Stony Brook Project Team receives President’s “Coastal America Partnership Award”

The Town of Brewster and partners are pleased to announce that the Stony Brook Project Team has received a Coastal America Partnership Award for the Stony Brook Salt Marsh and Fish Passage Restoration Project in Brewster, Massachusetts.  This is the only award of its kind presented by President Obama’s Administration for on-the-ground environmental restoration partnerships.

The Coastal America Partnership is an action-oriented, results-driven collaboration process dedicated to restoring and preserving coastal ecosystems and addressing critical environmental issues.  The Stony Brook Project Team is one of only six teams receiving the award this year; the other awards are for projects located in California, Washington, Texas, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

The Stony Brook Project Team includes Chris Miller (Brewster Natural Resources Department); Steve Block and Kristen Ferry from the lead agency (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Restoration Center); Jeremy Bell (Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration); and Dr. Jo Ann Muramoto (Association to Preserve Cape Cod and the Massachusetts Bays Program).  Other partners include the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History; Brewster Alewife Committee and Herring Warden; Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries; APCC’s Volunteer Herring Monitors and Salt Marsh Monitors; Brewster Conservation Trust; Brewster Chamber of Commerce; Brewster residents; Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts; U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS); Cape Cod Conservation District; Barnstable County Coastal Resources Committee; Massachusetts Department of Transportation; EPA; Barnstable County; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; state and federal legislators; Eddy Foundation of Brewster; The Dolphin Trust; Prospect Hill Foundation; and many others.  Since 2005, the Project Team has been guiding this complex restoration project, which was one of 50 projects selected nationwide for funding from NOAA’s Habitat Restoration Center and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

This project will restore 41 acres of salt marsh and improve fish passage to five ponds that provide 386 acres of habitat for river herring and American eel.  The project has three parts:  1) Stony Brook Salt Marsh and Fish Passage Restoration, completed in late 2010, replaced an undersized tidal culvert beneath Route 6A with an 18-foot-wide culvert to restore 20 acres of salt marsh and improve herring access to spawning habitat; 2) Freeman’s Pond Salt Marsh Restoration which will restore 21 acres of salt marsh at Freeman’s Pond by replacing an undersized tidal culvert under a road with a larger culvert, scheduled to be completed by December 2012 with additional construction funding from the NRCS’ Cape Cod Water Resources Restoration Project and ARRA; and 3) Lower Mill Pond Dam Reconstruction and Fish Passage Improvement Project which will improve herring passage to spawning habitat and replace a failing dam that maintains water level in the five ponds, scheduled to be completed by December 2012.  Restoration benefits include expanded salt marsh, improved fish passage for river herring and American eels, improved water quality, healthier coastal ecosystems, and jobs that support the local economy.

“I am pleased that Coastal America has chosen to recognize the efforts of the Stony Brook team,” said Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan, Jr.  “This project demonstrates that ecological restoration, green infrastructure, and jobs go hand in hand, and can serve as a model for similar efforts around the country.”

“The Stony Brook Salt Marsh and Fish Passage Restoration Project improves habitat conditions for Salt reedgrass, a plant listed on the state’s Threatened species list, as well as river herring, American eel, and many ecologically important salt marsh fish species such as mummichogs and sticklebacks, which form the basis for the estuarine food web,” said Mary Griffin, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game.  “I am proud that our staff and partners have been recognized for their work on this important project.”

The award will be presented to the Team at an event to be scheduled later this year, when the Lower Mill Pond Dam and Fish Passage Restoration Project is completed.