Thursday, June 8, 2023
Today, the Town of Manchester by the Sea has received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to restore coastal habitat in the Sawmill Brook watershed. The project will reconstruct the Central Street Bridge, remove a tide gate, and restore an acre of salt marsh. The project is expected to improve water quality, fish passage, and flood resilience.
Climate change is a serious threat to our coastal communities, and the Central Street Bridge Replacement and Sawmill Brook Restoration Project is an important step in addressing that threat. In the heart of Manchester-by-the-Sea's downtown, this bridge, in its deteriorated state, has presented a growing challenge for local officials for years. In that respect, it is emblematic of the intensifying issues seaside communities and others face due to the consequences of sea level rise. This project proves that these issues can be successfully addressed through collaboration between local, state, and federal governments.
At today's announcement in Manchester Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante said: “Our natural resources are our first line of defense in the face of the effects of climate change. This grant will allow Manchester-by-the-Sea to take a proactive step by cultivating a natural safeguard for the town's homes and businesses. Thank you to the Healey-Driscoll Administration for recognizing the critical work being done in our coastal communities to advance habitat restoration and create green infrastructure.”
The grant funds were secured by the state's Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs' Office of Coastal Zone Management, which developed the project proposals in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration, the Town of Manchester-by-the-Sea.
Gregory Federspiel, Manchester-by-the-Sea Town Administrator said: "By restoring Sawmill Brook to its natural state, removing the tidal gate, and re-establishing a salt marsh habitat, we will improve the resiliency of the area to future flooding, better protect properties, and enhance the natural ecosystem’s ability to function as an important buffer zone. This is a critical infrastructure project for our core village area and we appreciate our partnership with the Commonwealth to bring this project to fruition and are very pleased to be awarded these federal funds."
Photo Credit: Dru Tarr