News Partner Spotlight: The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP)

  • Division of Ecological Restoration
MassDEP in the field with DER staff monitoring streamflow.

Most commonly, when DER and its restoration practitioner partners think of MassDEP, the first word that comes to mind is “permits”. This is with just-cause, as all restoration projects, prior to implementation, are expected to trigger some degree of alteration to regulated natural resources and require regulatory review by MassDEP. This review of projects, impacts and alterations provides not only an added layer of protection for some of our most vulnerable natural resources, but also an opportunity to discuss best-practices and develop a shared understanding of how best to remove impairments and restore our impaired ecosystems.

In addition to enforcing laws and permitting to protect our air, land and water, MassDEP also serves to assist cities and towns with local environmental issues and works with federal, state, local and citizen partners for a cleaner environment. In this role, MassDEP often shares a non-regulatory interest in projects supported by DER, and on occasion, has opportunity to exercise its unique and often less visible role as a project partner, in advancing restoration efforts.

DER is proud to work with MassDEP as a restoration partner. DER’s Stream Continuity Program has a long history of partnering with MassDEP to establish Massachusetts’ Stream Crossing Standards and working to assist municipalities in addressing built infrastructure impacting road – stream crossings. MassDEP has been a strategic partner in the Culvert and Small Bridge Working Group. Natural Resources Damages Settlement Funding through MassDEP has funded design and engineering plans for at least three recent culvert-replacement projects.

Next, DER partners with MassDEP on projects like the Traphole Brook Dam Removal and the Elm Street Dam Removal. Just this past November, project partners celebrated the restoration of the Jones River at Elm Street in Kingston MA. This project was awarded funds via a supplemental environmental projects (SEP) in coordination with MassDEP. For the Traphole Brook Dam project, MassDEP, as a trustee of the Blackburn and Union Privileges NRD settlement, was able to provide project funding support during the design phase. As with many restoration projects, DER has many partners that help, funding is often not secured from one single source but pieced together through matching funds.

Finally, in conjunction with DER’s Streamflow Restoration Practice, MassDEP has been partnering with DER to pilot innovative water conservation campaigns to reduce summer lawn watering, described in greater detail below (learn more about that collaboration).

Image: MassDEP in the field with DER staff monitoring streamflow.

  • Division of Ecological Restoration 

    DER restores and protects rivers, wetlands, and watersheds in Massachusetts for the benefit of people and the environment.
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