Baker-Polito Administration Announces $1.2 Million for River and Wetland Restoration and Climate Adaptation

Lt. Karyn Polito and Gov. Charlie Baker

HYANNIS – The Baker-Polito Administration announced $1,215,000 in state and federal grant funds for priority ecological restoration projects in the towns of  Mattapoisett and Plymouth. 

The projects help local partners remove aging dams, rejuvenate historic wetlands, restore floodplain habitat and storage, and improve resilience to climate change.

“Our administration is proud to help municipalities and organizations complete on-the-ground restoration projects that increase resiliency for communities and while restoring ecosystems and natural habitats,” said Governor Charlie Baker. 

“Working with local communities to support these restoration projects represents a crucial part of the Commonwealth’s climate change adaptation strategy.”

“By fostering collaboration between state and federal agencies, non-governmental partners, and cities and towns across Massachusetts, our administration is able to support these critical projects that protect natural resources and build resilience to climate change in our communities,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.

“Implementing these important projects will lead to needed infrastructure improvements and deliver significant environmental and public health benefits to residents across the Commonwealth.”

The projects restore healthy habitat while also helping communities prevent storm damage, address aging infrastructure, and improve outdoor recreation.

The Division of Ecological Restoration selects wetland, river and flow restoration projects that bring significant ecological and community benefits to the Commonwealth as Priority Projects through a statewide, competitive process.

Priority Projects are eligible for grants, technical services, and project management and fundraising help from DER staff.

Currently, 56 ecological restoration projects throughout the state are designated as Priority Projects.

“Healthy wetlands and floodplains buffer communities from the impacts of extreme storms,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides.

“Natural flood protection will become increasingly important as climate change leads to larger, more frequent storms, and by making these investments now, the Baker-Polito Administration is reinforcing its commitment to working with communities across the state to build a more resilient Commonwealth.”

The river and wetland restoration grants are administered by the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration. 

DER brings together federal, state, and local agencies and organizations to plan, fund, and implement projects that restore rivers and wetlands while also helping communities adapt to climate change.

“These projects represent a collaborative, partnership-based approach to restoring habitat,” said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Ronald Amidon. 

“We work closely with cities and towns, non-governmental organizations, and many other groups to plan and implement river and wetland restoration projects and make smart, targeted investments that support important protections for the Commonwealth’s natural resources.”

Of the total funds awarded, $120,000 is from state capital funds and $1,095,000 is from federal grants that DER secured from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Agriculture Conservation Easement Program. 

The grants awarded by the Baker-Polito Administration include: 

Mattapoisett Bogs Restoration Project

Award: Buzzards Bay Coalition, $90,000 ($50,000 State/$40,000 Federal)

This grant supports the final design and permitting to prepare approximately 57-acres of retired cranberry bogs for required restoration in order to rejuvenate historic wetlands.

The Buzzards Bay Coalition owns 220 acres of contiguous upland forest, swamp and retired cranberry bogs known as the Mattapoisett River Reserve, a network of preserved lands in the Mattapoisett River Valley on the south coast of Massachusetts. 

The DER is working with BBC and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service on the wetland and stream restoration design and engineering. 

Funding from this award will help support final design and permitting to prepare the project for implementation.

This grant consists of $50,000 in state funds from DER, and $40,000 in federal funds from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program.

Foothills Preserve / West Beaver Dam Brook Restoration Project, Plymouth

Award: Town of Plymouth, $1,055,000 (Federal)

This grant supports the Foothills Preserve and West Beaver Dam Brook Restoration Project, which involves comprehensive wetland restoration across 42 acres of retired cranberry farmland owned by the Town of Plymouth and 5 acres of downstream degraded floodplain owned by Mass Audubon. 

A total of six small dams will be removed as part of the project to restore free flowing conditions along 1.27 miles of stream channel and reconnect this sub-watershed to the ocean.  

When complete, the site will be transformed into a mosaic of natural habitat types within protected public open space, including open water, marsh, fen, forested wetland, restored coastal stream, and sand plain grassland.  

This sub- grant award towards project construction, consists of federal funds: $1,000,000 from the United State Fish and Wildlife Service, National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program, and $55,000 from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program.      

“Protecting and restoring these wetlands will ensure that the Reserve will continue to be enjoyed by the community and will help sustain our aquifers, and I thank the Baker administration and Commissioner Amidon for supporting this project,” said State Representative from Mattapoisett Bill Straus.

The Department of Fish and Game 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, saltwater, 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.

About Luke Leitner

Luke Leitner grew up in Watertown Massachusetts and now lives in West Yarmouth on the Cape. He has been a part of the news team in the News Center since the spring of 2019. He studied business communications at Western New England University.
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