State Awards Grants to Protect Water Quality in Buzzards Bay

massachusetts-state-house-300x198BUZZARDS BAY – The state has announced $794,478 in federal grant money to help towns and organizations protect water quality in Buzzards Bay.

The water quality management grants are being awarded by the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program through the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) with funding from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“This grant program recognizes that many pollution sources affecting our coastal waters do not stop at state lines and are shared regional issues,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Through these grants, important steps are being made to effectively address priority pollution problems affecting Buzzards Bay.”

The grants are being matched by $346,451 in municipal and private contributions and focus on supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Southeast New England Program mission to protect and restore the southeast New England ecosystem by addressing nutrient, pathogen, and storm water-related issues within the Buzzards Bay watershed.

“While these coastal water quality issues are regional in origin, the solutions are local,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “This partnership and funding allows us to provide necessary support for our communities to advance effective local actions that improve the water quality of Buzzards Bay.”

“These grants successfully encourage municipalities, private groups and businesses to work together and share resources to solve serious water quality problems in Buzzards Bay in innovative, collaborative and effective ways,” said Joe Costa, Executive Director of the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program.

Buzzards Bay Coalition, Inc., received $200,000 to partner with the Towns of Wareham, Bourne and Plymouth and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy to evaluate the feasibility of relocating the Wareham Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) discharge from the Agawam River to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s (MMA) existing, well-flushed discharge into the Cape Cod Canal.

In addition, a sewer needs analysis will be performed within the Agawam and Wareham Rivers, and Buttermilk and Little Buttermilk Bay watersheds, to determine how much sewering is required to meet water quality goals and to determine whether the WWTF can accommodate the higher volume.

Marine Biological Laboratory, received $175,918 to partner with the Buzzards Bay Coalition, Inc. and Barnstable County Department of Health and the Environment to quantify the nitrogen removal benefits of conversion of traditional Title V septic systems to innovative alternative (I/A) systems.

In addition, they will determine whether the addition of a carbon source will increase nitrogen removal in I/A systems.

The project will take place in West Falmouth Harbor.

Town of Falmouth received $53,950 to expand an oyster reef to reduce nitrogen loads to West Falmouth Harbor near Mashapaquit Creek.

The town will expand the existing quarter acre reef to one acre by planting an additional 1,500 bags of oyster spat-on-shell, as a means to provide a biological filter for water in the Snug Harbor area, where there is a significant source of nutrients.

The monitoring results of this project will inform the extent to which oyster reefs can effectively improve water quality, and can contribute to watershed nitrogen reduction for West Falmouth Harbor and other similar estuaries.

Narragansett Bay National Estuary Program Executive Director Tom Borden has also announced parallel awards from the Southeast New England Program.

Nearly $800,000 in grants is being awarded to fund eleven projects in the Narragansett Bay watershed to help towns and organizations protect water quality through grants approved by the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program.

“The success of the Southeast New England Program is due in large part to the coordination of our federal delegates from Rhode Island and Massachusetts,” said Tom Borden, Executive Director of the Narragansett Bay National Estuary Program. “The Senators and Congressmen from both states are working hard to provide federal funding to restore and protect our shared coastal waters and estuaries so critical to our economic well-being.”

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