Great, for divides: EPA grants to help Southern New England watersheds

The Jamestown-Verrazzano Bridge crosses Narragansett Bay, connecting North Kingstown and Jamestown. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

BOSTON (WPRI) — Aquidneck Island, Charlestown, and UMass-Dartmouth are among those benefiting from more than $4 million in grants from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), destined for programs throughout Southeastern New England to monitor, maintain and improve watersheds.

As water collects across the lands of Rhode Island and Massachusetts — from rain or melting snow and ice — it proceeds down watersheds, or drainage basins, that include the Narragansett Bay Watershed, coastal watersheds in Charlestown, in Buzzards Bay and on Cape Cod, collecting in rivers, lakes, reservoirs, oceans or wetlands.

The grants were announced by the EPA Friday along with the Massachusetts and Rhode Island congressional delegations. Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and led efforts to the regional watershed preservation programs, according to the EPA news release.

The eight projects identify, test and promote new approaches for managing nutrients and septic systems, resisting climate change, and other planning and monitoring of water systems.

“This is a collaborative effort, based upon good science, and it’s going to be a huge benefit to the future of our communities, particularly the Bay,” said Reed.

Project Grant
Aquidneck Island Planning Commission Aquidneck Island Water Quality Initiative $996,820
Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment; Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center Assessment of Non-Proprietary Passive Nitrogen Removing Septic Systems $728,511
Association to Preserve Cape Cod Assessment of Non-Proprietary Passive Nitrogen Removing Septic Systems $472,574
Massachusetts Audobon Society Integrating Ecosystem Services Functions and Values into Land-Use Decision Making in the Narragansett Bay Watershed $560,636
Town of Charlestown, RI Charlestown Coastal Watershed Protection and Restoration Program $674,201
The Ecosystem Center Marine Biological Laboratory Assessing Climate Effects on Watershed and Stormwater Nitrogen Loading and Vulnerabilities in Meeting TMDLs in Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod $402,461
Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah Tribal Common Lands Ecological Enhancements and Resiliency Project $275,790
The University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth School for Marine Science and
Quantifying Potential for Oyster Agriculture and Impacts on Estuarine Nitrogen-Related Water Quality $525,967

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