Climate change restoration projects awarded in 26 communities

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$4 million awarded to communities for support on climate change causes

By John Phelan – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9563201

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Baker-Polito administration announced Wednesday that the Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) has awarded $4 million in grants through two grant programs.

The grants were awarded with the intention to strengthen community preparedness for large storms, improve climate-ready infrastructure, protect fisheries, wildlife, and river habitats, and restore floodplain habitat and flood storage capabilities. DER awarded $2.57 million to 26 municipalities through the Culvert Replacement Municipal Assistance Grants Program, supporting culvert replacement projects that improve river health and municipal roads in communities across the state. 

  • Agawam – $61,643 – The Town of Agawam will conduct field data collection and analyses as well as preliminary engineering tasks for a culvert replacement on May Hollow Brook, a cold water fisheries stream. As part of a Massachusetts Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Action Grant, a Stormwater Master Plan identified this culvert as the highest priority for replacement. Upgrading this severely deteriorated culvert will improve stream and wildlife habitat connectivity and improve public safety by reducing the risk of failure and protecting critical utility infrastructure.
  • Attleboro – $49,270- The City of Attleboro will conduct final engineering and permitting for a culvert replacement on Chartley Brook. Upgrading the culvert will improve public safety by reducing the risk of failure in storm events and will improve passage for native fish and wildlife.  
  • Becket – $75,165 – The Town of Becket will conduct final engineering and permitting for a culvert replacement located on Center Pond Brook. Upgrading this perched and undersized culvert will enhance public safety and resiliency and restore wildlife connectivity.
  • Belchertown – $92,000 – The Town of Belchertown will conduct field data collection as well as design and engineering for a culvert replacement project located on Hop Brook. As part of a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Action Grant, a town-wide road-stream crossing assessment identified this culvert as a top priority for replacement.  Upgrading this culvert will provide a more resilient structure that can better accommodate future climate conditions and precipitation events.
  • Buckland – $88,700 – The Town of Buckland will conduct field data collection and analysis, design and engineering, and permitting for the replacement of a culvert on Taylor Brook. Upgrading this failing culvert will eliminate the risk of collapse and slope failure, protecting critical infrastructure on this vital access route and improving wildlife passage.  
  • Colrain – $95,500 – The Town of Colrain will conduct field data collection and analysis, design and engineering, and permitting for the replacement of a culvert on a tributary to Taylor Brook. Upgrading this failing and undersized culvert will protect infrastructure and improve storm resiliency and passage for wildlife.  
  • Cummington – $88,282 – The Town of Cummington will complete final engineering and permitting tasks for the culvert replacement on the North Branch of the Swift River. Upgrading the culvert will enhance public safety, resiliency, and ecological conditions and maintain economic connectivity. The North Branch of the Swift River is a tributary to the Wild & Scenic Westfield River, a coldwater stream that provides critical habitat for fish. 
  • Dartmouth – $37,185 – The Town of Dartmouth will conduct field data collection and analysis for a culvert replacement on a tributary to the Slocums River. Upgrading this culvert will reduce maintenance costs, increase climate resiliency, and improve wildlife connectivity between upstream resources and the Dartmoor Wildlife Management Area.
  • East Bridgewater – $27,985 – The Town of East Bridgewater will conduct final engineering and permitting for the replacement of a culvert on the Satucket River. Upgrading this deteriorating culvert will provide increased resilience and maintain essential public utilities, as well as provide suitable passage for anadromous fish.
  • Essex – $83,500 – The Town of Essex will conduct final engineering and permitting for the replacement of a culvert on a tributary to the Essex River. This is a particularly important access route during coastal flooding events. Upgrading this culvert will improve public safety and fish and wildlife passage.   
  • Gardner – $123,400 – The Town of Gardnerwill conduct field data collection as well as design and engineering for a culvert replacement on Wilder Brook. This culvert was identified as a Top Priority Hazard in Gardner’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Plan. Upgrading this culvert will create connectivity for aquatic habitat while providing public safety and increased resiliency.
  • Hadley – $67,682 – The Town of Hadley will conduct field data collection as well as design and engineering for a culvert replacement on a tributary to the Fort River. Replacement of this failed structure will reduce the town’s maintenance costs, eliminate further slope erosion, and improve fish and wildlife passage.
  • Hampden – $34,040 – The Town of Hampden will conduct field data collection and analysis as well as preliminary engineering for the replacement of a bridge on East Brook. Hampden’s Hazard Mitigation Plan identifies the replacement of this bridge with a flood resilient structure as a top priority. This project will help protect important infrastructure and improve access for emergency and medical services.
  • Heath – $100,000 – The Town of Heath will conduct field data collection as well as design and engineering for a culvert replacement on Avery Brook. Upgrading this culvert will improve infrastructure and storm resilience, reduce maintenance costs, and improve passage for fish and wildlife.
  • Leyden – $395,000 – The Town of Leyden will replace a severely undersized culvert on Glen Brook with a bridge. The culvert currently runs under Coates Road, which is the sole access route for residential dwellings in this area, and the new bridge will improve resiliency, safety, and ecological conditions. 
  • Merrimac – $26,028 – The Town of Merrimac will conduct final engineering and permitting for the replacement of a culvert on Cobbler Brook. Replacement of this culvert will improve public safety by providing a more resilient structure. Cobbler Brook is identified as a coldwater fishery and recognized as an important wildlife corridor in the Merrimac Open Space Plan.
  • Middlefield – $70,000 – The Town of Middlefield will conduct field data collection, analysis and design, and engineering for a culvert replacement on Glendale Brook. The upper reaches of Glendale Brook are some of the most pristine coldwater fisheries in the Commonwealth. Upgrading this culvert will allow coldwater species to access critical coldwater streams, which is particularly important as the climate warms and stream temperatures increase.
  • Montague – $25,000 – The Town of Montague will complete field data collection and analysis for the culvert replacement on a tributary to the Sawmill River. Upgrading this perched and undersized culvert will benefit public safety and resiliency by improving the local flooding conditions in this area as well as providing fish and wildlife passage. 
  • Orange – $25,000 – The Town of Orange will conduct field data collection and analysis for the replacement of a culvert on a tributary to the Swift River. The culvert runs under Fairman Road, which is the sole access route to several residential homes and businesses. Upgrading this undersized culvert will provide critical public safety benefits, a more resilient structure, and improve passage for aquatic species.
  • Pepperell – $373,000 – The Town of Pepperell will replace the failing Heald Street culvert on Sucker Brook, which will complement the Sucker Brook Restoration Priority Project that is focused downstream. Upgrading this culvert will protect infrastructure and improve passage for native brook trout, rare and endangered mussels, and other aquatic species.
  • Plymouth – $100,000 – The Town of Plymouth will conduct field data collection as well as design and engineering for a culvert replacement project on a tributary to Beaver Dam Brook. Replacing this deteriorating structure will eliminate public safety hazards and allow for the addition of sidewalk passage. This project complements DER’s restoration project at the adjacent Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary by improving river herring passage to Fresh Pond.
  • Southwick – $80,000 – The Town of Southwick will conduct field data collection and analysis, design and engineering, and permitting for the replacement of a culvert on Shurtleff Brook. This culvert replacement project will improve stream connectivity by providing wildlife passage, and improve resiliency against climate change with better management of flooding conditions.  
  • Topsfield – $367,000 – The Town of Topsfield will replace undersized culverts at the outlet of Hood Pond on a tributary to Pye Brook. The new culvert replacement structure will alleviate flooding conditions at this location while providing passage for fish species to spawning habitat in Hood Pond, which is also an important component of the Ipswich River Connectivity Project. 
  • Westborough – $57,500 – The Town of Westborough will conduct field data collection and analysis for multiple culverts at the Upton Road and Morse Street intersection on Jackstraw Brook. This waterway is identified as a Coldwater Fish Resource, Outstanding Resource Water, and one of the major streams that flow to the Cedar Swamp Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). Upgrading these culverts will improve ecological conditions by reconnecting fish and wildlife passage and will benefit the community by reducing flood risk and improving climate resiliency.
  • Whately – $57,120 – The Town of Whatley will conduct field data collection and analysis as well as design and engineering for the replacement of a culvert on Great Swamp Brook. Upgrading the culvert will improve infrastructure resilience for a nearby retail area and improve ecological conditions. This culvert has been identified as a top 10% Coldwater Stream Crossing for replacement by the Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool.
  • Windsor – $150,000 – The Town of Windsor will replace an undersized and deteriorated culvert on a tributary to the East Branch of the Westfield River, which provides some of the best coldwater fish communities in the Commonwealth. This project is part of a larger River Road paving project which includes the replacement of multiple culverts along the road. Upgrading this culvert will increase public safety, storm resiliency, and ecological benefits.

The Administration also announced the award of $1.252 million in state and federal grant funds will go to support six DER Priority Ecological Restoration Projects. Those projects will help local partners remove aging dams, rejuvenate historic wetlands, and restore floodplain habitat and flood storage. The announcement was made by Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides at Mass Audubon’s Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton.

In a statement on the grants, Governor Charlie Baker said: “The investment of these capital funds…is critical to the long-term resiliency of our transportation network and our natural environment.”

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