The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment (GOMC) and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service announced in August that seven new projects in the Gulf of Maine will receive support from the GOMC-NOAA Community-Based Habitat Restoration Partnership.
Projects in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire will receive technical assistance and grant funding totaling $336,800. Projects receiving grants from the GOMC-NOAA Partnership seek to reverse impacts to salt marshes, rivers, streams, shellfish beds, eelgrass, and other key features of ecological, economic and cultural importance in the Gulf of Maine ecosystem.
Dock at Vinalhaven, Maine. Credit: Nancy Griffin
The projects are selected to offer long-term ecological benefits and promote effective restoration at the community level. Many projects provide added value by assisting with replacement or removal of deteriorating structures like road culverts or dams that are a liability to public safety and represent a financial burden to their owners.
The mission of GOMC is to maintain and enhance environmental quality in the Gulf of Maine to allow for sustainable resource use by present and future generations. Since its establishment in 2002, the GOMC-NOAA Habitat Restoration Partnership has helped support 110 projects with over $3.5 million in restoration funding.
Together, these projects re-opened access to 163 miles of rivers and streams for fish like river herring, Atlantic salmon and American eel. In addition, Partnership projects re-established alewife access to over 2,700 acres of alewife spawning habitat and rehabilitated over 650 salt marsh acres. The economic impact of GOMC-NOAA Partnership projects is also noteworthy, because each must provide matching financial support that is equal to, or exceeds the Partnership award amount. Likewise, the engineering and construction needs of projects means that Partnership funding helps support jobs in each project’s home state or province. For more information on the GOMC-NOAA Habitat Restoration Grants Program and the Partnership’s Habitat Restoration Strategy, visit http://www.gulfofmaine.org/habitatrestoration.
The following projects have been awarded funding through the 2012 GOMC-NOAA Habitat Restoration Grants Program Request for Proposals:
Flanders Stream Fish Passage Construction, Sullivan
This project will support replacement of an undersized and failing town culvert and a deteriorating concrete fishway, both of which hinder alewife passage necessary to support a commercial fishery. This construction project will enhance the road crossing’s ability to accommodate storm flows and improve alewife access to upstream spawning grounds in Flanders Pond. GOMC-NOAA Partnership Award: $75,000.
Boston Harbor. Credit: Nancy Griffin
Orland River Dam Feasibility Study, Orland
Alternatives for enhancing alewife passage will be developed for this deteriorating, head of tide dam. At present, the dam is occasionally overtopped by incoming tides, indicating that the dam’s design has not accommodated environmental changes associated with ongoing sea level rise. Fish passage, health and safety to residents, recreation and aesthetics are among the project elements that will enable the town to make an informed decision as to the future of the dam. GOMC-NOAA Partnership Award: $30,000.
Design Study for Sewall Pond Outlet Road Crossing, Arrowsic
The engineering design provided by this project is necessary for the replacement of an undersized and deteriorating culvert crossing that hinders alewife and wildlife passage under the state road into Sewall Pond. The stream leading into the Pond was once the site of a commercial alewife harvest and local proponents are working diligently to monitor and improve the run. GOMC-NOAA Partnership Award: $23,000.
Back Narrows Tidal Wetland Restoration Design
This project will result in engineering plans for the removal of a stone dam and replacement of an aging town road crossing that also acts like a dam and floods upstream property. The subsequent construction phase of the project is anticipated to restore tidal exchange to the head of tide. GOMC-NOAA Partnership Award: $8,800.
Town Brook Dam Removal, Plymouth
Removal of the Off Billington Street Dam will improve water quality, remove contaminated sediment and provide unimpeded passage for alewife, blueback herring, American eel and resident freshwater species. This project is part of a larger, comprehensive effort to restore sea-run fish to the Town Brook drainage. GOMC-NOAA Partnership Award: $100,000.
The harbor at East Gloucester, Massachusetts. Credit: Nancy Griffin
Hunters Pond Dam Removal Feasibility and Design Study, Scituate
This feasibility study and preliminary engineering design will support restoration of Bound Brook through the anticipated removal of the deteriorating Hunters Pond dam. In addition to addressing public safety risks and the financial burdens associated with this head-of-tide dam, removal of the structure will re-establish sea-run species like blueback herring, alewife, American eel and other fish to their historic upstream drainage. GOMC-NOAA Partnership Award: $40,000.
Sawyer Mill Dams Removal Design, Dover
This project supports development of final engineering plans and specifications, detailed construction cost estimates and regulatory needs for the removal of the two lowermost dams on the Bellamy River. The subsequent construction phase will re-establish access to sea-run fish species like blueback herring, alewife and American eel. GOMC-NOAA Partnership Award: $60,000.