FOXBOROUGH — 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.
“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,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “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.”
“Through the Dam and Seawall Program, our administration is proud to partner with municipalities to protect vulnerable residents, infrastructure, and natural resources,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “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.
“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,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “We applaud these cities and towns for their work to prepare their infrastructure for natural hazards like coastal and inland flooding.”
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.
“I want to congratulate all of the towns, and the East Quabbin Land Trust, on their efforts and attention to receive this grant funding,” said Senator Anne M. Gobi (D-Spencer), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. “In addressing the current state of dams and seawalls across the Commonwealth there is still a great deal of work to be done, and I am glad to see the Baker-Polito administration making this vital infrastructure a priority in our climate adaptation program.”