DER’s Ebb&Flow#16 Newsletter
This contains excerpts of DER’s Ebb&Flow#16 Newsletter; for the complete edition (.pdf), click here
Greetings, restoration friends and colleagues:
The entire staff at DER is truly exceptional, and two of our team (Beth Lambert and Jeremy Bell) have recently been acknowledged for their outstanding contributions to ecological restoration.
Beth Lambert has been recognized by our colleagues at MassDEP with a 2013 Citation Award for her work with the Chickley River Enforcement Group. Beth was part of an interagency team including staff from the Department of Fish and Game and the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife that helped bring about a restoration plan for the Chickley River in Hawley; habitat that was adversely affected by dredging and straightening activities conducted in response to Tropical Storm Irene.
Jeremy Bell has been given the Gulf of Maine Council 2013 Visionary Award from the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment. To cite his award letter: “Your commendable efforts and exceptional leadership have led to the successful completion of complex coastal projects and resulted in acres of restored habitat in Massachusetts. Your problem-solving skills, ability to guide teams through the challenges of project implementation, and overall can-do attitude serve as an inspiration to the ecological restoration community.”
In other news: the website for the Mass. Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and its constituent Divisions and programs (including DER) has recently been redesigned and reorganized as part of an ongoing reconfiguration of the mass.gov domain. Joining the mass.gov/EEA (Energy and Environmental Affairs) portal will bring many positives, like a more modern toolset, Google analytics and better integration with other EEA sites. Also, by moving to the portal, our web pages will have more room for our content and will also be “mobile-ready” or easier to view on smartphones and tablets. While some non-conforming content (such as archived editions of Ebb&Flow from 2012 and earlier) has yet to migrate to the new website, it is expected that much of it will return once it is suitably reformatted. In the meantime, we encourage you check out DER’s new web page at its new URL (web address), http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/der/, and let us know what you think.
Finally: this will be my last Director’s letter for a year, as I am headed across the river to study at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government under the Governor Robert F. Bradford Fellowship for Excellence in Public Administration. Hunt Durey and Eileen Goldberg will take the reins in my absence.
Enjoy this packed edition of Ebb&Flow, and see you on the water (or in my case the library).
Tim Purinton, Director
Feature Article: Restoring Swedish Fish Habitat
By Tim Purinton, Director, DER
Last month, DER hosted a delegation of environmental officials from northern Sweden. They represented a cross-section of public and private professionals interested in improving river and stream connectivity in five large watersheds in the Swedish provinces of Norrbotten and Vasterbotten.
With an infusion of grant funding from the European Union, the Swedish team is tasked to install wildlife-friendly culverts and remove dams at over 300 locations in a five-year time period across a broad swath of Lapland. [Click here or on the image above to learn more about this initiative, called “ReMiBar”, short for “Remediation of Migratory Barriers in stream crossings”.]
In January, Ida Schonfeldt, project coordinator for the Swedish Transportation Administration (Trafikverket), reached out to DER staff to see if we could share our experience with building a river restoration program that focuses on barrier removal, and in particular to learn how we plan, design and implement projects. In May, the Swedish team arrived in New England for a week of immersion in river restoration.
MassDOT Environmental Analyst Tim Dexter and DER’s Carrie Banks guide the visiting delegation from Sweden on a tour of the award-winning bridge replacement and stream restoration at McNearney Road over Shaker Mill Brook in Becket (Photo courtesy MassDOT.)
The exchange focused on how we work in partnership to develop and complete projects. The trip was heavy on site visits to recently completed restoration sites in Massachusetts and Vermont. To accentuate our partnership-approach, staff from MassDOT and MassWildlife co-presented on their wildlife-friendly transportation planning. NGO partners like the Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) discussed how volunteers are assessing hundreds of culverts across the Berkshires to evaluate their ability to pass fish and wildlife and how that information is plugged into the Critical Linkages work that UMass is spearheading. The US Forest Service, based out of Vermont’s Green Mountains, also showcased their work in the forested landscape, which is somewhat akin to the forested portions of Lapland.
The sharing of ideas and information was clearly two-way. The Swedes, like those engaged in similar work in New England, toil to reduce project costs and educate stakeholders. We also both strive to incentivize the construction of green infrastructure and improve the regulatory approval process.
The more information we shared, the more we realized that the challenges and successes of river restoration are universal. While, in Sweden, they focus on restoring native Brown Trout habitat and ridding streams of the invasive, non-native Brook Trout, our similarities far outweigh our differences. We wish them luck in their ambitious goal to restore hundreds of kilometers of the Ranealven, Varjisan and Angesan Rivers, and we might just take them up on their offer of visiting Sweden in 2018 to revel in their success.><((((º>`•.¸¸.•´¯`•.¸.•´¯`•…¸><((((º>¸.•´¯`•.¸. ><((((º>
Division of Ecological Restoration News and Project Updates
Coastal Projects Update
Stewart’s Creek, Barnstable
April marked the completion of construction activities as part of the Stewart’s Creek Salt Marsh Restoration Project in Barnstable. The project involved the replacement of a 3-foot diameter culvert under Ocean Avenue in Barnstable with a 4 foot by 6 foot box culvert and sluice gate. The project will restore tidal flow to a 14-acre salt marsh and coastal wetland, and improve water quality within Stewart’s Creek.
During the project’s decade-long development, DER provided technical assistance to the project leads: the Town of Barnstable and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps developed the restoration plan to restore tidal flows, salt marsh and benthic habitat within Stewart’s Creek. With funding from the Town of Barnstable and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Estuary Restoration Act, the $470,000 construction project was accomplished by SumCo Eco-Contracting of Salem.
The new structure is equipped a sluice gate to provide some flood control during large coastal storms. Until the fall, the gate will be used to maintain a similar size opening to the pre-construction culvert. Come fall though, after the summer beach season, the gate will be opened completely and tidal exchange restored.
Interested in getting involved in streamflow monitoring? DER’s River Instream Flow Stewards program is always seeking additional volunteers to track this important aspect of river health. You could get involved at a gage that has existed for many years, or at one of our more recently-installed gages. New RIFLS gages may be found in the following rivers and streams:
Grant, Contest, Award, Fellowship and Fundraising Opportunities
On-line Resources (Federal and State Government)
Non-Governmental On-line Resources
Division of Ecological Restoration News and Project Updates (continued)
Improving Stream Crossings: Flood Resilient, Fish Friendly
Participants in the “Improving Stream Crossings: Flood Resilient, Fish Friendly” workshops get to practice scenarios on the “Stream Table” to see how various road-stream crossings function in the stream channel.
Where our roads and streams intersect has become a hot topic over the last few years. DER staff have led efforts across the Commonwealth to inventory and assess these locations for potential barriers to fish and wildlife, while road crews have been responding to many of these same locations to address clogged culverts, washouts, and road closures. This convergence of interest resulted in over 200 municipal highway, planning and DPW staff, municipal officials, conservation commissioners, engineering consultants, regional planning staff, state agency staff, environmental organization staff and volunteers taking part in Improving Stream Crossings: Flood Resilient, Fish Friendly workshops held in western Massachusetts earlier this year. Three day-long workshop sessions, held in collaboration with the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, Baystate Roads, and River Continuity Partners, brought state-wide experts from all sectors to cover:
The Mass. Watershed Coalition (MWC)’s “mwc-list” listserv is a great source of information on river- and watershed-related funding and job opportunities, upcoming events, recent articles and more. Many of the posted items are time-sensitive and can’t wait until the next edition ofEbb&Flow. You can access the mwc-list listserv at http://email@example.com, where you can subscribe to receive the posted messages to your e-mail address, or simply read them on-line. Highly recommended!
Last but not least:
The Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) provides funding to many river, wetland and other water resources protection and restoration projects throughout the Commonwealth.
A major source of MET’s funding comes from the sale of environmental license plates. Besides the “Right Whale and Roseate Tern” plate (click here, see p. 13), sales of the “Fish and Wildlife” plate (click here, see p.12), depicting a Brook Trout (see above), and the Blackstone Valley plates
Photos of Recent Events
*WEEKLY TUESDAY HIKES
Join the Tuesday Trekkers each Tuesday for a hike on local trails. Meet at the Athol YMCA at 9:00 AM.
We gather at 6 PM on the second Monday of each month at the OIC (Orange Innovation Center) Room 222
131 West Main Street, Orange, Ma.