State Awards Merrimack River Watershed Council Ecological Restoration Grant

Merrimack River as seen from downtown Haverhill. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The Merrimack River Watershed Council Tuesday was formally awarded $21,500 as part of nearly $1 million in grants for ecological restoration projects throughout the state.

The award by the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration will support the early stages of locally driven, high priority restoration project implementation, such as culvert replacements and dam removals, to restore, what the state called, “degraded aquatic ecosystems and increase climate resilience within the northeast and north central regions of the state.”

“Ecological restoration offers transformational benefits for both climate resilience and biodiversity. These priority actions will reduce flooding, improve water quality and reconnect and restore critical habitats for fish and wildlife,” said Fish and Game Commissioner Tom O’Shea. “As climate change brings increasing challenges, these projects and partnerships will support Massachusetts’ ResilientMass planning efforts to ensure the Commonwealth is prepared to withstand, adapt to and rapidly recover from extreme weather events.”

The Regional Restoration Partnerships Program pays for projects and partnerships to help Massachusetts prepare for the impacts of climate change, address public safety concerns, improve habitat and water quality and restore important ecosystems throughout the state.

The Merrimack River Watershed Council partnership also supports urban stream revitalization and outreach within the environmental justice communities of Lowell and Lawrence, including increasing connection to local rivers for all ages.

“We are proud to support these powerful and diverse restoration projects through technical assistance, technical services, and funding,” said Ecological Restoration Director Beth Lambert. “Working together with many dedicated and knowledgeable partners, we will continue to drive restoration efforts forward and see the innumerable benefits of this work now and into the future.”

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