State awards grants for water protection and habitat restoration projects

Grants from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) have been awarded to 15 projects across the state.

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Grants from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) totaling $506,344 have been awarded to 15 projects across the state.

The projects include restoring aquatic habitat, rivers and watersheds, monitoring water quality, protecting endangered species, and promoting environmental stewardship.  

The MET has awarded more than $20-million in grants since its founding in 1988 to organizations that protect and enhance the state’s water resources, from supporting water projects in communities to protecting coastal habitats. Funding for this grant program comes from the sale of the state’s three environmentally-themed specialty license plates: the Right Whale Tail, the Leaping Brook Trout and the Blackstone Valley Mill.

Below is a list of local projects receiving funding in this round of awards:

Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (Statewide) – $35,000 was awarded to research, write, and publish the Massachusetts Wetlands Buffer Zones Guidebook, a resource on regulating activities in the buffer zones of wetlands and other water resources that will provide model wetland bylaws, ordinances, regulations, and policies that municipalities and conservation commissions can adopt and adapt for buffer zones. The project fills a gap in protecting wetlands and water resources, as there is no definitive source for regulating work in areas that buffer wetlands and other water resources.

Connecticut River Watershed Council (Greenfield) – $40,500 was awarded to a second year of a 3-year project to launch and sustain freshwater mussel restoration in the Connecticut River Watershed, with emphasis on the endangered brook floater mussel.

Trout Unlimited, Inc. (Chester & Worthington) – $38,600 was awarded  to remove two impassable instream barriers and reopen access to over 30 miles of interconnected coldwater habitat on Kinne Brook, a tributary to the Middle Branch of the Westfield River.

UMass Amherst – $94,375 was awarded to develop a water isotope mapping tool for fingerprinting sources and understanding drought impacts.  The data will be incorporated into a public domain for assisting water managers and watershed stakeholders in assessing the sustainability of freshwater recourses.