Restore America’s Estuaries Announces Grants for Coastal Conservation and Restoration

October 11, 2019
Restore America’s Estuaries
East Falmouth, Massachusetts 

For Immediate Release

Contact: Thomas Ardito
401-675-3109 |

Download a PDF of this press release »

With the support of Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed, Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are awarding $2.3 million in new funding to local organizations working for clean water and healthy coastal ecosystems in Southeast New England. On Oct. 11, elected officials and agency representatives will honor six Massachusetts organizations that, collectively, will receive $1.2 million for programs and projects that benefit the Commonwealth’s communities while restoring our environment.

The announcement event is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. at Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in East Falmouth, MA. It will begin with a speaking program featuring U.S. Congressman Bill Keating and other federal and state officials (directions and agenda attached).

The funding is provided under the 2019 Southeast New England Program (SNEP) Watershed Grants, a collaboration between RAE and EPA Region 1. The grant program builds and supports partnerships that tackle the region’s most pressing environmental issues, such as nutrient pollution and coastal habitat loss.

For 2019, RAE selected 13 grant recipients in Rhode Island and Massachusetts through a rigorous competitive process. The awardees include municipalities, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions, each of which is leading an innovative, high-impact project of regional importance. The $2.3 million in federal funds for the region will be matched by an additional $800,000 in state and local dollars – providing, in total, more than $3.1 million to protect and restore Southeast New England’s environment.

In Massachusetts, the 2019 SNEP Watershed Grants are providing $1.2 million to six local partnerships led by the following organizations:

  • Association to Preserve Cape Cod: $245,000 for the Three Bays Stormwater Project, supporting the design and installation of stormwater management practices to restore clean water to three estuaries in Barnstable. This grant continues funding provided to APCC by SNEP Watershed Grants in 2018.
  • Buzzards Bay Coalition: $223,533 for Promoting Salt Marsh Resilience, supporting research to better understand causes and trends of marsh loss on Buzzards Bay, as well as pilot-scale restoration activities to preserve threatened marshes.
  • Falmouth Rod & Gun Club: $245,000 for Upper Childs River & Bog Restoration, an innovative project to restore natural wetlands and trout habitat in three abandoned cranberry bogs in Falmouth. This grant continues funding provided to FRGC by SNEP Watershed Grants in 2018.
  • Mass. Maritime Academy: $176,581 for Buzzards Bay Stormwater Collaborative, a new and important partnership between MMA and eight Buzzards Bay municipalities. Students will support communities in stormwater compliance, integrated with a new MMA curriculum.
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: $298,598 for Permeable Reactive Barriers – research and testing of an innovative technology to reduce nitrogen pollution by intercepting groundwater as it flows into coastal waters.
  • Buzzards Bay Coalition: $27,695 for Prevent Nutrient Pollution from Composting, which will assist communities in reducing nutrient pollution to coastal waters from new composting facilities recently required by Massachusetts law.

The program is funding an additional $1.1 million in projects in Rhode, which were announced at an event in Providence, RI on Sept. 23.

“New England is defined by the bays, estuaries, and natural wetlands that make our region such a special place,” said Senator Edward J. Markey. “Here on Cape Cod, we know firsthand how vital clean water and healthy coastal ecosystems are to our economy, our regional identity, and our very lives. As we continue to tackle the evolving climate crisis, funding programs like SNEP remains essential to ensuring the health and safety of our local habitats. I offer my heartfelt congratulations to this year’s 2019 SNEP Watershed Grant awardees and look forward to the incredible work you will continue to do.”

“Senator Markey, Senator Reed, Congressman Keating and I have been working together for years now to make sure that Massachusetts and Rhode Island conservation organizations have the resources they need to protect Southern New England watersheds,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren. “We’ll keep fighting to increase the availability of these grants – because if we want to have clean water and a healthy ocean, we need to make big investments in conservation.”

“Over its lifetime, SNEP has provided funding for innovative solutions to deal with one of the most pressing issues facing the Cape Cod Community – water quality,” said Congressman Bill Keating. “It has been among my proudest accomplishments to lead the effort in the US House to fund these grants, which have brought federal dollars back to communities across our region to promote novel solutions to water quality issues. Not only do these projects help to improve water quality in the short term, but the lessons learned from so many SNEP projects have helped to inform public decision-making for ongoing and prospective projects.”

“The bays, estuaries, and landscapes of Southeast coastal New England are the heart of our communities. Funding these projects and working with RAE to develop opportunities for collaboration and smart innovation continues to be a priority for EPA,“ said EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel. “Today’s funding will help protect clean water and build healthy watersheds vital to the ecological resiliency and economic vitality of our coastal communities.”

“Only through strong partnerships among state, federal and local organizations can we ensure the preservation and restoration of Massachusetts’ fisheries and wildlife resources, and the habitats on which they depend,” said Mass. Dept. of Fish and Game Commissioner Ron Amidon. “The Department works with SNEP Watershed Grants to support local efforts to restore critical coastal habitats, like the Childs River Restoration Project in Falmouth, an innovative project to return abandoned cranberry bogs to natural river and wetland habitat.”

Managing nutrient and bacteria pollution to Buzzards Bay is a major challenge for municipalities and the state,” said Joe Costa, Executive Director of the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program at the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management. “SNEP provides vital funding to address this problem, while helping to create partnerships and collaborations that can also address broader goals.”

“The Cape Cod Commission is pleased that so many of our partners will be receiving funding,” said Kristy Senatori, Executive Director of the Cape Cod Commission. “There is a critical need to fund water quality plans and projects in our region, and a collaborative approach is key to the success of the 208 Plan for clean water on Cape Cod.”

“Our nation’s coasts and estuaries are the first line of defense against climate change impacts, and investments like this program are critical to helping these special places in Rhode Island remain healthy and resilient, protecting both people and property,” said Jeff Benoit, President of Restore America’s Estuaries.

By funding locally based partnerships that are working to reduce pollution and restore coastal habitats, the SNEP Watershed Grants program is helping to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for Southeast New England communities. For more about SNEP Watershed Grants, see

Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) is a national nonprofit organization established in 1995. RAE leads a national alliance of ten coastal conservation organizations across the country dedicated to the protection and restoration of bays and estuaries as essential resources for our nation.