Projects Enhance Habitat, Spur Job Creation and Economic Growth
BOSTON – Monday, December 12, 2011 – Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. today announced $57,000 in grants and technical assistance for river and wetland restoration projects in Brewster, Middleton and North Adams. The grants are provided by the Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Division of Ecological Restoration (DER), which also identified 11 new priority projects that will be targeted for future funding through public-private partnerships.
“Ecological restoration provides many benefits, including improving habitat for a multitude of wildlife species,” said Secretary Sullivan. “In addition, investments in ecological restoration provide double economic benefits to human communities – first in direct economic benefits such as jobs created, and second by aiding cities and towns with flood mitigation, water purification, and natural buffers to the impacts of climate change.”
A recent study by Restore America’s Estuaries shows that coastal habitat restoration projects generate an average employment demand of between 20 and 32 jobs for each $1 million expended.
“Investments in ecological restoration projects have a very high return on the dollar,” said DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin. “In addition, state funds leverage significant federal and foundation funds, helping us to do much more of the important habitat restoration work than we would otherwise be able to do.”
All grants were funded by DER’s Priority Projects Program, the primary vehicle by which Massachusetts pursues wetland and river restoration. The projects selected present the greatest benefit to the Commonwealth – ecologically, socially and economically. Designated priority projects are eligible to receive both internal program assistance and contracted technical services funded by DER.
The grants announced today will support new and existing priority projects, including wetland and river restoration projects in Brewster, Middleton and North Adams. The largest grant of $40,000 will go to the town of Brewster for the restoration of Freemans Pond, a coastal salt pond that has been degraded by insufficient tidal flow. The grant will help leverage $300,000 of federal stimulus funds.
"Reviving Freemans Pond in Brewster, opening up an historic flow to Cape Cod Bay, is exactly the kind of restoration project all of Cape Cod understands, and celebrates," said Senator Dan Wolf. "I want to thank everyone involved for their excellent work and support to get this accomplished."
"The projects both completed and planned in the mid-Cape area will play a large part in the rehabilitation and protection of salt water marshes, fresh water ponds and wetlands. That effort has helped and will continue to help maintain the critical natural resources that make Cape Cod what it is today,” said Representative Cleon Turner. “Similar efforts now and in the future will ensure a healthy natural environment for Massachusetts citizens."
Another $12,000 will support the revitalization of the Hoosic River in downtown North Adams.
“This ecological restoration work to restore the Hoosic River as it flows through North Adams is a wonderful thing for the city’s downtown environment,” said Senator Benjamin B. Downing.
"The plans for revitalization, enhancing our downtown and making North Adams even more attractive, are welcome news; yet we must do so with public safety as the utmost priority in any reconstruction and revitalization of the river corridor. I’m pleased that the partnership is prioritizing public safety, while seeking to help energize North Adams through river restoration,” said Representative Gailanne M. Cariddi.
Remaining funds will be used to assist other dam removal projects including support for the Ipswich River Watershed Association to leverage engineering and design funds for the potential removal of the South Middleton Dam.
Eleven new projects were recently selected in Brewster, Essex, Freetown, Harwich, Ipswich, Kingston, Middleton, Plymouth and Truro. These projects include dam removals, culvert replacements and stream flow restoration. These newly approved Priority Projects include:
- Tidmarsh Farm, Inc. – Tidmarsh Farm Restoration (Plymouth) -- This project will restore approximately 3.5 miles of stream and 250 acres of wetland to benefit migratory fish such as Eastern brook trout and other resident coldwater species.
- Harwich Conservation Trust – Cold Brook Restoration Project (Harwich) -- This project will help restore over 50 acres of degraded freshwater wetlands and over 4,000 feet of altered stream channel impacted by past cranberry farming.
- Save the Bay – Rattlesnake Brook Dam Removal (Freetown) -- The removal of this dam, located at the mouth of Rattlesnake Brook on Assonet Bay, will naturalize the stream and open the brook to migratory fish, including trout.
- Town of Plymouth – Holmes Dam/Newfield Street Bridge (Plymouth) -- Removal of the Holmes Dam at Newfield Street is the last step of a 12-phase effort to restore natural processes to Town Brook, one of the state’s most important migratory fish runs. The Holmes Dam is a high hazard dam and will soon be the final significant barrier to fish passage on Town Brook.
- Ipswich River Watershed Association – Ipswich Mills Dam Removal Evaluation (Ipswich) -- The Ipswich Mills Dam is the first dam on the Ipswich River located at the head-of-tide. Modification or removal of the dam would enhance head-of-tide spawning habitat, enhance passage of migratory and resident fish for over 49 miles of river, and improve water quality.
- Town of Danvers – Curtis Pond Dam Removal (Middleton) -- The Curtis Pond Dam is a Significant Hazard Dam located on Boston Brook, a tributary to the Ipswich River in Middleton. Over the last three years, the project partners have garnered substantial support to remove this dam to restore conditions for river herring and resident fish species, various birds, and other significant species.
- Jones River Watershed Association – Silver Lake and Jones River Sustainable Flow Project (Kingston) -- The Jones River, the largest tributary to Kingston and Plymouth Bays, is an important migratory fish run and provides coldwater habitat. This project would address documented problems in the timing and volume of flows in the Jones River, for the benefit of downstream aquatic health.
- Town of Brewster – Freeman’s Pond (Brewster) -- The Freeman’s Pond project seeks to enhance tidal flow and salt marsh functions by replacing an undersized culvert at the outlet of Paines Creek. The project will benefit over 20 acres of salt marsh and associated plant communities, fish, and coastal bird species.
- Town of Truro – Mill Pond (Truro) -- Mill Pond in Truro has been severely degraded by a tidal restriction beneath Mill Pond Road for over 150 years. The project will restore tidal flow to this 13-acre system and will benefit shellfish and finfish species while encouraging a more natural wetland plant community.
- Town of Truro – Eagle Neck Creek (Truro) -- Eagle Neck Creek is a 16-acre degraded tidal marsh that flows into Pamet Harbor and Cape Cod Bay. A road and culvert crossing the creek obstruct tidal flushing of the system. The project will remove the tidal restriction to restore salt marsh functions and benefit associated shellfish, finfish, and other coastal wildlife.
- Eight Towns and the Bay – Upper Castle Neck Salt Marsh (Ipswich/ Essex) -- The Castle Neck Marsh is located at in upper reaches of the tidal portion of the Castle Neck River. The system has been impacted for many decades by poor drainage resulting from several man-made obstructions within the downstream tidal channel. Over 130 acres of tidal wetlands are impacted by these conditions. The restoration project will improve drainage of the marsh by removing obstructions to create a more natural hydrology and wetland habitat.
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 across the Commonwealth.
The Department of Fish and Game (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.