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Connecticut River Conservancy Receives MassDEP Grant for Water Quality Monitoring

Updated: Jun 28

Water quality monitoring specialist holding up a water sample while standing in front of Connecticut River

Connecticut River Conservancy is happy to announce the receipt of a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) for water quality monitoring in the Connecticut River watershed.

The Healey-Driscoll Administration has awarded more than $199,000 in grants to three coalitions of non-profit environmental organizations to support the testing of water quality in rivers, lakes and ponds, and coastal resources in eastern Massachusetts, the Connecticut River Watershed, and Cape Cod. The Water Quality Monitoring Grant is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and supports waterbody monitoring efforts across the Commonwealth. The original announcement can be found here.

“We are excited that this support from DEP will allow us to expand our own data collection while supporting our partners,” said Ryan O’Donnell, Connecticut River Conservancy’s Monitoring Program Manager. “Together, we are all contributing to a better understanding of water quality in the Connecticut River watershed.”

“Local watershed organizations are the eyes and ears of Massachusetts’ lakes and rivers,” said MassDEP Commissioner Bonnie Heiple.“We rely on the water quality data collected by our local and regional partners to make important determinations about the condition of our waterbodies. I am pleased that we can support their tireless work.”

The grant, which is managed by MassDEP’s Watershed Planning Program, facilitates recipients in their collection of data from a wide range of surface water quality projects and helps them achieve their water quality monitoring goals. The data from these state and local partners helps MassDEP maintain, improve, and protect water quality in accordance with requirements of the federal Clean Water Act. Non-profit organizations – including watershed groups and lake and pond associations, as well as federally recognized Tribal Nations – with expertise in water monitoring are encouraged to apply.

The three grant awardees are:

Connecticut River Conservancy – $75,000The Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC) is leading a coalition of four watershed organizations (including CRC, Fort River Watershed Association, Deerfield River Watershed Association, and Chicopee 4 Rivers Watershed Council) to conduct a regional monitoring program among coalition partners. The grant will fund staff salaries, laboratory supplies, and travel to monitor for E. coli, nitrogen, and cyanobacteria in the Connecticut River watershed. The goals are to coordinate a regional monitoring program among coalition partners and develop a new collaborative nitrogen monitoring initiative.

Mystic River Watershed Association – $73,875Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) is leading the Eastern Massachusetts Water Quality Monitoring Coalition consisting of eight member organizations to perform routine water quality monitoring in support of a long-term monitoring collaboration. The funding will be used for water quality monitoring supplies and equipment, laboratory analyses, staff salaries, and to host a training meeting to synchronize sampling methods and explore regional trends in water quality data. The coalition will monitor for bacteria, cyanobacteria, chlorophyll-a, nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen), and conductivity. The goals are to assist MassDEP with identifying impairments under criteria set forth in the Clean Water Act by leveraging the coalition’s collective expertise and synchronizing regional data collection and communication to the public.

Center for Coastal Studies – $50,267The Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) is partnering with the Association to Preserve Cape Cod and the Indian Ponds Association on a project designed to enhance targeted water quality monitoring of priority areas. The project leverages existing monitoring programs among the partner organizations actively involved in the monitoring, conservation, and restoration of freshwater pond water quality throughout Cape Cod. The grant will fund supplies and equipment, staff salary, and laboratory analyses to monitor for Secchi disk depth, temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, salinity, nutrients, chlorophyll, alkalinity, and cyanobacteria. The goals of the project are to help Cape Cod communities protect and manage ponds, understand the effects of watershed development, and inform pond protection and management strategies.

For more information about the Water Quality Monitoring Grant and the Watershed Planning Program, please visit the MassDEP website.

MassDEP’s mission is to protect and enhance the Commonwealth’s natural resources – air, water and land – to provide for the health, safety and welfare of all people, and a clean and safe environment for future generations. In carrying out this mission, MassDEP commits to address and advance environmental justice and equity for all people of the Commonwealth, provide meaningful, inclusive opportunities for people to participate in agency decisions that affect their lives and ensure a diverse workforce that reflects the communities served by the agency.

Thank you very much to the MassDEP for supporting Connecticut River Conservancy with the funds to continue improving our water quality monitoring capacity. 


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