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Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Designates Eight New Priority River and Wetland Restoration Projects

Projects Will Improve Ecosystem Health, Climate Change Resilience
For immediate release:
1/20/2021
  • Department of Fish and Game
  • Division of Ecological Restoration
  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Designates Eight New Priority River and Wetland Restoration Projects

Craig Gilvarg, Press Secretary

BostonThe Baker-Polito Administration today announced that eight new river and wetland restoration projects will be designated Priority Projects through the Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Division of Ecological Restoration (DER). Upon receiving designation, Priority Projects are eligible for technical services from DER such as data collection, engineering, design work, and permitting; project management and fundraising help; and grants. These projects will deliver significant ecological, climate resiliency and economic benefits to communities across the Commonwealth.

“Our Administration is proud to support local projects will set Massachusetts land on a path back to its natural, healthy state,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Ecological restoration provides a variety of benefits, including improved water quality, recreational opportunities, public safety and climate change resilience.”

“In addition to enhancing local ecosystem health, these projects will create jobs and boost economic activity within communities across the state,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is proud of the numerous federal, local and private partnerships that enable this work to move forward.”

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. The eight new Priority Projects include cranberry bog restoration, streamflow restoration, and urban river revitalization projects. Each project restores healthy habitat while also helping communities prevent storm damage, address aging infrastructure, and improve outdoor recreation.

Partnerships are a hallmark of DER’s river and wetland restoration projects.  The eight new projects strengthen partnerships between non-profit organizations, municipalities, and private property owners.

“The stress that our rivers and wetlands were under this year due to the severe drought in Massachusetts highlighted the critical importance of these restoration efforts,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Our Administration is proud to partner with local, state and federal partners to preserve our natural ecosystems and build resilience to climate change.”

“These new priority projects will expand available habitat for a variety of important species, not only benefiting the local ecosystem, but also providing new opportunities for outdoor recreation for Massachusetts residents and visitors alike,” said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Ronald Amidon.

Once completed, the projects will provide significant social, environmental, and economic benefits to the Commonwealth and local communities. More than 56 active ecological restoration projects throughout the state are currently designated as Priority Projects. To review a full list of projects, please visit the Department of Fish & Game’s DER Priority Projects Map webpage.

Of the eight new projects, three will receive “provisional” status in order to determine their long-term readiness for implementation. The new projects include:

Upper Coonamessett River Restoration Project: Part 1, Falmouth

This project includes wetland restoration of approximately 20 acres of former cranberry farmland, stream channel restoration, and removal of up to eight culverts to improve fish passage in the upper portion of the Coonamessett River Watershed. It will also include efforts by the Town of Falmouth and partners to improve public access for recreation and education. This project is a continuation of significant river and wetlands restoration work that was recently completed in the lower portion of the watershed.

Windswept Cranberry Bog Wetland Restoration Project, Nantucket

DER will partner with the Nantucket Conservation Foundation to advance designs for wetland restoration of the Windswept Cranberry Bog and prepare for permitting. The Windswept Bog is a 231-acre property with approximately 39 acres of retired cranberry bogs and 111 acres of non-cranberry bog wetlands. It and the adjacent protected conservation land totaling several thousand acres are open to the public for passive recreation.

South Meadow Wetland Reserve Easement Restoration Project, Carver

This project involves restoration work across approximately 32 acres of retired commercial cranberry farmland, which is currently enrolled in the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) program. DER will partner with NRCS and the landowner to develop designs for wetland and stream restoration, obtain project permits, and construct the project.

Pinnacle Bog Restoration Project, Plymouth                                 

This project, focused on approximately 50 acres of former commercial cranberry farmland protected by the NRCS WRE program, will include wetland restoration of nearly 15 acres to benefit a variety of wetland wildlife, including several rare species. DER will partner with the landowner, NRCS, and the Town of Plymouth to design, permit, and construct the project.

Rocky Hill Greenway - Nashawannuck Brook Restoration, Northampton

DER is partnering with the City of Northampton and MassAudubon to restore the Nashawannuck Brook and its historic tributary, as well as improve the brook’s flow regime, existing, and historic wetlands. This site is part of the Rocky Hill Greenway, a 200+ acre wildlife corridor that is part of a network of open space created by the City in partnership with MassAudubon.

Recommended “Provisional” Priority Projects include:

·       Holmes Bogs Restoration, Plymouth, in partnership with Holmes Realty Trust.

·       Broad Meadow Brook Restoration, Worcester, in partnership with Mass Audubon.

·       Indian Brook Cranberry Bog Restoration, Plymouth, in partnership with Indian Brook Cranberry Inc.                   

“DER is proud to support these new projects through our Priority Project Program,” said DER Director Beth Lambert. “Projects through this program are chosen through a competitive process during which they are evaluated based on criteria including their potential ecological benefits, community benefits, and likelihood of success. We are excited for the positive impacts these newly-selected projects will have.”

“Thank you to Commissioner Amidon and Secretary Kathleen Theoharides for prioritizing these important projects in the Towns of Falmouth and Plymouth,” said State Senator Susan L. Moran (D-Falmouth). “These projects restore wetland habitat, promote recreational use and enhance our natural resources.”

“I am thrilled and grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration and the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration for designating 3 Plymouth Bogs, one as priority and 2 as provisional, priority restoration projects,” said State Representative Matt Muratore (R-Plymouth). “Congratulations to the Town of Plymouth and Pinnacle, Holmes, and Indian Brook Cranberry Bogs for achieving this competitive designation.”

The mission of the Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) is to restore and protect the Commonwealth’s rivers, wetlands, and watersheds for the benefit of people and the environment. 

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) 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.

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Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Designates Eight New Priority River and Wetland Restoration Projects

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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