8 Buzzards Bay Watershed-Protection Grants Awarded


Westport River, west branch. Photo/New England Boating

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The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ (EEA) Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) today announced $180,958 in grants for 8 Buzzard Bay watershed municipalities.

Funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and administered by CZM’s Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program, these grants will aid towns in testing and treating stormwater discharges, protecting wetlands and wildlife habitat, improving water supplies and safeguarding open spaces.

The 8 awards are:


  • $18,653 to protect 46.6 acres of undeveloped land along the Acushnet River through outright acquisition and a conservation restriction. Protection of the property will preserve 1,900’ of frontage on the east bank of the Acushnet River and important associated wetlands and open field habitats, as well as provide public access for passive recreational activities, such as hiking and bird watching.


  • $20,000 to develop engineering designs to treat stormwater discharging bacteria and other pollutants to Cohasset Narrows at the mouth of Buttermilk Bay. Altogether, stormwater will be treated from seven culverts along Buttermilk Way. This area has closed shellfish beds due to runoff pollution.


  • $35,000 to acquire a conservation restriction on a 32-acre agricultural property in East Fairhaven. Protection of the subject property will preserve the existing open space character of the area including its agricultural use, provide public access to walking trails that connect to adjacent protected lands, and protect the drinking water supply and wildlife habitat.


  • $18,653 to hire an engineering firm to conduct an illicit discharge detection and elimination program that will monitor and test stormwater discharges to identify pollution sources including illicit discharges. The water sampling data will be used to develop baseline stormwater quality conditions to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) to improve the water quality of the receiving waters.


  • $35,000 to protect 16.61 acres of undeveloped land along the Mattapoisett River through outright acquisition of the property. Protection of the property, which lies within a Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) drinking water supply protection area, will preserve 1,880’ of frontage on the Mattapoisett River, as well as wetlands and rare species habitat.


  • $15,000 to hire a consultant to upgrade the town’s geographic information system (GIS) to account for new development and meet new state data standards. The town will also digitize wetland boundaries defined on plans previously submitted to the Conservation Commission. The goal of the project is to provide the town with new, more accurate GIS data for municipal planning.


  • $18,653 to protect 32.5 acres of undeveloped land along the Weweantic River using outright acquisition and a conservation restriction. Protection of the property will preserve important watershed land along the Weweantic River and protect wildlife habitat.


  • $20,000 to develop engineering designs to treat three municipal stormwater discharges from River Road into the West Branch of the Westport River. These discharges contribute pollution to the Westport River, which is degraded due to elevated levels of fecal coliform bacteria, which triggers shellfish bed closures.

The above programs are administered by the EPA and state or local partners, and founded on the principal that good science leads to good management. Through the program, scientists and managers meet with the public, industry, local officials, and other stakeholders to develop publicly supported action plans to protect and restore their estuaries.

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