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Nashua River Restoration Project Awarded Over $770,000 in Targeted Watershed Initiative
Release Date: 07/19/04
Contact Information: Contact: David Deegan, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1017
For Immediate Release: July 19, 2004:Release # 04-07-17
BOSTON - A collaborative effort by state, local and private agencies working to restore better health to the Nashua River was awarded a grant of $770,192 today by EPA under the Targeted Watershed initiative. The Nashua project was one of only fourteen watersheds identified for one of the coveted grants, which is part of a broader national effort announced today by EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt.
The Nashua River is still largely rural, but is facing mounting pressures from development because it is at the edge of a major metropolitan area. Rapid growth and the decline of open space contribute to two overarching water problems: pollution of the surface waters and compromised groundwater supplies.
“I am very happy that the Nashua River Watershed was selected from the more than 115 nominations for Targeted Watershed grants,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England regional office. “This commitment of money – over $700,000 – demonstrates EPA’s resolve to help our partners address the complex challenges posed by development and ensuring a clean and safe environment.”
A bi-state nomination proposed by the Nashua River Watershed Association, and supported both by Massachusetts Governor Romney and New Hampshire Governor Benson, builds on state and EPA priority work to protect critical waterways. Through a prior grant from EPA, the Nashua River Watershed was selected as one of four national pilot studies to demonstrate watershed-based efforts to protect the sources of people’s drinking water. Rapid conversion of forests and farms for suburban development threatens water quality in the basin. An in-depth watershed management plan was developed for the Squannocook-Nissitissit sub-basin of the Nashua River through the pilot. The pilot focuses on retaining forest and farm land in the basin and providing strategies to lessen the impact of new residential development.
“The Nashua River Watershed Association and its partners are honored to receive an EPA 2004 Watershed Grant for this timely, proactive project,” said Elizabeth Ainsley Campbell, Director of the Nashua River Watershed Association.
EPA's funding with this grant recognizes that the front line in protecting the nations waters is often found at the local watershed group level. This project is a collaboration that also includes the Nashua River Watershed Association, the Beaver Brook Association, New England Forestry Foundation and the Trust for Public Land.
“Through the generous funds of the EPA, Beaver Brook will continue to accomplish its mission of creating public awareness in conservation and environmental issues through education and land stewardship,” said Janet MacFarland, Education Director of the Beaver Brook Association.
This grant will help the Nashua River Watershed Association to protect valuable drinking water resources and surface water quality in an area where groundwater and surface water are closely linked. Seven projects will be undertaken:
- Increasing incentives to individual and municipal forest landowners to voluntarily expand their forest stewardship and land protection;
- Exploring market-based opportunities for landowners to benefit from forest production through a forestry cooperative;
- Increasing incentives for foresters to receive training in ecological approaches and communicate those benefits to landowners;
- Providing practical model conservation and restoration sites;
- Developing forward-looking smart growth regulatory approaches at the municipal and state level;
- Providing baseline water quality information;
- Studying the causes of landowner resistance to environmental regulation and protection.
The Nashua grant commitment supports ongoing state and EPA efforts to help communities protect drinking water and groundwater resources.