Funds Announced for Coastal Projects in Mass. and R.I.

By ecoRI News staff

With Election Day looming (Nov. 8), announcements about money for environmental initiatives are popping up. Here are a two:

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., is touting $4.6 million in grants for water monitoring, watershed planning, nutrient/septic-system management and climate-change adaptation. The money is offered through Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) grants that target coastal projects from Westerly, R.I., to Chatham, Mass. They include Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Cape Cod.

The grants are managed through the EPA’s Southeast New England Program:

$996,820 to the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission for the Aquidneck Island water-quality initiative.

728,511 to the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment and Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center for the assessment of non-proprietary, passive, nitrogen-removing septic systems.

$472,574 to the Association to Preserve Cape Cod for the assessment of non-proprietary, passive, nitrogen-removing septic systems.

$560,636 to the Massachusetts Audubon Society for integrating ecosystem service functions and values into land-use decision making in the Narragansett Bay watershed.

$674,201 to the town of Charlestown, R.I., for a coastal watershed protection and restoration program.

$402,461 to the Ecosystem Center Marine Biological Laboratory for assessing climate effects on watershed and stormwater nitrogen loading and vulnerabilities in meeting TMDLs in Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod.

$275,790 to the Wampanoag tribe of Aquinnah for the tribal common lands ecological enhancements and resiliency project.

$525,96 to the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology for quantifying potential for oyster aquaculture and impacts on estuarine nitrogen-related water quality.

On Sept. 15, the U.S. Senate passed a reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act. Reed and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., announced that the bill includes an increase from $1 million to $5 million for the removal of wood pilings in the Providence River and the clean up of other marine debris. Projects of note include removing wood pilings near the East Providence Yacht Club and a defunct U.S. Army Corps of Engineers bridge.

The bill has moved to the House of Representatives. The House must approve the act for it to pass.

The funds include Federal Emergency Management Agency grants to repair and remove small dams deemed dangerous. The act updates potential restoration projects along Rhode Island’s coast. It also promotes green infrastructure for public water systems.

If approved, funds would be spent to reduce lead in drinking water and help communities during drinking-water emergencies. Funds would also be available for water testing at schools and day-care centers.

The act includes grants for water-quality research and policies on aquaculture.