and into Eel River, blocking flow. In addition, debris washes across Warren Avenue, often causing temporary closure of the roadway. The source of most of the overwash material is the gravel and stone parking lot for Plymouth Long Beach. The blockage causes upstream flooding as well as damage to the river.

Plymouth - $810,993 grant

The funds will repair and reconstruct portions of the 720 linear feet of retaining wall fronting a vertical concrete seawall located roughly 2.5 miles southeast of Plymouth Center, at the southern limit of Plymouth Long Beach along Warren Avenue (Route 3A). A series of severe northeast storms caused continued lowering of the fronting beach and moderate damage to the revetment. Although the seawall and retaining wall have remained intact, previous repairs did not return the structure to its “as-built” condition. More recent work re-established the retaining wall to design conditions; however, portions of the revetment have settled over the past 10+ years as the beach continues to lower, allowing wave action to destabilize portions of the revetment.

Quincy - $441,000 grant

The funds will support the final design and permitting costs for repairs and improvements to approximately 6,000 linear feet of seawall along the northern shore of Adams Shore and Houghs Neck. These structures protect the shoreline, residential homes, public utilities, and critical transportation and evacuation routes.  The seawalls will be repaired and raised to accommodate future sea-level rise and impacts from the changing climate, including increased frequency and intensity of storms. One of the greatest threats to the project area is coastal flooding from a storm surge. The potential for storm surge flooding extends well inland over much of project area. Only a small section of Houghs Neck and Adams Shore have sufficient elevation to avoid flooding during a Category 1-4 hurricane. For the majority of this area, the seawall provides a first line of defense during these powerful storm events.

Salem - $143,625 grant

The funds will support the design and permitting for the repair/replacement of an approximately 60-year old deteriorating, concrete seawall located at the eastern boundary of Forest River Park in Salem. The existing seawall is part of the City of Salem’s Canal Street Flood Mitigation Project. The Canal Street Flood Mitigation Project is a $20 million project that has received funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with a goal of reducing flooding for up to the 1-percent annual chance event (100-year event), in the Canal Street and Salem State University O’Keefe Parking Lot. Additional benefits are realized at the Forest River Park where flood issues at the ball field are corrected, more frequent pond flushing is allowed, and improvements are aimed at preventing the existing seawall from overtopping from flooding on the landward side.

Scituate - $2,500,000 grant, $500,000 loan

The funds will support the construction phase of a ±640 linear foot section of the seawall and revetment. During major storm events, this area of Oceanside Drive is heavily flooded and inundated with overwash consisting of large cobbles and sand, which in turn results in compromised public access and safety and the temporary closure of the roadway and cross streets. In recent years, there have been occurrences where first responders have been unable to respond to house fires and other emergencies in the area due to extreme flooding.

Yarmouth - $77,500 grant

The funds will support the design and permitting for an approximately 500 linear foot section of deteriorating revetment at Bass River Beach. The structure protects the adjacent dunes and provides public access via a parking lot, boat ramp, and fishing pier.  The structure also protects the western shore of the river from the Bass River Beach as well as the eastern edge of the Bass River entrance channel.

“This program is another true testament of the Baker Administration’s commitment to working together with cities and towns across the Commonwealth to protect and improve vital infrastructure,” said City of Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch. “This is a model for how state and local partnerships should work, providing the design and engineering funding that we can now leverage with our own local investment to repair seawalls in some of our most vulnerable coastal neighborhoods.”  

“I’ve seen the devastating impact of storm events on our communities. This funding is critical in helping to protect our coastal cities and towns and the safety of our local residents,” said House Majority Leader Ron Mariano (D-Quincy). “Dam and seawall repair are important strategies to help our municipalities prepare for the impacts of climate change.”

“With my hometown being a coastal city, I know firsthand how damaging tough weather and flooding can be to those living and working nearby,” said State Senator John Keenan (D-Quincy). “Dam and seawall repairs are critical infrastructure needs in Quincy and Holbrook, two communities I represent, and were priorities we focused on in the 2014 environmental bond bill. I’m pleased the Governor has committed to investing in these priorities. These funds go a long way to help reconstruct a vital seawall in Quincy, and repair a weakened dam that is posing risk to homes and businesses in Holbrook. It is vital that we work together at the state level to keep meeting such needs, and I look forward to continuing our work with the administration in this area.”

“Living my entire life in a coastal community, sea walls are essential in protecting our community during major storm events,” said State Representative Tackey Chan (D-Quincy). “This funding will help protect a key access point between Adams Shore and Houghs Neck.”

“The Lake Warner Dam is a celebrated focal point of our local landscape in Hadley and its vibrancy and character are cherished by residents and visitors alike,” said Senate President Rosenberg (D-Amherst). “This important funding will go a long way in repairing our deteriorating infrastructure by building public safety, preserving our natural resources and maintaining the historic charm of the area.”

“The millpond in North Hadley has been an important resource for 350 years and the deterioration of the Lake Warner Dam threatened its continued existence,” said State Representative John Scibak (D-South Hadley). “This funding will help to ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to utilize the pond for fishing, paddling and enjoy its scenic beauty.”


Media Contact

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs 

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs 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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