Baker-Polito Administration Designates New Priority River and Wetland Restoration Projects


BOSTON – December 7, 2016 – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced 11 new
river and wetland restoration projects will be designated Priority Projects through
the Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Division of Ecological Restoration (DER).
Priority Projects, which are eligible to receive grants, project management and
contracted technical services funded by DER, deliver significant ecological and
community benefits to the Commonwealth.

«Our administration remains committed to working with our federal, municipal, and
private partners to restore rivers, wetlands, and the valuable natural resources in
systems throughout the Commonwealth,» said Governor Charlie Baker. «The
revitalization of the state’s rivers and the protection of floodplains demonstrates
Massachusetts’ dedication to preserving our natural ecosystems for wildlife and
safeguarded local businesses who are reliant on a healthy environment.»

«In addition to enhancing fish and wildlife habitat, these projects will create jobs
and boost economic activity within local communities across the state,» said
Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. «Importantly, by prioritizing and investing in
these projects, considerable resources will be leveraged, ultimately making them
more valuable, successful, and cost effective for the public to enjoy and benefit

The 11 new Priority Projects, six of which will receive «provisional» status in
order to determine their long-term readiness for implementation, include dam
removals, culvert replacements, urban river revitalization efforts, floodplain
enhancement and streamflow restoration. Once completed, the projects will provide
significant social, environmental and economic benefits to the Commonwealth and
local communities. More than 60 active ecological restoration projects throughout
the state are currently designated as Priority Projects. To review a full list of
projects, please visit the Department of Fish & Game’s DER Priority Projects Map

«Given the stress that our rivers and wetlands continue to face due to the extended
drought in Massachusetts, these restoration efforts could not come at a better
time,» said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. «Dam removal
and culvert replacement are some examples of the important projects that have been
prioritized to safeguard human health and safety by protecting buildings, roads, and
other infrastructure.»

«Ecological restoration projects benefit a range of wildlife species, particularly
cold water fish such as eastern brook trout and migratory fish such as river
herring, shad, and smelt,» said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner George N.
Peterson, Jr. «We are pleased to support restoration of these critical habitats in
cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth.»

The five new Priority Projects include:

Project: Ipswich River Flow Restoration
Applying Organization: Multiple municipalities in partnership with The Ipswich River
Watershed Association
Project Description: The Ipswich River has been especially stressed by current
drought conditions. This project will pilot innovative, non-regulatory water
conservation strategies with the goal of reducing non-essential outdoor water use
and improving streamflow.

Project: Elm Street Dam Removal
Applying Organization: Kingston in partnership with the Jones River Watershed
Project Description: The Jones River is an important migratory fish run with
coldwater habitat in some of its tributaries. The dam removal project will eliminate
a liability for the community and restore connectivity to over 24 miles of river

Project: Lyman Mill Dam Removal
Applying Organization: Southampton in partnership with a private owner
Project Description: Removal of the Lyman Mill Dam will eliminate a significant
hazard dam and restore connectivity to 27 miles of river habitat along the Manhan

Project: Arcadia Sanctuary Floodplain Restoration
Applying Organization: Easthampton in partnership with Mass Audubon
Project Description: The restoration project will improve biodiversity and other
floodplain wetland functions along the Mill River, a tributary to the Connecticut

Project: Pamet River Restoration
Applying Organization: Truro in partnership with the Town of Truro
Project Description: The Pamet River restoration will connect tidal habitat along
the river and its tributaries to improve salt marsh condition and strengthen coastal

The six new «Provisional» Priority Projects include:

Project: High Street Dam Removal
Applying Organization: Bridgewater in partnership with The Nature Conservancy
Project Description: The High Street Dam removal would reconnect over 10 miles of
riverine habitat upstream of the dam and benefit a range of wildlife species.

Project: Kitchen Brook Dam Removal
Applying Organization: Town of Cheshire
Project Description: Removal of the Kitchen Brook Dam would benefit coldwater
species and complements the recent removal of the adjacent Thunder Brook Dam.

Project: Sawmill Brook Restoration:
Applying Organization: Town of Manchester
Project Description: DER would assist the Town of Manchester with studies to
evaluate infrastructure problems on Sawmill Brook to reduce flooding and improve

Project: Watertown Dam
Applying Organization: Watertown in partnership with The Charles River Watershed
Project Description: Removal of the Watertown Dam would eliminate a hazardous dam on
the main stem of the Charles river and improve fish passage.

Project: Hollingsworth and Ames Pond Dams Removal
Applying Organization: Braintree in partnership with Fore River Watershed Association
Project Description: This project would involve the removal of two dams and
associated channel improvements to restore fish passage in the Fore River system in
tandem with the Division of Marine Fisheries.

Project: Fearing Brook Revitalization
Applying Organization: Town of Amherst
Project Description: The Fearing Brook restoration would include daylighting,
stormwater improvements and other habitat enhancements to a highly impacted and
urbanized stream.

«The Priority Projects Program is the primary vehicle by which the Division of
Ecological Restoration pursues aquatic habitat restoration and river revitalization
projects that present the greatest benefit to the Commonwealth – both ecologically
and socially,» said DER Director Tim Purinton. «These projects leverage significant
federal funds, on average five federal dollars to every state dollar invested.»

Priority Projects are evaluated on their ecological benefit, cost, size,
practicality, feasibility, opportunity for public education and recreation,
available program resources, and partner support, and are chosen through a
state-wide, competitive process. The selection of projects begins when the DER
issues a pre-Request for Responses (RFR). Eligible applicants include
municipalities, private property owners, non-profits, and academic institutions.
Additionally, selected projects are eligible to receive technical services such as
data collection, engineering, design work, and permitting; project management and
fundraising assistance from DER staff; and small grants.

«I am pleased to learn that the Lyman Mill Dam Removal project in Southampton and
the Arcadia Sanctuary Floodplain Restoration project in Easthampton have been
designated as Priority Projects by the Division of Ecological Restoration,» said
Senator Don Humason (R-Westfield). «Thanks to DER’s recognition of the benefits of
these projects, both communities will be able to access exclusive technical supports
and funding to revitalize local ecologies and improve public safety.»

«We are thankful that the Arcadia Sanctuary Floodplain Restoration project has been
recognized as a priority project. This recognition will open doors for funding and
project management which will bring us one step closer to improving biodiversity
along the Mill River,» said State Representative John Scibak (D-South Hadley).
«Grant funding coupled with our partnership with Mass Audubon will ensure this
project is a successful one, benefiting not only our community but those along the
Connecticut River.»

«Completely cognizant of the persistent drought conditions that we have endured I’m
particularly pleased that the Ipswich River Watershed Association was included as a
priority project for their water conservation efforts,» said Senate Minority Leader
Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).

«Given what we have just witnessed throughout this past summer with the Ipswich
River, the designation of the Ipswich River Flow Restoration in partnership with The
Ipswich Watershed Association as a Priority Project by the Department of Fish and
Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration is an encouraging step in the direction of
rectifying the damage done to our ecosystem during the drought,» said State
Representative Brad Hill (R-Ipswich).

The mission of the Division of Ecological
Restoration (DER) 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.