On September 24, Restore America's Estuaries awarded a $400,000 Southeast New England Program (SNEP) Watershed Grant to the Cape Cod Commission and its partners, the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, Center for Coastal Studies, UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology, Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
This grant will fund enhancements to the regional water quality database, adding functionality to provide automated data analyses. The goal is to ensure data accuracy and availability for the assessment of nutrient mitigation strategies.
The regional water quality database was developed by the Commission in 2016 to compile and make accessible estuarine water quality data from a variety of sources, including the Buzzards Bay Coalition, the Center for Coastal Studies, UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology, and others.
“The Commission is pleased to lead this effort to bring water quality data and analysis together to ensure community investments are achieving their goals,” said Kristy Senatori, Executive Director of the Cape Cod Commission. “A regional monitoring program is key to the success of the Cape Cod 208 Plan and critical to local implementation of water quality plans and projects.”
In addition to the collection and analysis of additional estuarine data the database will be expanded to include information on freshwater resources. Data compiled will form the basis for water resources report cards, the Association to Preserve Cape Cod's State of the Waters report, interactive maps and other information products, all of which may inform the local decision-making process.
"The SNEP funding will help APCC educate the public about the state of the waters around Cape Cod," said Association to Preserve Cape Cod Executive Director Andrew Gottlieb. "We think that the more people know about the condition of our waters, the more support the public will offer to keep our waters clean."
Municipalities can use the project outputs to evaluate investments in nutrient reduction strategies and groundwater protection efforts. Communities will have access to a comprehensive picture of the benefits of their investments across watersheds.
"This project will put the last piece together in the puzzle of streamlining how we get monitoring data in a form that communities all over the region can effectively use that data in their work,” said Tonna-Marie Rogers, Acting Manager and Coastal Training Program Coordinator at WBNERR.
Center for Coastal Studies Executive Director Rich Delaney said, “This timely grant will enable the Cape Cod Commission and its partners, including the Center for Coastal Studies, to manage and make available to all decision-makers the scientific information that will inform actions to protect those resources.”
“We are grateful to SNEP for providing needed funds to increase access to water quality information throughout Cape Cod,” said Dr. Brian Howes from the UMass Dartmouth - SMAST Coastal Systems Program. “Towns, the public and other stakeholders will be able to better track changes in their estuarine waters to guide their future restoration activities.”
A total of $4.5 million was awarded through the SNEP Watershed Grants Program, a collaboration between Restore America’s Estuaries and Region 1 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The SNEP Watershed Grants Program helps to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for Southeast New England communities by funding locally-based partnerships working to reduce pollution and restore coastal habitats. For more about SNEP Watershed Grants, see www.snepgrants.org.
Southeast New England Program (SNEP) Watershed Grants are funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through a collaboration with Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE). More information about SNEP is available at www.snepgrants.org.
POSTED: September 25, 2018