Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Acting Commissioner Arleen O’Donnell today announced that 11 projects worth nearly $2.2 million in funding have been recommended as part of the federal fiscal year 2008 Section 319 Nonpoint Source Competitive Grant Program.
The 319 grant program focuses on implementation of measures to control nonpoint sources (NPS) of water pollution. NPS pollution is caused by diffuse sources that are not regulated and are normally associated with precipitation and runoff from the land or infiltration into the soil. Common types of NPS pollution include phosphorus and nitrogen from lawn and garden fertilizers, bacteria from pet waste and waterfowl, oil and grease from parking lots and roadways, and sediment from construction activities and soil erosion.
“Nonpoint source pollution degrades the quality of the water in our lakes, streams and watersheds, and threatens the quality of life in communities across our Commonwealth,” Secretary Bowles said. “These grants will fund important projects that can prevent pollutants from entering our environment and spoiling our natural resources.”
“These grant awards allow MassDEP to continue to build strong coalitions with our regional and municipal partners to help control nonpoint source pollution,” Commissioner O’Donnell said. “Many of these projects also seek to educate citizens about the dangers of nonpoint source pollution and how to eliminate it.”
Included among the funded programs is the Onota Lake Preservation Project, located in Pittsfield, which will receive $268,700 in funding.
“I am pleased with MassDEP’s decision to include Onota Lake in their funding recommendation to EPA,” said Senator Benjamin B. Downing of Pittsfield. “With final approval, the 310 grant will allow Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and the City of Pittsfield to address water quality issues and engage citizens in lake preservation activities. This project allows us to combine local, state and federal resources to ensure Onota Lake continues to be an outlet for recreation and a reflection of natural beauty in our region.”
“Funding this grant will allow the city to make improvements to Onota Lake, one of its most important recreational assets, by preserving the shoreline from erosion, improving the dam, and providing citizen education and outreach for long-term preservation of the lake,” said Rep. Christopher N. Speranzo of Pittsfield.
The projects will help to protect Massachusetts’ water resources by restoring and preserving watershed areas, constructing storm-water treatment systems, demonstrating innovative technologies, and educating the public on how to protect sensitive natural resources. Recipients include municipalities, county governments, planning commissioners, watershed and conservation groups, and private developers.
Joining the Pittsfield project, are the projects also located in the following communities: Plymouth, Leominster, Holland, Franklin, Sandwich, Ashland, Cohasset, Roxbury/Jamaica Plain, and Groton.
Each of these projects was reviewed and approved by MassDEP’s regional staff, the MassDEP/Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) Proposal Review Committee, and the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Funding for the projects, totaling $2,177,131, will be available this fall.
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.