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EPA funds youth project to restore shoreline at Pequot Pond in western MA

Release Date: 11/14/2003
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, 617-918-1008

BOSTON -- A restoration project in western Massachusetts was among six in New England and 56 nationwide to receive conservation grants funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for between $5,000 and $15,000 each.

The EPA, National Association of Counties, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Wildlife Habitat Council awarded nearly $600,000 to these community-led conservation projects through their joint Five Star Restoration Grant Program.

The Hampton Ponds Association received $10,000 for the Pequot Pond Shoreline Restoration in Westfield, Holyoke and Springfield to pilot a unique educational program serving disadvantaged and at-risk youth in a shoreline restoration project.

"This project will help educate area youngsters at the same time it restores important habitat along Pequot Pond," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England office. "The organizations chosen are strongly committed to protecting our natural resources and improving the health of wetlands and river environments."

The Hampton Ponds project will target 400 feet of shoreline surrounding a boat launch and public access area on Pequot Pond that has been severely eroded by boat traffic and shoreline fishing. The steep pond banks will be re-graded, logs installed and other bioengineering techniques will be put in place to stabilize the shoreline. "No wake" signs also will be installed. The work will be performed by youth to provide as much educational opportunity as possible. Project partners include Hampton Ponds State Park, Living Classrooms Foundation, and the Center for Human Development.

Five Star Restoration projects involve cooperation with local government agencies, elected officials, community groups, businesses, schools and environmental organizations working together to improve local water quality and restore important fish and wildlife habitats. The winning projects were selected from nearly 200 applications.

Criteria for selection included the program's educational and training opportunities for students and at-risk youth, the ecological benefits to be derived, and the project's other cultural and economic benefits to the community.

"NOAA Fisheries is proud to be a Five Star partner through our Community-based Restoration Program," said Bill Hogarth, assistant administrator at the National Marine Fisheries Service. "NOAA is committed to aid communities in the restoration of their coastal habitats. Locally conceived projects like these produce on-the-ground results, and help foster an appreciation for the environment."

This is the fifth year that grants have been awarded under this innovative program. A list of other projects receiving grants can be viewed on and