BOSTON – Monday, November 15, 2010 – In keeping with Governor Patrick's commitment to habitat conservation, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles today announced $96,700 in funding for ecological restoration projects in the towns of Chatham, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Hingham, Middleton and Situate.
These grants – funded through the Environmental Bond signed by Governor Patrick in 2008 – supplement and leverage significant federal, municipal, corporate and foundation funding. Types of projects range from dam removal to culvert replacement.
"Replacing aging and obsolete infrastructure to lessen flooding, improve water quality and restore habitat relieves strained municipal budgets as it improves the environment," said Secretary Bowles. "I am pleased to announce these ecological restoration projects, which will benefit communities from the Berkshires to Cape Cod."
Conservation and wildlife organizations will use the funds to restore salt marshes on Cape Cod and the South Shore and improve ecological conditions within the North Hoosic and Ipswich Rivers and First Herring and Thunder Brooks. These grants are administered through the Department of Fish and Game's (DFG) Division of Ecological Restoration (DER).
"When you restore a river or salt marsh, you improve habitat for a range of wildlife species that directly support commercial and recreational fisheries and enhance the ability of ecosystems to respond to climate change and other environmental stressors," said DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin.
"This is a smart investment that leverages hundreds of thousands of non-state dollars," said Sen. Benjamin B. Downing. "By removing the Briggsville Dam and the crumbling water supply infrastructure at Thunder Brook, we'll improve the ecology and environmental cold water habitat in Clarksburg and Cheshire for fish and wildlife."
"I'm thankful to the Governor for his continued support and advocacy for environmental projects," said Rep. Garrett J. Bradley. "I'd also like to thank the Trustees of Reservations in Hingham for their stewardship of Damde Meadows and their support of this tidal restoration project."
"I'm grateful for these funds to open up the Cranberry Lane Salt Marsh to greater tidal activity," said Rep. Sarah K. Peake. "Across the Cape more and more estuaries are being restored, benefiting the environment."
"Trout Unlimited and the Division of Ecological Restoration share an interest and passion in restoring coldwater habitat. Both of the barrier removal projects in Clarksburg and Cheshire will benefit wild brook trout populations for the benefit of generations of anglers to come," said Massachusetts/Rhode Island Council Chairman for Trout Unlimited Joe Overlock.
The funded projects are listed below.
Cranberry Lane Salt Marsh Restoration Project
The Chatham Conservation Foundation
This project will restore natural tidal flow to the Cranberry Lane salt marsh, which is owned by the Chatham Conservation Foundation. A deteriorating and undersized culvert currently conveys the tides under Cranberry Lane to the salt marsh, allowing Phragmites - an invasive, non-native plant that forms monoculture stands - to thrive. The old culvert will be replaced with a larger structure that will restore full tidal exchange and increase the habitat value of the five-acre marsh. The Chatham Conservation Foundation will use these funds for project construction and to leverage additional federal funding.
Thunder Brook Restoration Project
Hoosic Chapter of Trout Unlimited
Thunder Brook is a tributary to the South Branch of the Hoosic River that flows from the slopes of Mount Greylock. An aging dam and failing culvert fragment this coldwater stream and prevent fish passage between the Hoosic River and Thunder Brook. The dam is also a financial and liability burden for Cheshire. The Hoosic Chapter of Trout Unlimited will use these funds to support the development of final design plans.
Briggsville Dam Removal Project
Hoosic Chapter of Trout Unlimited
The goal of this restoration is to remove a 15-foot high, 200-foot long headwater dam to improve cold water habitat for resident and state-listed species. The project involves a full dam removal, stabilizing and vegetating banks, and restoring native stream and riparian habitat through the brook. This project will benefit eastern brook trout, slimy sculpin, and longnose sucker, a state-listed species. Dam removal will also eliminate liability and repair costs, estimated at $700,000, helping the company that owns the dam retain 150 jobs in the North Adams area.
Damde Meadows Tidal Restoration Project
The Trustees of Reservations
The Damde Meadows Tidal Restoration Project will restore 15 acres of salt marsh within the heart of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. Prior to colonial days, Damde Meadows was a typical New England salt marsh that was subsequently blocked off from tidal flow for agricultural purposes. The project will fully restore the tide’s natural ebb and flow to Damde Meadows by replacing the last remaining box culvert with a 20-foot wide open channel.
Ipswich River Restoration Project
Ipswich River Watershed Association
This project will help restore natural river processes and aquatic habitat along the main stem of the Ipswich River by evaluating the removal of the South Middleton Dam. South Middleton Dam is the first dam on the main stem of the Ipswich River that does not have fish passage. The Dam is aging and no longer serves a purpose. Removing the dam will open approximately 57 miles of upstream main stem and tributary habitat to migratory and resident fish. The Ipswich River Watershed Association will use these funds to complete feasibility analysis and develop preliminary and final design plans.
First Herring Brook Restoration Project
North & South Rivers Watershed Association (NSRWA)
Support for this project will improve aquatic habitat in First Herring Brook. The NSRWA, in tandem with the town of Scituate, will use these funds to leverage other contributions to optimize water supplies to restore natural streamflow.
The mission of the Division of Ecological Restoration is to restore and protect the Commonwealth’s rivers, wetlands and watersheds for the benefit of people and the environment. The Division was created in 2009 with the merger of the Riverways and Wetland Restoration Programs and is coordinating 80 ecological restoration projects from Cape Cod to the Berkshires.
DFG is responsible for promoting the enjoyment and conservation of the Commonwealth's natural resources. DFG carries out this mission through land preservation and wildlife habitat management, management of inland and marine fish and game species, and enforcement of the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. 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 lakes and ponds.