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Buzzards Bay Towns Honored With Federal Funding For Environmental Efforts

Buzzards Bay Coalition/Facebook
Buzzards Bay Coalition/Facebook

BOSTON — Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito announced $135,000 in federal funding to support land protection projects and water quality monitoring in Buzzards Bay.

Three grants are included in the funding to help towns involved in the protection of crucial habitats in the Buzzards Bay watershed. Funding to support long-term monitoring efforts in the bay is included in the funds going to Acushnet, Mattapoisett, Rochester and the Buzzards Bay Coalition.

The Mattapoisett River Valley watershed is home to all three of the land-protection projects that provides drinking water to four municipalities. An additional $65,700 in municipal and private contributions will support water quality monitoring, permanently protect important habitats, and promote passive recreation.

Governor Charlie Baker says that “the funding being awarded today will enable important projects that protect the important natural resources in Buzzards Bay.”

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).

Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton says the three South Coast towns are being honored for the years of contributions made to preserve the land and natural resources of the area.

“Through the important contribution of the Buzzards Bay Coalition and their volunteers, water quality monitoring in Buzzards Bay has taken place for over 25 years, and the data collected has proved immensely useful to state agencies and municipalities in their efforts to manage pollution to coastal waters,” Beaton said.

Lieutenant Gov. Karyn Polito congratulated the three South Coast towns for their efforts to protect area wetlands.

“Projects like protecting important wetlands for water quality and rare species habitat and supporting local, volunteer water quality monitoring will make a real difference at the local level,” said Polito.

All three towns will each be receiving $35,000 to work with their individual partners and the Buzzards Bay Coalition.

Acushnet will protect land that benefits water resources associated with Tripps Mill Brook and the Mattapoisett River. It will also protect wildlife habitat, expand trail-based recreational opportunities and protect a large contiguous undeveloped block of forest.

“This grant funding will allow the town (Acushnet) and the Buzzards Bay Coalition to continue its important work,” State Rep. Robert M. Koczera said. “We all share a responsibility to work towards reclaiming our local landscapes, so that future generations can appreciate nature and learn how to work with it, not against it.”

Mattapoisett will protect a 53-acre property, also in the Mattapoisett River Valley, designated as habitat for rare species. The property also contains an old historic quarry with deep ties to New England history and culture. The Town and its partners intend to use the property for environmental and historical educatio0al purposes.

Rochester will permanently protect a 78.6-acre property, which contains extensive wetlands, including an Atlantic white cedar swamp. The property, located in a large undeveloped forest area near the dividing line of the Mattapoisett and Sippican River watersheds, will provide trail-based recreational opportunities for the public.

The Buzzards Bay Coalition will receive $35,000 as well to support an additional season of monitoring of the Baywatchers program.

Baywatchers is a comprehensive volunteer-based water quality monitoring program, which has been in existence for 25 years. With the help of trained volunteers, basic water quality measurements of dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity and water clarity will be made at approximately 150 stations in and around Buzzards Bay. The water quality data collected will be used to track nutrient pollution effects and will be made available to federal, state and local decision makers.

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