Baker-Polito Administration Announces Grants for Watershed Restoration Projects

BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $45,000 in
state grant funds for two river restoration efforts in Chester and Halifax. These
funds will leverage more than $190,000 in federal and foundation grants to enhance
stream habitats for fish and wildlife and improve water quality.

«These restoration efforts will improve water quality, increase climate change
resiliency, boost recreation and tourism and help sustain commercial and
recreational fishing,» said Governor Charlie Baker. «This funding announcement
reflects our commitment to conserving the Commonwealth’s land and wildlife, as well
as proactively taking steps to increase our resilience to the effects of climate
change.»

«These projects will enable these water bodies to be restored to their natural
state, improving ecological conditions and allowing wildlife to thrive,» said
Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. «By leveraging funds from the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, this grant will
help make these important local conservation efforts possible.»

The Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Division of Ecological Restoration (DER)
coordinates these grants for priority river restoration projects. DER is awarding
$40,000 to Trout Unlimited for the restoration of Kinne Brook in Chester by
replacing two undersized culverts and $5,000 to the Town of Halifax for improvements
to Stump Brook.

«Smart infrastructure, such as properly sized culverts, will help us better adapt to
climate change, prevent flooding and reduce damage to roads and other
infrastructure,» said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. «By
awarding funds to these culvert replacement and water quality protection projects we
can improve stream habitat, water quality and public health in Chester and Halifax.»

«Healthy rivers and streams support recreational pursuits such as fishing, canoeing
and kayaking, and small brooks are often the source of our drinking water,» said DFG
Commissioner George Peterson. «Keeping them clean, healthy and free-flowing is a
priority of our Department.»

Trout Unlimited is leading the effort to design and replace two undersized culverts
on Kinne Brook, a tributary of the Westfield River. When complete, the project will
reconnect over 30 miles of coldwater stream habitat. State funding will help match a
$134,429 grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation’s New England Forests &
Rivers Fund. Funds will facilitate final designs and permit applications for the
culvert replacement projects and will support outreach and on-going monitoring
efforts.

«Great partnerships between the state and active grassroots organizations like Trout
Unlimited are the cornerstone of maintaining the pristine natural resources that
make the Berkshires so special,» said Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield).

«I am pleased that the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological
Restoration has selected Trout Unlimited to receive $40, 000,» said State
Representative Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington). «This grant money will go a long way
in helping complete their project in Chester. In addition to protecting a delicate
natural ecosystem, long term this project will ultimately reduce maintenance costs
for the Town, reconnect access for residential and emergency vehicles, and protect
municipal and private infrastructure.»

«Undersized culverts are barriers to many species that call our rivers home, and
more than 60% of culverts in our local watersheds are undersized,» said Erin
Rodgers, Ph.D., Western New England Project Coordinator of Trout Unlimited. «These
structures not only keep animals from their habitat, during floods they can act like
dams and eventually wash out, creating expensive emergency repair work. Replacing
these culverts before they become a problem helps everyone.»

The Town of Halifax is working with multiple partners in the management of
Monponsett Ponds and Stump Brook to optimize water quality and quantity. These water
bodies are subject to harmful seasonal algal blooms. State funding will match an EPA
grant of $57,338 through the EPA’s Southeast New England Coastal Watershed
Restoration Program.

«I want to thank the Baker Administration, Secretary Beaton of the Executive Office
of Energy and Environmental Affairs and Commissioner Peterson of Department of Fish
and Game for aiding state and local officials and members of the Monponsett Pond
Working Group in their efforts involving the Stump Brook Restoration and Sustainable
Flow Management Project in the town of Halifax and Hanson,» said State Senator
Michael D. Brady (D-Brockton).

«I am pleased that the Town of Halifax is receiving assistance to identify sources
discharging into Monponsett Pond and Stump Brook,» said State Representative Thomas
Calter (D-Kingston). «I applaud the Town and its partners who continue to be
actively engaged in finding solutions to improve water quality and quantity in these
valuable community resources.»

«State funds will identify, map, and prioritize the stormwater outfalls and other
sources discharging to the East and West Monponsett Ponds, ponds that feed into
Stump Brook,» said Halifax Town Administrator Charlie Seelig. «By doing so, the
amount of nutrients and other chemicals flowing into Monponsett Pond can be reduced,
thereby improving the water quality of Monponsett Pond and Stump Brook.»

The Priority Projects Program is one of the vehicles by which the Division of
Ecological Restoration pursues wetland and river restoration, urban river
revitalization, and stream flow restoration projects that present the greatest
benefit to the Commonwealth, ecologically, socially and economically.

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 Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is responsible for promoting the
conservation and enjoyment of the Commonwealth’s natural resources. DFG carries out
this mission through land protection and wildlife habitat management, management of
inland and marine fish and wildlife species, and ecological restoration of fresh
water, salt water, and terrestrial habitats. 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 rivers,
lakes, and coastal waters.