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EPA Awards Restore America's Estuaries with nearly $4 million to manage Southeast New England grant program

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Emily Bender (

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a major grant to Restore America's Estuaries under the Southeast New England Program (SNEP) of $3,945,172. With this grant, Restore America's Estuaries will manage a competitive sub-award grant program to support projects that protect and restore coastal ecosystems and their watersheds, including associated water quality and aquatic habitats, in southeast New England.

"EPA is extremely pleased with the opportunity to collaborate with Restore America's Estuaries in the work of protecting our critical coastal watersheds," said Acting Regional Administrator Deb Szaro. "It's important to work with organizations with skills, local knowledge, and commitment to results, and we anticipate great success going forward."

"We are very excited about partnering with EPA to work with local communities and organizations to protect and restore the coastal waters of southern New England. We are also looking forward to leveraging our broad reach and network to bring the lessons learned through this unique funding opportunity to a national audience to assist other coastal areas facing similar problems," said Jeff Benoit, President of Restore America's Estuaries.

"Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is proud to continue to support our local partners in their efforts to utilize innovative approaches to improve water quality and enhance coastal resiliency in our precious coastal water resources," said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. "Through the Southeast New England Program and our on-going collaboration with partners at RI DEM and EPA we look forward to continuing this important work."

"Rhode Island's natural resources, and in particular our local waters, are the lifeblood of our state," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "They nurture a healthy environment and economy and provide for our enjoyment. Through the support of many partners, we've made incredible strides in improving the health of our waters over the years. And the Southeast New England Program is an important part of the equation, providing critical funding to help protect and restore our coastal watersheds, which will benefit our state and our families for generations to come."

The Southeast New England Program is a geographic program at EPA. It encompasses coastal watersheds in southeast Rhode Island and Massachusetts and serves as a collaborative framework to

  • advance ecosystem resiliency;
  • protect and restore water quality, habitat, and ecosystem function; and
  • develop and apply innovative policy, science, and technology to environmental management.

Restore America's Estuaries is a national alliance of community-based conservation organizations working to protect and restore the nation's vital estuarine habitats. Working closely with community, private, and governmental organizations, Restore America's Estuaries has extensive experience in successful on-the-ground restoration projects and in providing technical assistance and tools to guide the restoration process, including developing methodologies for quantifying ecosystem services.

Under this new grant, Restore America's Estuaries will solicit projects over the next several years that advance Southeast New England Program objectives by focusing primarily on reducing the impacts of nutrients, especially nitrogen, on aquatic life and coastal ecosystems; restoring physical processes that support critical habitat and ecosystem function; and measuring, monitoring, and reporting change in condition and the effectiveness of actions.