BOSTON- The Environmental Protection Agency has formally launched the new Southeast New England Coastal Watershed Restoration Program.
The program will serve as a framework to promote a broad ecosystem approach to protecting and restoring the coastal watersheds of southeast New England (coastal areas from Westerly, Rhode Island to Chatham, including all waters of Rhode Island, southern Cape Cod, Narragansett Bay and Buzzards Bay.
The program, consisting of government and non-government organizations, is currently working collaboratively and innovatively to maintain and improve water quality and habitat conditions within these coastal watersheds.
To help commence work to advance protection of these coastal waters, EPA also announced grant funding of $728,559 to Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management’s Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program to fund six sub-awards in the Buzzards Bay watershed; and $723,869 to the host agency for the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission, to fund six sub-awards in the Narragansett Bay watershed.
In addition, EPA has allocated $500,000 in technical assistance funds to develop preliminary stormwater best management practice designs in Barnstable and Chatham.
The two Cape Cod communities will help develop and pilot designs including an innovative stormwater best management plan that will tie into existing infrastructure and treat stormwater for both pathogens and nitrogen.
Based on technical feasibility and total cost, one of these communities will be selected to move forward with construction of the plan. The goal of this project is to develop a stormwater plan that can be shared with other New England communities.