EPA awards funding to protect and improve two estuaries in US

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program and Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program (MassBays) with funding to safeguard and improve water quality.

Of the more than $1.2m in funding awarded under the federal Clean Water Act, Buzzards Bay received $632,000 and MassBays secured $622,500.

US Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton said: "Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay are critical estuarine resources and their protection is vital in the Commonwealth’s efforts to preserve and restore water quality and critical habitat."

EPA Region 1 Acting Administrator Deb Szaro added: "These funds will take steps to help ensure the habitats and water quality of the two watersheds are protected and restored."

The MassBays region covers more than 1,000 miles of coastline from the tip of Cape Cod Bay to the New Hampshire border and serves 50 coastal communities.

MassBays, which has partnered with organisations in five coastal sub-regions, uses the funding to address challenges related to water quality and to improve habitat conditions.

With a coastline of 350 miles and 13 miles of public beaches, the Buzzards Bay watershed area is 435 square miles, which includes portions of 21 cities and towns and about 250,000 residents.

A revised long-term Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for the Buzzards Bay programme was finalised in 2016 to address water quality and wildlife challenges.

The two programmes are part of EPA's non-regulatory National Estuary Program, which works to improve the waters, habitats and living resources of 28 estuaries across the country.