Project now eligible to receive up to $22 million in federal funds
The offices of Senators Paul Kirk and John Kerry and Congressman William Delahunt issued a joint release yesterday announcing that the Cape Cod Water Resources Restoration Project has been authorized by the Senate Agricultural Committee. The project is now eligible to receive up to $22 million in federal funds.
The proposed project is a joint effort of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Cape Cod Conservation District and the Barnstable County Commissioners. Federal, state and local agencies including the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, in addition to all Cape Cod towns, are also collaborating on the project.
The project will address water quality as a major concern on Cape Cod and how urban development, an annual influx of tourists and other factors impact the ground water aquifer, shellfish beds, salt marshes and herring runs. The approved federal monies will fund the building of water control structures, fish ladders and passages and add filters to wetlands, dry wells and sand structures.
According to the NRCS website, 158 storm water discharge sites, 182 tidal-restricted salt marshes and 93 fish passages have been indentified for restoration. The restoration of these 433 sites as part of the NRCS's Small Watershed Program is intended to improve water quality and restore the ecosystem across the Cape. Each year, pollutants and contaminants close shellfish beds and have a growing adverse effect on several species of fish, birds and plants in the area.
Congressman Delahunt said of the project, "This is one of the most ambitious wetlands restoration initiatives in the country and I am proud to be a strong and enthusiastic supporter. The work involved in the development of this project has involved hundreds of people and dozens of public and private agencies -- all dedicated to improving the environment of Cape Cod."