Wareham residents tour the Myers-Weweantic River land conservation project as part of the Father Bill’s & MainSpring housing for the homeless and those in need ribbon cutting event on June 19, 2017. Photo by Joe Costa.
In 2016, the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program awarded $35,000 to the Town of Wareham as part of their efforts to acquire and protect 8.7 acres of open space, wetlands, and riverfront property along the Weweantic River. This project, which came to fruition in 2017, was novel in that it was part of a more elaborate effort that combined open space and wetland protection, public access and recreation, and affordable housing into one project involving multiple granting agencies and local partners. The Buzzards Bay NEP helped fund the wetland and open space protection elements of the project, resulting in the acquisition and protection of most of the ten-plus acre property by the Wareham Conservation Commission. An existing apartment building (4 housing units) was acquired and renovated by Father Bill’s & MainSpring (FBMS) with funding provided by the Wareham Community Preservation Commission and MassHousing. The building will provide housing for the homeless, and others in need. The Buzzards Bay Coalition, Wareham Land Trust, and FBMS coordinated on various elements of project. Kudos to John Browning of the Wareham Land Trust, Brendan Annett and Allen Decker of the Buzzards Bay Coalition, and John Yazwinski of FBMS, for working with the property owner, advocating the project at town meeting, and preparing grant applications. Besides funding, the Buzzards Bay NEP provided technical assistance in the form of maps used in the grant applications to other grant programs.
Congressman Bill Keating and State Representative Susan Williams Gifford were among those speaking at the event. Read more about this story at the Wicked Local Wareham site .
The Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program has two grant solicitations open: one for our FY18 Municipal Mini-grant Program ($128,274 available), and the other to provide support for inter-municipal and regional water quality monitoring programs ($45,000 available).
The deadline for applications to both grant programs is Tuesday, August 1, 2017 by 4:00 PM.
Information about the grant programs and eligibility is posted at http://buzzardsbay.org/our-program/funding/.
The Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program is offering free laboratory testing to assist Buzzards Bay watershed municipal public works departments, boards of health, and natural resource departments monitor stormwater discharges suspected of contributing to water quality degradation of beaches, shellfish beds, and other resources in the Buzzards Bay watershed. To learn more, read this notice.
Crew removing a manhole cover to collect stormwater samples for testing.
Generally each spring, the Buzzards Bay NEP announces a request for proposals to our municipal minigrant program. The amount of funds released this year will depend on federal funding, which remains uncertain at this time. The last request for proposals we issued was in May 2016, and grants were announced in August 2016, when the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program awarded more than $210,000 to fund seven projects to help towns in the Buzzards Bay watershed meet the goals and objectives of BBNEP’s Buzzards Bay Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan. These grants were awarded to Acushnet, Fairhaven, Marion, Mattapoisett, Rochester, and Wareham. Funded projects included efforts to remove an obstruction to a fish passage, permanently protect several tracks of land that serve as important habitat for rare and protected species, and help protect drinking water sources. The Buzzards Bay NEP is administered by CZM and provides funding and technical assistance to municipalities and environmental groups in their ongoing efforts to protect and restore water quality and living resources. For more information on the last grant round, see this EEA Press Release.