New Grants Protect Buzzards Bay and Watershed

Mattapoisett River, Mattapoisett Massachusetts, June 2010 by John Phelan courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Seven southeast Massachusetts towns have received federal grants aimed at buying and protecting tracts of undeveloped land in the Buzzards Bay watershed, thereby protecting the health of Buzzards Bay as a whole.

Illustration courtesy ##http://www.buzzardsbay.org/bayshed.htm## Buzzards Bay Study Area, Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program ##

The grants were awarded to Bourne, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Marion, Mattapoisett, Rochester and Wareham, and total $282,512, according to a press release from the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Bourne received $45,000 to conduct survey, engineering and construction work to replace a culvert under Little Sandy Pond Road in Bournedale. The culvert acts as the sole access point in and out of the 376-acre Great Herring Pond and 90-acre Little Herring Pond, both of which serve as spawning grounds for blueback herring, which are currently protected in the state due to low stock levels.

Wareham will receive $45,000 to protect 180 acres of land in the Plymouth-Carver Aquifer, a drinking-water source. The land acquisition will protect forested watershed lands, wetlands, rare species and drinking water supplies, as well as provide public access via a walking trail.

Mattapoisett will receive $45,000 to buy 3 pieces of undeveloped land totaling 63.6 acres near the Mattapoisett River, a drinking-water source for surrounding communities.

Marion will also receive $45,000 to protect 54.2 acres of undeveloped land near the Mattapoisett River, completing a greenbelt of protected open space from Hartley Road in Rochester to south of Wolf Island Road in Mattapoisett.

Rochester received $45,000 to buy and protect a 35-acre swath of land that straddles the Rochester-Marion line. The land will link with existing open space and form a loop of walking trails. Rochester also received $20,506 to buy and protect a 10.7-acre parcel near the Mattapoisett River.

Fairhaven will receive $30,506 to buy an undeveloped 18-acre property within the Mattapoisett River Valley Aquifer.

Dartmouth received $6,500 to hire a contractor to digitize the 2009 assessors’ parcel map changes, incorporate the assessors’ data into the digital format, bring existing parcel data and updates up to state mapping compliance and correct any discrepancies in the data, according to the state.