NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — New Bedford’s Buttonwood Brook and Pond will be undergoing a major effort to improve water quality.

Mayor Jon Mitchell announced today that the City had teamed with local, state and federal partners to secure more than $2 million in state and federal grants for the project, which will “better manage stormwater in order to reduce pollution in the Buttonwood Brook ecosystem,” according to a release.

“This project will have a lasting positive impact on the ecological health of Buttonwood Park,” Mayor Mitchell said. “I want to thank our federal delegation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Coalition of Buzzards Bay, and the Healey Administration for their support of this critical green infrastructure initiative.”

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The City of New Bedford worked with the Buzzards Bay Coalition and the Town of Dartmouth to secure the funding.

“This project will not only improve the water quality in Buttonwood Brook and Pond, but it will keep the Buttonwood ecosystem healthy and thriving for years to come,” Ward 5 City Councilor Scott Lima said. “This is a good example of the good that comes when local, state, and federal bodies come together as a team.”

The 5.8-mile brook runs along a heavily commercial area with busy paved city streets, which combined with stormwater runoff has degraded the quality of water in the brook and the pond over the years. The runoff can cause issues like excessive algae bloom, which in 2018 led to dozens of dead fish floating in Buttonwood Pond.

Courtesy the City of New Bedford
Courtesy the City of New Bedford

To counter the runoff issue, environmental infrastructure improvements are planned for the northern end of Brownell Avenue, Kempton Street near the Route 140 intersection, and around the Buttonwood Warming House.

These improvements include rain gardens, retention ponds and bioswales, which will capture the stormwater and allow it to filter and clean. It will also help reduce flooding by absorbing heavy rains.

In addition, the parking lot for the Warming House will be repaved, and the walkways will be brought up to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, the release stated.

"This project, which will protect our watershed and improve access for all who visit Buttonwood Park, is a reminder of what can happen when the local, state, and federal government partner with each other and with non-profit organizations like the Buzzards Bay Coalition," Congressman Bill Keating said.

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