Watershed grants awarded in Massachusetts

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• Patrick-Murray Administration announces 22 environmental grants for water protection, habitat restoration and education

BOSTON, MA, May 27, 2010 -- Continuing the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to environmental stewardship, Energy and Environment Secretary (EEA) Ian Bowles today announced $627,951 in grants from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) for projects to protect and restore rivers, watersheds, and wildlife across the Commonwealth.

The grant, largely funded by proceeds from the purchase of specialty environmental license plates, will help support projects in 20 communities around the state including: Andover, Boston, Boxford, Concord, Lawrence, Lowell, Saugus, Gloucester, Lynn, Kingston, Taunton, Barnstable, Fitchburg, Leominster, Winchendon, Holyoke, Whately, Otis, Becket, and Sandisfield.

"Investments in clean water projects across the state have lasting benefit today and for years to come," said Governor Patrick.

"We're pleased to award these grants in recognition of the work these groups and municipalities do as stewards of the Commonwealth's environmental resources," said Secretary Bowles.

Since it was founded 22 years ago as part of the Boston Harbor cleanup, MET has awarded more than $18 million in grants to organizations statewide that provide a wide array of environmental services, from supporting water projects in their communities to protecting coastal habitats. Grant funding comes from the sale of specialty environmentally-themed license plates, as well as fines for environmental violations.

"The thousands of Massachusetts citizens who have bought environmental license plates have also made possible these investments in clean water," said Jim Gomes, Director of Clark University's Mosakowski Institute, who chairs the Massachusetts Environmental Trust.

Established by the Legislature as a state trust in 1988, MET is governed by a nine-member board of trustees appointed by the EEA Secretary.

"Water has been front page news recently, reminding us how vitally important clean water is to our health, quality of life and economy," said Rep. Carolyn Dykema. "I'm so pleased that the state is investing in these local programs that are helping protect our precious rivers, lakes and coastal areas."

"Organizations like these do the real on-the-ground work to clean up our rivers and streams and keep our drinking water safe. I'm pleased that the administration is supporting their work," said Sen. Jamie Eldridge.

The grant awards range from $8,000 to $50,000.

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