Cape Organizations Receive State Money For Water Protection, Habitat Restoration Efforts

WALSH PHOTO_Massachusetts Maritime AcademyBOSTON – Four Cape Cod organizations are line for state funding for their efforts to protect local waters and wildlife.

The Baker Administration announced a series of state grants for 10 projects across Massachusetts aimed at restoring rivers, watersheds, aquatic habitats, and protecting wildlife. The funding totals over $310,000

“Our coasts, rivers, and wetlands make Massachusetts a beautiful place to live and visit and these grants will continue to improve these incredible natural resources,” said Gov. Charlie Baker.

The funding is provided by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust license plate program.

The Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Center for Coastal Studies, the Harwich Conservation Trust, and the Cape Cod Commercial Fisherman’s Alliance are all in line for money.

“I am pleased that the EEA has graciously provided these grant funds to Mass Maritime, and am looking forward to seeing the Academy take advantage of this opportunity,” said State Representative Randy Hunt (R-Sandwich). “Members of the Mass Maritime community, which includes many of my constituents, stand to benefit tremendously from this grant.”

“The Massachusetts Maritime Academy plays a vital role in the environmental health of the Commonwealth’s coasts and waterways,” said State Senator Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth). “The investment by the Baker-Polito Administration in this institution will not only protect the beauty and viability of our coasts, but it will provide valuable educational opportunities for students at Mass Maritime.”

Details on the local projects receiving funding can be found below:

Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance (Chatham) – $10,000 was awarded to develop a hands-on educational experience regarding the importance of aquaculture to clean water and the feeding the community. Oysters and clams will be used as a point of entry to discuss food, ecosystem health, ecology, the marine economy, history and clean water and will create connections between the students and the marine ecosystem. Through this program, students will learn about shellfish and clean water through a hands-on field trip to the local shellfish hatchery where they will tour the facility, learn to dig a clam and taste local shellfish.

Center for Coastal Studies (Provincetown) – $36,365 was awarded to investigate the persistence of contaminants of emerging concern in oyster tissue. Cape Cod towns and Barnstable County are considering growing and harvesting shellfish as a technique to remove nitrogen in coastal waters from areas that are known to be compromised by wastewater.  Shellfish from these areas need an established depuration period before harvest of these shellfish for public consumption. This effort will seek to determine how long these pollutants persist in oysters and this will inform development of an appropriate depuration period. This project will build on CCS’s research previously funded by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust which documented the presence of CECs in the coastal waters of Massachusetts and in shellfish grown in Massachusetts’ waters.

Harwich Conservation Trust (Harwich) – $40,000 was awarded to support the comprehensive ecological restoration of 66 acres of former cranberry bogs and adjacent lands in the Robert F. Smith Cold Brook Preserve. The project includes the rehabilitation of more than 0.75 miles of stream channel and associated floodplain as well as the restoration of habitat and fish passage for a number of species of migratory fish and wildlife including the American eel. The proponent will remove several water control structures associated with retired cranberry bogs, reconstruct stream channel and flood plain, re-establish wetland hydrology in former peatlands and remove barriers to fish migration at the head of tide.

Massachusetts Maritime Academy (Bourne) – $40,000 has been awarded to continue mapping benthic habitats in Buzzards Bay. The mapping and associated ecological studies will enable the Office of Coastal Zone Management and fisheries agencies to make management decisions and better understand the ecological importance of the benthic community. This research will also engage students in “hands-on” applied marine ecology onboard the Research Vessel Liberty in Buzzards Bay and in MMA laboratory facilities.

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