• Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM)
  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $2,089,802 in Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Grants to support efforts to address polluted stormwater runoff to further protect coastal water quality and habitat, as well as to develop comprehensive coastal habitat restoration plans. The grants, provided by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ (EEA) Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), were awarded to the Towns of Barnstable, Fairhaven, Kingston, and Yarmouth, the Cities of Melrose and Quincy, the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, and the Boston Water and Sewer Commission.

“These Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Grants deliver targeted funding to help communities implement effective strategies to protect water quality and habitat along the Commonwealth’s coast,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Improved water quality helps to ensure safe and healthy beaches and shellfish beds, and habitat restoration maintains the tremendous environmental, recreational and economic benefits provided by Massachusetts’ coast.”

“Massachusetts’ coastal communities and local economies depend on clean waters and healthy habitats,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Working directly with these communities is a priority for our Administration, and the Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Grants are an excellent example of how the state can successfully support local efforts to protect coastal resources.”

The Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Grant Program funds projects to assess and treat stormwater runoff pollution to Massachusetts coastal waters and to restore coastal habitat. One focus of the grants is to support the implementation of stormwater green infrastructure, which uses approaches that replicate natural processes to filter and treat pollutants in runoff. Reducing stormwater pollution is essential for protecting water quality and habitat, as well as keeping beaches open for swimming and shellfish beds open for harvesting. In addition, these grants fund local efforts to assess existing and future threats to coastal habitat to develop comprehensive restoration plans for maintaining critical environmental resources.

“Stormwater runoff is naturally slowed, absorbed and filtered by soil and vegetation in an undeveloped landscape — ‘green’ stormwater infrastructure uses similar natural systems to capture and remove bacteria, oils, road salts, and other contaminants in order to protect our water resources,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Bethany Card. “Congratulations to these grant recipients who are promoting green stormwater infrastructure in their communities and creating targeted plans to restore coastal habitat.”

“The Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Grants provide an excellent opportunity to support communities and their partners throughout the coastal watershed in efforts to develop, design, and implement water quality and habitat restoration strategies,” said CZM Director Lisa Berry Engler. “The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management is proud to administer this exciting grant opportunity, and we look forward to working with grant recipients to ensure project success.”

The following eight projects have been funded through this year’s Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Grants:

The Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC) – $95,015: To help prevent runoff pollution at three public boat ramps, APCC will design green stormwater infrastructure to treat and remove contaminants that are impacting local waterbodies. The work will be conducted in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game Office of Fishing and Boating Access, the Horsley Witten Group and the Towns of Bourne, Brewster, Dennis, Falmouth, Harwich, Mashpee, Orleans and Yarmouth. This project builds on previous work to improve water quality across Cape Cod by reducing stormwater pollution at priority locations.

Barnstable – $27,000: Barnstable will complete final designs to replace an undersized culvert currently restricting tidal flow and impacting water quality in the Snows Creek estuary. This project complements other water quality improvement efforts by the Town and will restore tidal flow to the upstream salt pond, improving habitat for fish, birds and shellfish.

Boston Water and Sewer Commission – $800,000: The Commission will replace a stormwater treatment vault at Talbot Avenue and evaluate effectiveness of the newly installed system in partnership with the City of Boston, Northeastern University and UMass Amherst. The new vault will be equipped with a stormwater filtration system that will intercept nutrient pollution, improving water quality in Canterbury Brook, a tributary to the Charles River.

Fairhaven – $275,000: The Town will construct green stormwater infrastructure at Jerusalem Road to trap stormwater runoff and filter out nutrients and bacteria that are currently reaching Outer New Bedford Harbor. This project builds on assessment and design work completed by the Buzzards Bay Stormwater Collaborative to improve habitat and water quality and support shellfish harvest areas.

Kingston – $665,000: Kingston will construct stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) along Elm Street and develop a comprehensive habitat restoration plan for the Jones River estuary. This project builds on previous work funded by CZM to improve coastal habitat and water quality, expand shellfish harvest areas and reduce beach closures in the Jones River and Kingston Bay.

Melrose – $100,868: Melrose, in partnership with the Mystic River Watershed Association, will construct infiltrating street trenches, a type of green stormwater infrastructure that complements the existing stormwater system by intercepting and filtering a portion of runoff, reducing the nutrient levels and other contaminants. This project builds on a wider effort funded by CZM and others to install street trenches in communities across the Mystic River Watershed to improve water quality and habitat in the Malden and Mystic Rivers and inner Boston Harbor.

Quincy – $44,662: The City will conduct field and desktop-based assessments of the Rock Island Cove salt marsh complex to identify factors contributing to habitat degradation. This work, in addition to public outreach and stakeholder input, will inform the development of a comprehensive restoration plan for the area.

Yarmouth – $82,257: Yarmouth will complete a comprehensive stormwater assessment to identify and prioritize sites for remediation in partnership with the Association to Preserve Cape Cod. This project builds on efforts to improve coastal water quality by the Town with a goal to reduce beach closures and improve fish habitat.

The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) is the lead policy and planning agency on coastal and ocean issues within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Through planning, technical and grant assistance and public information programs, CZM seeks to balance the impacts of human activity with the protection of coastal and marine resources. The agency’s work includes helping coastal communities address the challenges of storms, sea level rise and other effects of climate change; working with state, regional and federal partners to balance current and new uses of ocean waters while protecting ocean habitats and promoting sustainable economic development; and partnering with communities and other organizations to protect and restore coastal water quality and habitats.