MA Announces Wetlands Restoration Funding
December 14, 2011
Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. announced $57,000 in grants and technical assistance for river and wetland restoration projects in the towns of Brewster, Middleton and North Adams.
The grants are provided by the Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Division of Ecological Restoration (DER), which also identified 11 new priority projects that will be targeted for future funding through public-private partnerships.
The largest grant of $40,000 was awarded to Brewster for the restoration of Freemans Pond, a coastal salt pond that has been degraded by insufficient tidal flow. The grant will help leverage $300,000 of federal stimulus funds.
Another $12,000 will support the revitalization of the Hoosic River in downtown North Adams.
Remaining funds will be used to assist other dam removal projects, including support for the Ipswich River Watershed Association to leverage engineering and design funds for the potential removal of the South Middleton Dam.
Among the 11 new “priority projects” also identified were:
- Tidmarsh Farm, Inc.—Tidmarsh Farm Restoration (Plymouth): This project will restore approximately 3.5 miles of stream and 250 acres of wetland to benefit migratory fish such as Eastern brook trout and other resident coldwater species.
- Harwich Conservation Trust— Cold Brook Restoration Project (Harwich): This project will help restore over 50 acres of degraded freshwater wetlands and over 4,000 feet of altered stream channel impacted by past cranberry farming.
- Save the Bay—Rattlesnake Brook Dam Removal (Freetown): The removal of this dam, located at the mouth of Rattlesnake Brook on Assonet Bay, will naturalize the stream and open the brook to migratory fish, including trout.
- Town of Plymouth—Holmes Dam/Newfield Street Bridge (Plymouth): Removal of the Holmes Dam at Newfield Street is the last step of a 12-phase effort to restore natural processes to Town Brook, one of the state’s most important migratory fish runs. The Holmes Dam is a high hazard dam and will soon be the final significant barrier to fish passage on Town Brook.
- Ipswich River Watershed Association—Ipswich Mills Dam Removal Evaluation (Ipswich): The Ipswich Mills Dam is the first dam on the Ipswich River located at the head-of-tide. Modification or removal of the dam would enhance head-of-tide spawning habitat, enhance passage of migratory and resident fish for over 49 miles of river, and improve water quality.
- Town of Danvers – Curtis Pond Dam Removal (Middleton) — The Curtis Pond Dam is a Significant Hazard Dam located on Boston Brook, a tributary to the Ipswich River in Middleton. Over the last three years, the project partners have garnered substantial support to remove this dam to restore conditions for river herring and resident fish species, various birds, and other significant species.
- Jones River Watershed Association – Silver Lake and Jones River Sustainable Flow Project (Kingston) — The Jones River, the largest tributary to Kingston and Plymouth Bays, is an important migratory fish run and provides coldwater habitat. This project would address documented problems in the timing and volume of flows in the Jones River, for the benefit of downstream aquatic health.
- Town of Brewster – Freeman’s Pond (Brewster) — The Freeman’s Pond project seeks to enhance tidal flow and salt marsh functions by replacing an undersized culvert at the outlet of Paines Creek. The project will benefit over 20 acres of salt marsh and associated plant communities, fish, and coastal bird species.
- Town of Truro – Mill Pond (Truro) — Mill Pond in Truro has been severely degraded by a tidal restriction beneath Mill Pond Road for over 150 years. The project will restore tidal flow to this 13-acre system and will benefit shellfish and finfish species while encouraging a more natural wetland plant community.
- Town of Truro – Eagle Neck Creek (Truro) — Eagle Neck Creek is a 16-acre degraded tidal marsh that flows into Pamet Harbor and Cape Cod Bay. A road and culvert crossing the creek obstruct tidal flushing of the system. The project will remove the tidal restriction to restore salt marsh functions and benefit associated shellfish, finfish, and other coastal wildlife.
- Eight Towns and the Bay – Upper Castle Neck Salt Marsh (Ipswich/ Essex) — The Castle Neck Marsh is located at in upper reaches of the tidal portion of the Castle Neck River. The system has been impacted for many decades by poor drainage resulting from several man-made obstructions within the downstream tidal channel. Over 130 acres of tidal wetlands are impacted by these conditions. The restoration project will improve drainage of the marsh by removing obstructions to create a more natural hydrology and wetland habitat.