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Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program

1998 Wetland Grants Announcement

February 4, 2000

To: Buzzards Bay Watershed Conservation Commissions

From: Joseph E. Costa, Ph.D.

CC: Boards of Selectmen, Buzzards Bay Action Committee Representatives, area Lands Trusts

Re: Grant Fund award for wetlands protection

In accordance with a Cooperative Agreement with the US EPA, the Buzzards Bay NEP National Estuary Program (1) is providing each Buzzards Bay watershed town with at least $1,300 to assist in the protection of freshwater and saltwater wetlands. This is not a grant solicitation; funds will be made available to any Buzzards Bay watershed municipality interested in participating in this program.

Eligible towns include Fall River, Westport, Dartmouth, New Bedford, Acushnet, Fairhaven, Rochester, Mattapoisett, Marion, Wareham, Middleborough, Carver, Plymouth, Bourne, Falmouth, and Gosnold. However, specific wetland protection projects must be located principally within the Buzzards Bay watershed (see attached map).

Eligible uses of funds include:

1) Appraisals or professional land surveys of undeveloped parcels, where wetlands, wetland buffer zones, or endangered species habitats are a major feature, for the purpose of public land purchases for permanent conservation or conservation easements, or purchase by Lands Trust organizations.

2) Appraisals or professional land surveys on any parcels for the purpose of purchases or land conveyances relating to wetland habitat restoration, exclusive of projects required by wetland enforcement orders or relating to a wetlands violation under adjudicatory review.

3) Outright purchase of parcels where wetlands, wetland buffer zones, or endangered species habitat are a major feature, and the purchase price of the parcel is $2,000 per acre or less.

4) Purchase of Conservation Restrictions on parcels where wetlands, wetland buffer zones, or endangered species habitat are a major feature to permanently protect a parcel from development.

The Buzzards Bay NEP recognizes that this level of funding represents a modest contribution to local needs, however, the intent of this grant program is to enable towns to quickly proceed with either appraisals, professional surveys or conservation restriction purchases when it is not feasible to wait for Town Meeting funding.

If a municipality is interested in receiving these funds, a representative of the municipality must send a brief letter to the Buzzards Bay NEP by 4:00 P.M. Monday, March 6, 2000. Fax submissions (to 508-291-3628) are acceptable. A municipality need not identify the specific project to be funded, just that they wish to use the funds for the purposes provided. A municipal contact should be identified for contract administration. Municipalities are also encouraged to form partnerships with area Lands Trusts to identify local needs.

A total of $20,800 is available for this program. Funds will be evenly divided among interested municipalities. Because 16 towns are eligible, a minimum of $1,300 would be provided to every town. If less than 16 towns participate, individual awards will be larger than this amount.

Payments would be made using the following procedure: Municipalities would enter into a standard Terms and Condition Contract with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. The municipal Conservation Commission will be considered the lead agency, but where appropriate, Boards of Selectmen or Town Administrators will be the authorizing signatory on the contract. Contracts will run from March 15, 2000 to December 1, 2000. Contract funds are awarded on a reimbursement basis. For example, the town would initiate an appraisal and request a reimbursement for their expenditure from the Buzzards Bay NEP after the appraisal is complete. Payments are wired electronically to municipal accounts by the state Comptroller. Municipalities would only proceed with expenditures under their contract after the Buzzards Bay NEP has confirmed that the proposed expenditure meets the eligibility requirements of this award.

Please do not hesitate to call me at 508-291-3625 if you have any questions regarding this initiative.

1. The Buzzards Bay NEP is an advisory and planning unit of the Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management Office within the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs.