Stockbridge- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) and State Representative William “Smitty” Pignatelli are pleased to announce a $245,500 grant for the Town of Stockbridge from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) through their Section 319 grant program. This funding will be used to implement water quality improvement measures at the Stockbridge Bowl.
“Protecting our natural resources is a top priority in the Berkshires,” said Downing. “Stockbridge Bowl is a special destination for outdoor recreation, a wonderful place for fishing and paddling, and for centuries has served as a muse for authors and artists, including Henry David Thoreau. By further protecting the Bowl’s water quality, the Town is ensuring a pristine future for generations to come and enjoy.”
Efforts to control the invasion of exotic macrophytes, aquatic plants, at the Stockbridge Bowl have historically been derailed by the inability to conduct a deep drawdown, due to a gas line obstructing the water outlet. With this project, the Town will construct a diversion pipe at the outlet channel, allowing for a more effective drawdown to control exotic macrophytes. Additionally, a watershed survey will be conducted to identify potential incoming sediment to the lake. The Town of Stockbridge will work closely with the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game Riverways Program to ensure proper instream flow levels are maintained during drawdown periods.
“Among the wealth of natural beauty found in the Berkshires, Stockbridge Bowl is certainly a gem,” said Pignatelli. “Preserving our lakes, streams and ponds is critical for so many reasons; the protection of our environment, the role that outdoor recreation plays in our regions’ economy of eco-tourism, and, of course, the special meaning that local landmarks such as the Bowl have on those of us who call the Berkshires home.”
Section 319 of the Clean Water Act of 1987 established a national program to control nonpoint sources of pollution. Nonpoint source pollution comes from many diffuse sources. It is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and underground sources of drinking water.
Each year, DEP awards competitive grants to projects through the Section 319 grant program. Funds are paid on a reimbursement basis, and DEP retains 10% of the award amount until the project is finalized. From fiscal year 1990 through 2008, individual total project costs have ranged from $10,000 - $500,000.