Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management announces grants to help coastal communities combat water pollution

Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles today announced $345,000 in grants available to help coastal communities improve coastal water quality by limiting polluted runoff from roads and upgrading boat waste “pumpout” facilities.

The grants will further Governor Patrick’s commitment to protect the Commonwealth’s coast from pollution, Secretary Bowles said today.

“I am pleased to announce the next round of grants designed to protect the Massachusetts coastline, which is a haven for residents and tourists,” said Secretary Bowles. “These grants will help coastal communities keep our tidal rivers, harbors, and beaches clean for fishermen, families and boaters for decades to come.”

Under the Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Program of EEA’s Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), municipalities located within the Massachusetts coastal watershed are eligible for grant support. Municipalities may request up to $125,000, with a 25 percent local match required. Since 1996, the program has provided more than $5.5 million in grants to help communities improve water quality. Funding for this round of grants comes from the Energy and Environment Bond Bill signed by Governor Patrick in August.

“These funds help seaside communities keep the coastal waters safe for recreation and fishing by combating water pollution caused by boat waste, stormwater runoff, and other sources,” said Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Coastal Zone Management Deerin Babb-Brott.

Grants may be used to reduce stormwater pollution and for the design, installation and upgrade of boat waste pumpout facilities, which are prerequisites for communities to apply for No Discharge Area (NDA) designation. NDAs are areas where the discharge of boat sewage, whether treated or not, is prohibited.

Massachusetts has 12 NDAs, including the coastal waters of Plymouth, Kingston, Duxbury, and Harwich; Buzzards Bay; Waquoit Bay in Falmouth; Three Bays/Centerville Harbor in Barnstable; Chatham’s Stage Harbor; and the coastal waters of Nantucket from Muskeget Island to Great Point. A body of water can be designated an NDA if local, state, and federal authorities determine the area is ecologically and recreationally important enough to merit protection above and beyond that provided by state and federal laws.

The most recent NDA designations – made in 2008 – are Cape Cod Bay, Boston Harbor, Salem Sound, the Lower North Shore, and the Upper South Shore. CZM is currently working with communities and other partners to plan NDAs in Nantucket Sound, Mt. Hope Bay and the Upper North Shore, with the ultimate goal of making all Massachusetts coastal waters an NDA.

Municipalities can use grants for the design and construction of stormwater management projects along roadways, parking lots or other paved surfaces. Stormwater contamination is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground, picking up pollutants and depositing them into coastal waters, rivers, wetlands and groundwater.

Funded projects enhance recreational beaches, habitat for river herring, local shellfish beds, and the overall health of coastal ecosystems.

The towns of Cohasset, Provincetown, Duxbury, Dennis, Brewster, Weymouth, and Bourne received grants in FY 2008.

Applications are due on January 9, 2009. All projects must be completed by June 30, 2009. For more information and to obtain an application.

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