BARNSTABLE, Mass. — The Healey-Driscoll Administration today announced over $1.7 million in grant awards to acquire retired cranberry bogs for restoration to functional wetlands. Through the Cranberry Bog Acquisition for Restoration Grant Program, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) is supporting two land trusts in returning cranberry bogs to their natural state. EEA Secretary Rebecca Tepper made the announcement in Barnstable as part of Massachusetts’ celebration of Climate Week, which highlights climate action being taken throughout the state.
“Over the course of a year, we’ve witnessed extreme weather – from a tropical storm to catastrophic flooding, to record-breaking temperatures. Climate change is here, and we have to act now,” said EEA Secretary Tepper. “It’s critical to invest in these open space acquisition projects that will ultimately make our communities more resilient. Through this program, we’re helping improve habitat and water quality and the recreational opportunities that come with them.”
This is the first year the EEA has awarded grants through the Cranberry Bog Acquisition for Restoration Program. The program is part of the administration’s efforts to permanently preserve Massachusetts’ rich natural heritage for generations to come. Through several of its agencies, the EEA works with farmers and other landowners on a “green exit strategy” that includes conservation and habitat restoration. Restoring these wetlands on retired or soon-to-be-retired cranberry bogs will help store carbon, absorb pollutants, and provide homes for many species.
“The Barnstable Clean Water Coalition is very excited to receive this award and would like to thank all of our partners that assisted us in doing so, including EEA’s Conservation Services Division and The Compact of Cape Cod Land Conservation Trusts,” said Barnstable Clean Water Coalition Executive Director Zee Crocker. “These funds will provide the foundation for ‘game-changing’ water restoration projects on Cape Cod. Cranberry bogs helped save Cape Cod economically in the 19th century. As restored wetlands, they will help save Cape waters and the environment, in the 21st century.”
“The DNRT is so grateful for the support of the Commonwealth in protecting over 43 acres of outstanding habitat in the Flag Swamp Bog Conservation Project,” said Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust Executive Director Nick Wildman. “Protecting and restoring this property will help mitigate impacts from climate change on the Shingle Island River watershed.”
“From rising sea levels and extreme weather to the loss of critical habitat, the Cape and Islands continue to be profoundly impacted by the climate crisis,” said State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “The EEA’s Cranberry Bog Acquisition for Restoration Grant Program is a creative effort to mitigate the impact of excessive greenhouse gases in our environment. I am thrilled the Barnstable Clean Water Coalition is receiving funds from this program to transform retired Cape cranberry bogs into wetlands that serve as effective carbon sinks.”
“The newly protected wetlands undergoing restoration through the Flag Swamp Bog Conservation Project will prove an asset to the people of Dartmouth,” said State Representative Christopher Markey (D-Dartmouth). “This project will make great strides towards a greener future and improved ecological health while providing the public a 43-acre space to access our community’s natural beauty.”
Projects receiving a Cranberry Bog Acquisition for Restoration grant are:
–Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs