BostonThe Baker-Polito Administration today announced $500,000 in grants to support local efforts to address polluted stormwater runoff to protect coastal water quality and habitat. The grants, provided by the Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), were awarded to the towns of Arlington, Barnstable, Kingston and Milton, and the City of Salem.

“Through these Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grants, the Commonwealth directly helps local communities protect coastal waters by treating stormwater runoff at the source,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Coastal water quality can be impacted by everyday occurrences such as rain, lawn pesticides and storm drains, so it is critical that we work with municipalities to protect these important natural resources.”

“Effectively treating stormwater pollution requires local action,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “These grant awards are part of our Administration’s commitment to supporting community efforts to protect coastal habitats and improve water quality for swimming and fishing.”

The Coastal Pollutant Remediation (CPR) Grant Program seeks to improve water quality and protect coastal habitats by reducing or eliminating nonpoint sources of pollution, the leading cause of water quality impairment in the nation. This type of pollution primarily occurs when contaminants are picked up by rain, snow melt and other flowing water and carried over land, in groundwater or through drainage systems to the nearest body of water and ultimately out to sea. Nonpoint source pollution reduces water quality, negatively impacts habitat for coastal wildlife and reduces opportunities to harvest shellfish and swim due to mandated closures.

“From building specialized stormwater-treatment trenches to developing informational videos on proper operation and maintenance of stormwater green infrastructure, this round of Coastal Pollutant Grant recipients are making a real difference for coastal water quality,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “These projects offer tremendous examples of state-local partnerships that generate on-the-ground results.”

“Year after year, the communities in the coastal watershed demonstrate their commitment to coastal water quality and marine habitats,” said CZM Director Lisa Berry Engler. “Since 1996, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management has been awarding these grants and working with communities to design and implement proven strategies to treat stormwater pollution, and we thank this year’s grant recipients for continuing this important work.”

The following five projects have been funded through this year’s grants:

Arlington - $184,774: The Town of Arlington, in partnership with the Town of Lexington and the Mystic River Watershed Association, will construct multiple infiltration trenches to treat stormwater runoff entering the Mystic River Watershed. The Mystic River has one of the largest herring runs in Massachusetts and this project will expand on a multiple year effort to improve water quality in the watershed.

Barnstable - $173,255: The Town of Barnstable, in partnership with the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, will construct stormwater green infrastructure to treat runoff at South County Road through a nature-based approach. This project builds on a multi-year effort by the Town to improve water quality within the Three Bays watershed, with a goal to improve water quality for coastal habitat, swimming and shellfishing.

Kingston - $73,000: The Town of Kingston will finalize the design of a system to treat nutrients and pathogens in stormwater runoff. This project continues Kingston’s long-term work to treat bacterial pollution to help expand opportunities for shellfish harvesting in the Jones River and Kingston Bay.

Milton - $23,870: The Town of Milton will finalize the design of stormwater infrastructure to treat nutrients and bacteria from road runoff. The goal of the project is to help improve water quality in Unquity Brook, an important habitat for Rainbow Smelt.

Salem - $45,100: The City of Salem, in partnership with Salem Sound Coastwatch, will develop a series of videos that demonstrate operation and maintenance of stormwater green infrastructure, such as rain gardens. The videos will be shared widely and be designed to be transferable to other communities to help build green infrastructure capacity across the Commonwealth.

"The Town of Barnstable and the Association to Preserve Cape Cod are ready to roll up their sleeves and continue the necessary work of preserving our environment and our shoreline for future generations of visitors," said State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). "We are grateful to our state partners at the Office of Coastal Zone Management for recognizing our years of work on this issue and putting forth resources to help us see it through."

“I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration as well as Secretary Theoharides for this grant to improve water quality in the Town of Barnstable,” said State Representative Tim Whelan (R-Brewster). “This is a tremendous partnership between the Town and the Commonwealth that will greatly improve recreational opportunities for residents and visitors while protecting natural habitats.”

“The Three Bays watershed in Barnstable has been a focus for a number of years in the town’s effort to improve its coastal water quality,” said State Representative Randy Hunt (R-Sandwich). This project moves the ball forward by utilizing natural technologies to create a permanent reduction in harmful runoff.”

“I am very grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration as well as the Office of Coastal Zone Management for this grant which will continue the efforts by the Town of Barnstable to treat storm water runoff in a critical Three Bays embayment and it’s recreational and shell fishing activities,” said State Representative Will Crocker (R-Centerville).

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.

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