Grant for bacteria tracking in Chicopee River

BOSTON (MassDEP) – BOSTON – The Patrick Administration today awarded $198,546 in grants to four projects across the Commonwealth to conduct watershed pollution assessment and planning work to address water quality impairments in local water bodies.

The projects, selected each year by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), this year are located in Boston, Chicopee, Melrose and Stockbridge. The grants are funded by the federal Clean Water Act through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“One way to keep our communities safe and healthy is through a comprehensive watershed protection effort,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett. “These grants will help the communities assess and ultimately protect vital local watershed resources.”

“Communities collect watershed data to help them assess and manage these critical local resources, and we are pleased to be able to offer this support for their efforts,” said MassDEP Commissioner David W. Cash. “The testing of threatened water bodies is a key first step in our overall water resource protection efforts across the Commonwealth.”

Since January of 2008, the Patrick Administration has funded 39 projects under this program for more than $1.9 million. Overall, since 2008, MassDEP has issued 108 grants totaling more than $15.6 million to address non-point source pollution problems.

The term non-point source pollution refers to contaminants that are carried to a waterway as a result of precipitation and stormwater runoff from the land or infiltration into the soil. Common types of non-point source pollution include phosphorus and nitrogen from lawn and garden fertilizers, bacteria from pet waste and waterfowl, oil and grease from parking lots and roadways and sediment from construction activities and soil erosion.

The selected projects, and descriptions, are:

North Allston Sub-watershed Restoration Plan – $48,546           

City of Boston/Boston Redevelopment Authority

The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), in partnership with the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA), will develop a Restoration Plan for a sub-watershed in the North Allston neighborhood and integrate this plan with ongoing public realm improvement efforts and development projects in the area. The project team will identify a priority sub-watershed in North Allston, evaluate various Green Infrastructure design options in terms of feasibility and benefits, and develop a sub-watershed scale restoration plan that will enable the city to meet regulatory requirements at the least cost and with maximum environmental benefit.

Chicopee River Bacteria Source Tracking – $50,000                   

Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

The goal of this project is to identify the degree to which illicit connections and urban stormwater are contributing to bacteria impairments on the Chicopee River and associated tributaries. Pioneer Valley Planning Commission will work with watershed residents and municipal officials in Chicopee, Ludlow and Springfield toward development and implementation of a project to restore water quality. The project will complement ongoing work to eliminate combined sewer overflows and improve flow from hydropower operations. As the project proposes to organize and train a watershed team, this work will also help build capacity towards a revived watershed group for the Chicopee River.

Stormwater Mitigation: Ell Pond – $50,000                      

City of Melrose

The project will build upon the decades of work undertaken by the City of Melrose to improve water quality and hydraulic capacity of Ell Pond so that it can be rendered fishable and swimmable. Earlier work by the city has eliminated cross connections and mitigated flooding by increasing outlet capacity. The city will now address the stormwater system discharging into Ell Pond by identifying points in the system where Best Management Practices (BMP) could be installed. The 1,100-acre Ell Pond Watershed lies primarily in Melrose and includes some 85,000 linear feet of streets in five sub-watersheds. The city intends to address stormwater problems in each of the five sub-watersheds and implement BMPs as funding allows.

Stockbridge Bowl Watershed Assessment – $50,000                    

Town of Stockbridge

The Stockbridge Bowl Watershed Assessment Project will identify the major contributing sources of sediment and organic material to Stockbridge Bowl from the sub-watersheds of the lower, southern portion of the lake and the Lily Brook watershed, and will develop strategies to address these sources. The project will calculate sediment-loading, conduct detailed field reconnaissance, and develop conceptual Best Management Practice (BMP) designs for two or three high-priority sites. Controlling sediment inputs will aid in the overall goal of reducing the prolific growth of exotic aquatic weeds. 

To find out more information about grants and financial assistance related to water quality and watersheds:

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

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