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Rhode Island Awarded Over $48K to Boost Wetlands Protection

Release Date: 01/09/2009
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Jan. 9, 2009) – Nearly $49,000 of EPA grant money will help Rhode Island advance projects to protect wetlands.

The Rhode Island Dept. of Environmental Management (DEM) will receive $48,750 in EPA funding to support the state’s improvement of its wetlands monitoring and assessment program.

“Wetlands are incredibly important to the health and well-being of our environment, and provide tangible benefits to our communities,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Wetlands help store floodwaters, purify and increase our drinking water supplies, provide habitat for wildlife and recreation for citizens. We’re proud to work to improve wetland protection here in New England.”

For nearly two decades EPA has awarded Wetland Program Development Grants to state agencies, federally-recognized Native American tribes, local governments, and interstate associations seeking to improve wetland protection though research, training, mapping, and other mechanisms. In recent years, EPA identified three priority areas for grant applicants to address in their proposed projects: developing a comprehensive wetland monitoring and assessment program; improving the effectiveness of wetland compensatory mitigation; and refining the protection of particularly vulnerable wetland types, such as vernal pools.

The R.I. environmental agency will continue the phased implementation of a wetlands monitoring and assessment program with a pilot application of its “rapid assessment” method at 60 additional wetland sites during 2009. Data collected will improve the state’s ability to accurately characterize the ecological condition of wetlands in Rhode Island and provide additional information on the relative importance of land use activities that act to stress and degrade wetland health. This information will allow the DEM to strengthen policies and devise strategies to better protect and restore the ecological functions of wetlands.

The Rhode Island grants are part of a region-wide funding pool for wetland grants in New England totaling more than $1.7 million. Other wetlands projects are being funded by EPA in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.

More information:
Wetlands issues in New England (epa.gov/ne/topics/ecosystems/wetlands.html)

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