BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP)– The state has awarded grants to four water protection coalitions in Massachusetts, including a group in Berkshire county.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Water Quality Monitoring Grant Program provides funding that supports water quality testing in rivers, lakes and ponds, and coastal resources statewide. The data collected will help with meeting the federal Clean Water Act requirements.

Non-profit organizations, including watershed groups, lake and pond associations and federally recognized Tribal Nations within the state with expertise for conducting surface water quality monitoring projects are eligible to apply for the grant funding.

“MassDEP regularly collects high-quality data to assess the health of our surface waters across the Commonwealth, and these grants help to increase and supplement that important data set,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “Regional watershed coalitions and non-profit groups have been conducting great field work for many years, and these grants will continue to support and enhance their monitoring efforts through the purchase of critical sampling equipment and supplies.”

The grant recipients and project awards include:

The Ipswich River Watershed Association, in partnership with the Parker River Clean Water Association, and the Chebacco Lake Watershed Association. Funding Amount: $38,306 Summary: This grant will allow the coalition to collect data on chloride, nutrients, chlorophyll-a, and bacteria and perform continuous dissolved oxygen and temperature monitoring in the Parker, Ipswich and Essex rivers watersheds, and help purchase equipment and supplies to support staff activities for monitoring, training and analysis.

The North and South Rivers Watershed Association, in partnership with the Charles River Watershed Association, the Center for Student Coastal Research, Mystic River Watershed Association, Nashua River Watershed Association, Neponset River Watershed Association, and OARS, for the Assabet, Sudbury and Concord Rivers. Funding Amount: $51,960 Summary: This grant will be used to expand the coalition’s capacity for continuous monitoring of conductivity to evaluate chloride in streams and rivers and to support existing monitoring for bacteria in waterbodies in eastern Massachusetts. The funds will help purchase equipment and supplies for monitoring and staff activities to support monitoring, analysis and other collaborative activities in watersheds throughout the Greater Boston area.

The Housatonic Valley Association, in partnership with the Berkshire Environmental Action Team, and the Hoosic River Watershed Association. Funding Amount: $43,625 Summary: This grant will allow the coalition to monitor for conductivity, temperature, and bacteria in the Housatonic and Hoosic watersheds in Berkshire County and develop an interactive map for data presentation to the public. It will help purchase equipment and supplies to support staff monitoring, training, and analysis activities.

The Buzzards Bay Coalition, in partnership with the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, Aquinnah, and Tisbury Waterways, Inc. Funding Amount: $16,109 Summary: This partial grant will be used to continue existing monitoring activities and to build new capacity to collect high resolution water quality data in Buzzards Bay, and the Cape Cod and Islands watersheds. It will involve the purchase of equipment and supplies to support long-term monitoring, train volunteers, perform laboratory analysis and manage data.

For more information on MassDEP’s watershed monitoring and assessment programs, go to the Watershed Planning Program webpage.