Baker-Polito Administration Awards Grants to South Coast Region for Habitat Protection and Restoration

More than $200,000 in federal funds awarded to six towns in the Buzzards Bay Watershed

BOSTON – August 3, 2016 – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $210,924
in federal grant funding to help towns in the Buzzards Bay watershed protect
important habitat and drinking water resources and provide passage for migratory
fish species. The grants are being matched by $114,447 in municipal and private
contributions and will focus on permanently protecting or restoring habitat, as well
as promoting passive recreation.

«These forward-thinking local projects will ensure the Commonwealth’s native species
are being preserved and our drinking water resources are protected,» said Governor
Charlie Baker. «With this round of grants, our administration continues to focus on
assisting Massachusetts land protection and conservation projects like these in
Buzzards Bay.»

«Our administration is dedicated to supporting local efforts to conserve natural
resources and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities,» said Lieutenant Governor
Karyn Polito. «This partnership and funding allows us to provide necessary support
for our communities to advance effective local actions that protect important
habitats and improve the water quality of Buzzards Bay.»

«These grant recipients are doing important work within communities to protect open
space and drinking water supplies, while also restoring natural resources of the
Commonwealth,» said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton.
«These natural landscapes and hiking trails improve quality of life, increase
tourism and leave a legacy for the next generation.»

The grants are being awarded by the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program through
the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) with funding from the
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

«CZM’s National Estuary Programs actively work with communities on projects that
have significant long-term benefits for our coast,» said CZM Director Bruce
Carlisle. «This federal, state and local partnership helps ensure that these
on-the-ground efforts continue to make a real difference.»

«I’d like to thank the communities for their hard work and our state and federal
partners for their support,» said Joe Costa, Executive Director of the Buzzards Bay
National Estuary Program. «Thanks to generous Congressional appropriations, we have
been able to award millions in dollars in water quality restoration and habitat
protection grants to Buzzards Bay communities over the past several years.»

The following seven grants were awarded to six towns:

The Town of Acushnet will receive $35,000 to work with its partner, the Buzzards Bay
Coalition, to protect a 9-acre property along the Acushnet River. The property
contains field, forest and forested wetlands and is designated habitat for rare
species. Protection of this property will advance the town’s long-term vision of a
«greenbelt,» a corridor of connected conservation and recreation land along the
Acushnet River.

The Town of Fairhaven will receive $35,000 to work with its partner, the Buzzards
Bay Coalition, to protect 61.5 acres of land in East Fairhaven that is part of a
larger conservation effort. The property is designated as habitat for rare species
and contains significant salt marsh, forested freshwater wetlands and frontage on a
perennial stream.

The Town of Marion will receive $10,924 to remove an obstruction to fish passage on
Borden Brook, which runs through Grassi Bog. Borden Brook is an existing American
eel run and has the potential to support other fish species, including alewife. The
town will remove an existing culvert and replace it with a larger culvert that will
mimic natural stream channel conditions and provide unimpeded fish passage.

The Towns of Mattapoisett and Rochester will receive $35,000 each to work with their
partner, the Buzzards Bay Coalition, to protect 164-acres of land straddling the
Rochester-Mattapoisett town boundary. The properties lie within a drinking water
recharge area, are designated as habitat for rare species, contain extensive
wetlands, have frontage on Branch Brook and abut existing protected lands owned by
the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game and the Mattapoisett Water Department.

The Town of Rochester will receive $25,000 to work with its partner, the Rochester
Land Trust, to purchase and permanently protect an 18.27-acre property along the
Mattapoisett River. The property is designated habitat for rare species, contains
extensive wetlands, has frontage on the Mattapoisett River and abuts existing
protected lands.

The Town of Wareham will receive $35,000 to work with its partners, the Buzzards Bay
Coalition and Wareham Land Trust, to protect 8 acres of land along the Weweantic
River. The town proposes to use this land for natural resource protection and for
trail-based recreation connecting to the existing adjacent trail system along the
river, immediately downstream at the Westgate Conservation Area and Fearing Hill
Conservation Area.

«I greatly appreciate the continuing commitment of the towns and communities around
Buzzards Bay to protect and restore important habitat,» said Congressman Bill
Keating. «This grant program illustrates the critical value of federal funds in
leveraging state, local and private resources, and why the 28 National Estuary
Programs continue to garner strong national support. From wildlife conservation to
habitat preservation, these projects will serve the members of our community for
years to come. As a strong proponent of the NEP and habitat restoration and
protection funding, I am proud to see these resources utilized here in our
backyard.»

«The natural resources of our state are precious and must be protected,» said State
Senator Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton). «Our communities deserve thriving, accessible
conservation areas, and these awards will help secure healthy wildlife habitats and
recreation spaces. Land protection along the Weweantic River is of vital importance,
and these connecting trails will allow our residents and visitors to more fully
enjoy the outdoors. I commend the Buzzards Bay Coalition, the Wareham Land Trust and
Wareham officials for their hard work in securing this award, and I look forward to
seeing the good it will do for Southeastern Massachusetts.»

«The town of Wareham and the Wareham Land Trust have long recognized the importance
of not only preserving our great natural resources such as the Weweantic River
corridor but also making the land available for recreational use,» said State
Representative Susan Williams Gifford (R-Wareham). «This federal grant award again
shows the commitment of the Baker-Polito Administration to assist our towns with
restoration and conservation efforts.»

«I have a strong and continued interest in protecting the watershed and the water
quality of Buzzards Bay,» said State Representative William M. Straus
(D-Mattapoisett). «I am pleased that this funding will go towards preserving and
maintaining the quality of this important natural resource and promote conservation
measures throughout the region.»

«Buzzards Bay is an integral piece of our landscape here on the South Coast,» said
State Representative Paul Schmid (D-Westport). «The local leadership of the awarded
communities will provide the framework for habitat and drinking water resource
conservation around the Commonwealth. I sincerely thank the Baker-Polito
Administration and our federal partners for their advocacy in preserving our natural
resources.»

The Office of Coastal Zone Management is EEA’s lead policy and planning agency on
coastal and ocean issues. Created in 1985, the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program
provides grants and technical assistance to South Coast and Cape Cod communities to
protect and restore water quality and natural resources in Buzzards Bay and its
surrounding watershed and is one of 28 similar programs designated by the EPA.