2015 Summer Municipal Grants

Grant Announcement: $147,000 in federal funds awarded to four towns in the Buzzards Bay Watershed

BOSTON – October 1, 2015 – Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton today announced $147,000 in federal grant money to help towns in the Buzzards Bay watershed protect important habitat and drinking water resources. The grants are being matched by $87,225 in municipal and private contributions. The focus of the grant program was to help permanently protect or restore wetlands or upland open space for the purposes of habitat protection, wildlife protection, water quality protection, conservation, and passive recreation purposes.

These grants are being awarded by the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program through the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management with funding from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

The Town of Mattapoisett will receive $45,000, to acquire and permanently protect a 25.8-acre property in the Mattapoisett River Valley known as Tinkham Bog Woods. The property is being protected due to its key location near the Mattapoisett River, the fact that it abuts other water department lands, and that it is very near to an existing drinking water supply well site. In addition, acquiring this property will also protect valuable wetlands, buffer areas, and critical habitat areas for rare species. The town is collaborating with the Buzzards Bay Coalition on this project.

The Town of Wareham will receive $45,000, with which it and its partner the Buzzards Bay Coalition, will acquire and permanently protect 51 acres of highly developable forestland in the Town of Wareham, west of Fearing Hill. The project will benefit wildlife habitat, wetlands, and water resources, expand trail-based recreational opportunities that connect to the Weweantic River, and add to a large contiguous area of existing protected land. The targeted property abuts 115 acres of land owned by the town’s conservation commission. In addition, the property is home to the state listed Eastern box turtle. The Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, working with the town, has identified this property as an ideal location for the use of mitigation funds received from Walmart related to the construction nearby.

The Town of Mattapoisett will receive $5,000 to perform a real estate appraisal on a 143-acre property in the Mattapoisett River aquifer. The vast majority of the property is located directly over the aquifer serving the public drinking water supply for four surrounding towns. The property also contains important wetlands, as well as critical habitat for rare species. The town will use the real estate appraisal, and with its partner, the Buzzards Bay Coalition, will work with the landowner to permanently protect the property. The town seeks to acquire this property because of its key location near the Mattapoisett River, it abuts other protected lands, and the property is near municipal drinking water supply wells.

The Town of Rochester will receive $42,000 for the Haskell Woods Land Preservation Project. Working in partnership with the Rochester Land Trust (RLT), the town will purchase and permanently protect an 11.5-acre property that will serve as a critical link to existing trails located on adjacent RLT and town-owned lands. The existing trails system crosses over a portion of a privately owned property. The town and land trust will purchase an 11.5-acre portion of the private property to secure this trail system and to protect its natural resource values. The property contains wooded upland, bordering vegetated wetland, flood plain, over 800 linear feet of frontage on a perennial stream, and habitat for Eastern box turtles.

The Town of Dartmouth will receive $10,000, which, with its partners the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust and the Buzzards Bay Coalition, will conduct a site survey, prepare a plan, and complete an appraisal on a 107-acre property owned by the Paskamansett Beagle Club (PBC) in the Town of Dartmouth. The town and its partners will use this information to develop a land protection strategy with the landowner. The property contains critical habitat for rare species and is home to an Atlantic white cedar swamp and extensive wetlands. The town considers this property important to protect because it is a “keystone” property that would connect extensive existing protected lands that total more than 600 acres.

The Office of Coastal Zone Management is EEA’s lead policy and planning agency on coastal and ocean issues. Created in 1985, the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program provides grants and technical assistance to South Coast and Cape Cod communities to protect and restore water quality and natural resources in Buzzards Bay and its surrounding watershed and is one of 28 similar national programs.

Background: July 2015 Buzzards Bay Municipal Minigrants

Grant Program: Buzzards Bay Municipal Minigrants for Wetland and habitat Restoration and Protection
Funding Area: Wetland and habitat restoration and protection
Entity: Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program/MCZM
Eligibility: Municipalities
Geographic Extent: Buzzards Bay Watershed
Funding Available: $154,000
Match Required: 33% of requested funds
Award Limits (per proposal/per entity): $45,000/$50,000
RFR Release Date: July 13, 2015
Application Deadline: August 31, 2015, 4:00 PM
Application and information:Details and RFP posted at CommBuys. You can also download the RFP at this link.

Funds may be used for a variety of purposes that meet program goals, including, but not limited to:

  • Appraisals, site evaluations, or professional land surveys on parcels that are expected to be available for public land purchases, permanent conservation restrictions or easements, or purchase by land trust organizations.
  • Outright purchase of conservation land. Cost effectiveness for this category will be based on cost per acre as defined in the scoring criteria.
  • Municipal acquisition of conservation restrictions to permanently protect a parcel from development.
  • Startup or seed money for restoration of wetlands (including surface water quality), including survey, assessment, and development of designs.
  • Improved tidal flushing of bays and salt marshes to restore tidally restricted salt marshes (see the Atlas of Tidally Restricted Salt Marshes in the Buzzards Bay Watershed), or achieve other improvements in water quality and benthic or other habitat.
  • Removal of fill or other alterations to inland and coastal wetlands. Municipalities are encouraged to review the Selected Inventory of Potential Wetland Restoration Sites in the Buzzards Bay Watershed. Phases I and II at filled wetland atlas page.
  • Projects to detect and monitor non-native invasive species.

Generally, there are no other limitations on the use of funds, other than as defined in the Solicitation. Refer to the Solicitation for additional details.

Questions Received and Responses to the July 2015 Municipal Grant Round

The Regional Planner Sarah Williams will accept questions about this Solicitation in writing by mail, fax, or email through 4 PM, Friday, August 14, 2015. The Buzzards Bay NEP will post responses to questions (including those received at the site visit), if any, on this website by Wednesday, August 19, 2015, as well as on www.CommBuys.com. These answers are for clarification purposes only and do not constitute an amendment to the Solicitation unless expressly stated as such.

Questions received (which may be paraphrased), and answers to those questions.

These responses should be considered tentative, and for informational purposes, and will not be finalized until the Question period ends.

Question 1: We have already spent some funds to obtain engineering plans. Is the amount spent on those plans eligible for including in our match requirements if they were spent after January 15, 2015?

Response to Question 1: If the funds you expended are directly related to the project and were made after January 1, 2015 you may count that as match.

Question 2: The town Conservation Agent will be responsible for procuring the required environmental permits. Can his time working on this project be identified as part of the town’s match?

Response to Question 2: Yes.

Question 3: The Cape Cod Conservation District (District) may help us apply for this grant and oversee some of the management of the project. They will also provide the town with some free time to apply for the grant and possibly some free time in managing the grant for the town. Is the value of any of this free time eligible as in-kind match? Is any of the money spent by the town in contracting with the District before (in providing application assistance) or after (for project management) eligible as town match if the grant contract is approved?

Response to Question 4: Municipalities are encouraged to collaborate with other organizations and the services provided by a partner may be counted toward the town’s match, whether the services were provided for free (in-kind match) or for a fee (cash match), so long as the services were provided after January 1, 2015.

Question 4: We cannot put our project out to bid until we know we have supplemental funds to make the project viable. Although we have a reasonable estimate on what it will cost, we will not know for sure until we receive feedback from bid solicitations. Therefore, we will need to hold back some of our funds (i.e., not provide all of them as match) to insure that we will not be short of funds after bids are received. We believe that we will still have enough match funds available without exceeding the $45K project limit. Is this permissible?

Response to Question 4: The $45,000 cap is the maximum amount of funding that can be requested for a single project. There is no limit on the total project cost. Grant recipients will only receive funding up to the amount requested, which should be a good faith estimate. Awards are made on a reimbursement basis, so if a project ultimately costs less than expected, unreimbursed grant funds are added to our next municipal grant round. All projects require a match that equals at least 33% of requested funds (cash, in-kind, or a combination of both). Applications that exceed the minimum match requirement may receive additional evaluation points. Consequently, the applicant is required to provide at least 100% of the match stated in their application by the close of the project.