State-Federal Grant Match Funds River Restoration

By ecoRI News staff

Massachusetts recently awarded $72,000 in state grant money for river restoration efforts in Andover, Freetown and Pelham. The money was matched by more than $1.1 million in federal grants. The projects will be coordinated by the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration (DER).

Each of the grants was awarded to projects previously designated as part of the DER’s priority projects program. DER supports wetland and river restoration, urban river revitalization and stream-flow restoration projects that present the greatest benefit to the state, ecologically, socially and economically.

“These projects benefit many types of fish and wildlife, including cold-water fish like trout, and migratory fish such as river herring and sea lamprey,” said Department of Fish and Game commissioner George Peterson.

Investments in ecological restoration projects produce an average employment demand of 12.5 jobs and $1.75 million in total economic output for each million dollars spent, according to DER.

In addition to the $72,000 of state funds from the environmental bond bill, an additional $30,000 from the Holyoke Coal Tar Natural Resource Damages Trustee Council will support the Pelham project.

Here is a look at projects being funded:

Town of Andover and Atria Senior Living Inc.: $25,000 awarded to Andover and $12,000 to Atria Senior Living for two dam removal projects on the Shawsheen River. These funds help to match $789,000 from the Department of Interior’s Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief-Coastal Resilience Grant program. The Shawsheen River is a tributary of the Merrimack River, and removal of the dams will restore passage for resident and migratory fish and improve public safety. Both dams exacerbate flooding and are in various stages of disrepair.

City of Fall River: $35,000 awarded to the city for the restoration of Rattlesnake Brook, a tributary of the Taunton River. State funds will help match $368,000 federal funds from the Department of Interior’s Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief-Coastal Resilience Grant program. Funds will pay for the removal of the Bleachery Dam at the mouth of Rattlesnake Brook, where it meets the tidal Assonet River in Freetown. The brook flows out of a protected watershed in the Freetown/Fall River State Forest, and the aging and unsafe dam is owned by the city.

HRD Press of Pelham: $30,000 awarded for the second phase of the Amethyst Brook Restoration Project. Following the removal of the Bartlett Rod Shop Co. Dam in 2012, construction funds will pay for the removal of Allen Dam, a timber structure on a high-quality cold-water stream in the Connecticut River watershed.  Funding for this project is provided by Clean Water Action and the Holyoke Coal Tar Natural Resource Damages Trustee Council.