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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 16, 2017

EPA Awards Buzzards Bay and Mass. Bay with Funding to Improve Water Quality

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded more than $1.2 million to protect and enhance the health of two Massachusetts estuaries.

The Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program received $632,000 and the MassBays Estuary Program $622,500 under the federal Clean Water Act. These estuaries are among six designated estuaries of national significance in New England, and among 28 across the nation awarded funds to put programs in place, focused on areas that include the estuaries and surrounding watersheds.

“Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay are extremely important to the regional economy and our quality of life,” said EPA’s Region 1 Acting Administrator Deb Szaro. “These funds will take steps to help ensure the habitats and water quality of the two watersheds are protected and restored.”

Both programs, based in the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management in the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, are part of EPA’s National Estuary Program to protect and restore the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of estuaries of national significance. Funds support efforts to protect and restore key habitats, and improve coastal watershed resilience, and restore water quality, including reducing the impacts of nutrient pollution; outreach and community education are also important components of NEP programs.

“Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay are critical estuarine resources and their protection is vital in the Commonwealth’s efforts to preserve and restore water quality and critical habitat,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The funding awarded through the National Estuary Program will allow the Baker-Polito Administration to continue collaborating with local and federal partners on protecting and enhancing natural resources within Buzzards Bay and Massachusetts Bay.”

The MassBays region is one of the largest estuaries in the country, covering more than 1,000 miles of coastline from the tip of Cape Cod Bay to the New Hampshire border and serving 50 coastal communities. To cover this area effectively, MassBays teams up with organizations in five coastal sub-regions: Upper North Shore, Lower North Shore, Metro Boston, South Shore, and Cape Cod.

Working with these partners, MassBays uses the federal funds to help find solutions to some of the area’s biggest problems and to improve habitat conditions and water quality. This year the program will focus on its monitoring program and on developing indicators that measure improvement, as well as completing a major revision of its Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan.

The watershed area around Buzzards Bay is 435 square miles, which includes portions of 21 cities and towns and about 250,000 residents. The bay has 350 miles of coastline and 13 miles of public beaches.

In 2016, the Buzzards Bay program worked with its partners to finalize a revised long-term Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan to address water quality and wildlife challenges.

The Buzzards Bay program works toward its goals together with communities and other stakeholders in the watershed – boards of health, conservation commissions, planning boards citizens and non-profits.

More information on EPA’s National Estuary Program: https://www.epa.gov/nep/overview-national-estuary-program

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