- Division of Ecological Restoration
DER awarded $1.6 million in state and federal grant funds for Ecological Restoration Priority Projects that support river and wetland habitat restoration and climate adaptation. Each project restores healthy habitat while also helping communities prevent storm damage, address aging infrastructure, and improve outdoor recreation.
Tel-electric Dam Removal and West Branch Housatonic River Revitalization, Pittsfield
Award: City of Pittsfield, $1,500,000
The grant supports the deconstruction of the obsolete 20 foot high, 40 foot wide Tel-electric Dam on the West Branch of the Housatonic River in downtown Pittsfield. Removing the dam will reduce upstream flooding, restore river connectivity for fish and other wildlife, and improve water quality.
Abbey Brook Revitalization Project, Chicopee
Award: City of Chicopee, $25,000
This grant helps the City of Chicopee plan two dam removals and create public access to Abbey Brook in Szot Park. The City of Chicopee is exploring the removal of the two Bemis Pond dams located in Szot Park. Removal of the dams will improve water quality in the brook, remove an ongoing maintenance burden carried by the City, and improve resilience to extreme storms.
Rice Corner Road Culvert Replacement, Brookfield
Award: Town of Brookfield, $5,000
This grant supports final design, permitting and construction bidding for a culvert replacement project in Brookfield. Replacing the failing culvert at Rice Corner Road will provide passage for resident brook trout and other aquatic species, and will improve Brookfield’s road network and resilience to floods.
Mattapoisett Bogs Restoration, Mattapoisett
Award: Buzzards Bay Coalition, $30,000
The grant supports the restoration of 220 acres of freshwater wetland habitat in Mattapoisett. The Buzzards Bay Coalition aims to restore connectivity, diversify natural habitats, and improve recreational opportunities. This grant will support the design process and leverage over $1.6 million for construction that has been secured from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, as well as a MassTrails grant secured for future recreation improvements.
Cow Yards Salt Marsh Restoration Project
Award: Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust, $15,000
This grant supports engineering and design for The Cow Yards Salt Marsh Restoration Project in Dartmouth. Restoration of this coastal wetland will reduce conditions that have impaired the growth of native Spartina grasses and facilitated the loss of marsh habitat. This grant will complement $55,000 in Buzzards Bay Watershed Municipal Mini-grant funding and Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust matching funds.
Great Marsh Restoration Project
Award: Trustees of Reservations, $30,000
This grant will help the Trustees of Reservations pilot new restoration techniques to increase the Great Marsh’s resilience to climate change and sea level rise. As part of the pilot restoration project, DER will assist the Trustees with review and development of monitoring protocols and baseline data collection.
Images: Left: Site visit as part of the Great Marsh Restoration project. Middle: View of the Tel-Electric Dam. Right: Culvert Replacement Training being held at the Rice Corner Culvert in Brookfield