Willet Pond Spillway (Photo courtesy of Neponset River Watershed Association)

The Baker-Polito Administration today announced over $10.2 million in grants to assist communities in addressing deteriorating dams and coastal infrastructure.

The awards, funded by the Governor’s annual capital budget, include engineering or construction phase support for seven dam repair projects, five dam removals, and three coastal protection reconstruction projects that will protect public safety, preserve natural resources, and ensure vital infrastructure is resilient to the impacts of climate change. Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides announced the grants at an event at Foxborough Town Hall.

Governor Charlie Baker said, “The two-day storm the Commonwealth experienced this week is a reminder of the necessity of ensuring critical infrastructure like dams and seawalls are prepared for increasingly severe storms and other weather. Our administration is proud to support municipalities throughout Massachusetts with these grants, and looks forward to working with the Legislature to pass our legislation that would provide a stable revenue source to fund climate-smart infrastructure projects and nature-based solutions.”

Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said,“Through the Dam and Seawall Program, our administration is proud to partner with municipalities to protect vulnerable residents, infrastructure, and natural resources. By leveraging local funding, these grants ensure municipalities are able to complete necessary infrastructure work and safeguard their communities from extreme weather.”

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ (EEA) Dam and Seawall Program will award $10,293,414 in grants to 14 projects to help finalize designs, reconstruct critical infrastructure, or remove unneeded structures. With this announcement, the Dam and Seawall Program has awarded over $77 million in grants and loans to attend to this important infrastructure since its inception in 2013.

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides said, “Deteriorating dams and seawalls threaten the safety of residents, infrastructure, businesses, water supply, and are not built to withstand the growing impacts of climate change. We applaud these cities and towns for their work to prepare their infrastructure for natural hazards like coastal and inland flooding.”

The following projects received awards:

Applicant Project Grant
City of Quincy Adams Shore Seawall Repair Construction $3,000,000
Town of Plymouth Warren Cove Seawall Repair Construction $3,000,000
City of Pittsfield Mill Street Dam Removal Construction $150,000
Town of Foxborough West Street Dam Removal Construction $708,255
Town of Holbrook Lake Holbrook Dam Repair Construction $1,000,000
Town of Leicester Waite Pond Dam Repair Construction $1,000,000
Sherwood Forest Lake District Lancelot Lake Dam Repair Construction $703,000
City of Salem Columbus Avenue Seawall Repair Design & Permit $77,700
Town of Clinton Lynde Basin Dam Removals Design & Permit $176,250
East Quabbin Land Trust Wheelwright Pond Dam Removal Design & Permit $75,000
Town of Plymouth Jenney Pond Dam Repair Design & Permit $37,500
City of Fall River Upper Lake Noquochoke Dam Removal Design & Permit $127,500
Neponset River Land Holding Association Willett Pond Dam Repair Design & Permit $175,875
City of Peabody Sidney’s Pond Dam Repair Design & Permit $62,334
14 Awards                                                                    $10,293,414

The Dam and Seawall Program builds upon the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to strengthen the resilience of communities throughout Massachusetts by supporting cities and towns as they adapt to a changing climate. This program helps to implement Governor Baker’s Executive Order 569 establishing an integrated strategy for climate change adaptation across the Commonwealth.

Governor Baker filed the ResilientMA legislation, or Senate Bill 10, to support municipalities and help protect Massachusetts residents, communities, economy, and infrastructure from the adverse effects of climate change, through a modest increase in the excise on real estate transfers to fund a substantial and sustained investment in climate change adaptation. The proposal is estimated to generate $1.3 billion over 10 years which would be dedicated to the Commonwealth’s Global Warming Solutions Trust Fund to provide funding for resiliency initiatives including grants and technical assistance to communities for implementing priority actions identified through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program and addressing climate-related risk in cities and towns throughout the state.