This afternoon, Middletown was one of 14 organizations that received Southeast New England Program Watershed Grants funding. The money is planned for improving flooding, water quality and other issues with the Maidford River.
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WATERSHED IMPROVEMENT MONEY
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (SEPT. 9, 2021) – Over the past several years, the Town of Middletown has placed more importance on keeping its watersheds clean.
Today, Middletown received $121,800 in Southeast New England Program (SNEP) Watershed Grants funding from Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE), in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The award was announced during a press conference held at Festival Pier in Pawtucket. Middletown was one of 14 Rhode Island and Massachusetts organizations to win funding. All told, there were close to 40 applications that totaled $7.65 million in requests.
According to the Town’s application, the money is earmarked for Phase 2 of a project to improve the Maidford River and related floodplains. The aim of the project is to realign and restore the Maidford to reduce flooding, restore ecosystems, manage nutrients and improve drinking water quality.
“The Town of Middletown is very appreciative for the support from Restore America’s Estuaries as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” Town Administrator Shawn J. Brown said. “In terms of priorities, right at the top of the list is the quality of our runoff and stormwater, which directly impact the cleanliness of our drinking water.”
At the same event, the Middletown-based nonprofit Clean Ocean Access also received $15,000 for its “Land to Sea” Speaker Series. A news release indicated the multi-month series is intended to assist with community building through peer-to-peer learning events meant to form partnerships throughout Newport County and foster a multi- generational conversation and sense of collaboration regarding watershed stewardship.
State and federal dignitaries spoke highly about the program and the grant recipients, saying much good would come from the funding.
“I am pleased to lead the effort to make these federal grants available to help restore clean water and ensure healthy coastal ecosystems in Rhode Island watersheds and around the region,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who spearheaded the creation of SNEP for coastal watershed restoration in 2012 and has helped appropriate $38 million in SNEP funds to the preservation of Narragansett Bay and other water quality projects in Southeastern New England.
“This is a coordinated, collaborative effort. These federal grants will help local organizations and governments work together to prevent pollution and improve Southeast New England’s environment and economy.”
“The delegation fights hard to secure funding to make sure Rhode Island beautiful waterways and coastal ecosystems are clean and resilient,” U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said. “I’m excited these natural infrastructure and conservation projects will move forward with this federal support.”
“This investment will help municipalities and local organizations continue their important work cleaning our waters, preserving our coastal habitats, and creating more resilient ecosystems,” U.S. Rep. David Cicilline said. “Congratulations to all of this year's successful awardees.”
“The bays, estuaries, and landscapes of Southeast coastal New England make our communities such special places to live,” EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Szaro said. “However, we know this area is under considerable threats from climate change, nutrient pollution and other stressors. EPA’s Southeast New England Program is bringing financial and technical resources to our local partners that are helping to address these concerns through funding, collaboration and innovative approaches.”
“Clean waterbodies start with clean, healthy watersheds,” state Department of Environmental Management Acting Director Terry Gray said. “Since 2012, the Southeast New England Program has provided vital support toward protecting our coastal ecosystems, restoring water quality and adapting to a changing climate. Rhode Island is very grateful for these additional resources to apply science-based approaches to our most pressing ecological challenges.”