Mary Serreze/Townsquare Media
Mary Serreze/Townsquare Media

SOMERSET — Cities and towns on Massachusetts' SouthCoast will be getting nearly $2 million in grant funding for dam and seawall repairs and improvements as part of a $19.2 million program to strengthen coastal infrastructure amid a changing climate.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and other state officials announced the grants on Thursday in Somerset.

The SouthCoast town was chosen for the announcement because its Reservoir Dam will be getting $1 million in repairs, along with more than $149,000 in other dam and diversion channel improvements.

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More than $19 million is being handed out to 23 different municipalities and nonprofit organizations to advance 26 critical infrastructure projects, officials noted in a release.

Including the funding to improve Somerset's dam, SouthCoast communities are getting $1.95 million in state grants.

The funding comes through the state's Energy and Environmental Affairs office via its Dam and Seawall Program, which aims to address failing dams and improve coastal infrastructure.

The communities and projects being funded are as follows:


  • $148,500 for Fall River's Sawdy Pond Dam Improvement Program
  • $108,750 for Middleboro's Stony Brook Pond Dam Improvements
  • $101,550 for New Bedford's Turners Pond Dam Improvements
  • $168,050 for Raynham's Kings Pond Dam/Gardiner Street Bridge
  • $149,349.56 for Somerset's Somerset Reservoir Dam and Diversion Channel Improvements
  • $120,000 for Swansea's Milford Pond Dam
  • $156,750 for North Attleboro's Falls Pond Dam Structural Repairs & Invasive Species Management
  • And $1,000,000 for the Somerset Reservoir Dam Repairs

By far the largest grant, more than $5.9 million, will go towards repairing the Oceanside Drive seawall in Scituate.

"As we continue to witness the impacts of climate change on the Commonwealth, it is important that we work to address the state’s aging infrastructure, such as dams, seawalls, and other structures," said Governor Charlie Baker.

"By investing in these types of critical structures, we will make Massachusetts communities more resilient to withstand stronger storm events and other impacts and ensure better safety and performance for years to come."

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card commented, "The Baker-Polito Administration has made tremendous progress in addressing dams, seawalls, and levees by investing more than $100 million in funds to cities and towns since 2015."

She added, "Many of these structures were never intended to withstand the conditions we experience today, such as more intense storms and rising sea levels, requiring us to act now to implement resilient solutions to better protect our communities from future events and issues."

Westport State Senator Michael Rodrigues noted, “we have made incredible progress, working together to invest over $100 million since 2015 to repair and bolster our dams, seawalls and other coastal infrastructure necessary to better protect our communities and confront the impacts of climate change for many years to come.”

“Thank you to the Baker-Polito administration for this allocation of funding," said Somerset State Representative Patricia Haddad. "My communities of Somerset and Swansea will use this money to improve aging infrastructure that help protect our homes and businesses from the devastating effects of flooding."

"Global heating is affecting our infrastructure and we must plan now for even greater changes in the future,” said Westport State Representative Paul Schmid III. "Fall River thanks the Baker-Polito Administration for this award which will help improve the Sawdy Pond Dam."

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