Wetlands in New England to be better protected by EPA grants

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BOSTON, MA, Jan. 7, 2014 -- A total of 16 grants of more than $1.5 million were recently awarded to recipients within New England by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to aid programs that help protect wetlands throughout the region.

The grants are part of the EPA's Wetland Program Development Grants in New England and were awarded to agencies in each of the six New England states along with the Penobscot Indian Nation, the University of Massachusetts, and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission. The biennial grants cover two fiscal years (2013-2014) to allow recipients to make better long-term strategic decisions about program goals.

"EPA is pleased to provide grants that will support vital research, assessment and training to help protect wetlands in New England," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of the EPA's New England office. "Healthy wetlands are very important for the environmental benefits they provide to our communities. Wetlands help minimize the damaging impacts from floods, they help purify and protect drinking water, and they provide habitat for wildlife and recreational opportunities for citizens."

The grants can be used by recipients to build and refine any element of a comprehensive wetland program. Priority is given to funding projects that address the three areas identified by EPA: 1) Developing a comprehensive monitoring and assessment program; 2) Improving the effectiveness of compensatory mitigation; and 3) Refining the protection of vulnerable wetlands and aquatic resources. States, tribes, local governments, interstate associations, intertribal consortia, and national non-profit, non-governmental organizations were eligible to apply.

The EPA's New England office has changed to biennial grants to provide recipients with the ability to plan for longer term projects. The allocations for the first year total approximately $1,538,500, and the Region anticipates similar funding for the second year of this grant cycle. Grant recipients are required to contribute a minimum of 25 percent of the cost of each project.

The EPA Wetland Program Development Grants were started in 1990 to provide eligible applicants an opportunity to conduct projects that promote research, experiments, training, demonstrations, surveys, and studies relating to the causes, effects, extent, and prevention of water pollution.

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