Friday, August 28, 2009

Kittery is awarded $79,780
Maine DEP Grant

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) through its Nonpoint Source (NPS) Water Pollution Control (Clean Water Act section 319) Grant program has awarded the Town of Kittery a grant of $79,780 to implement Phase 2 of its Spruce Creek Watershed Improvement Project. With the addition of matching funds the grant will total over $180,000.
This grant will support the continuation of the first phase of the project, begun in April 2008 and set to continue until March 2010, in which the Maine DEP awarded the Town almost $70,000 for a total project budget of over $175,000. Phase I Grant Manager, Sue Cobler, stated “We strongly believe that the unprecedented volunteer contributions in Phase I of this project greatly contributed to the decision by MDEP to continue funding the Town of Kittery for Phase II.” Volunteer programs under Phase I have resulted in many activities to improve the water quality in Spruce Creek, including six community social gatherings held to educate homeowners on creek-friendly practices; the participation of 32 homeowners in a pledge program for homeowners who agree to maintain their property in a creek-friendly manner; and the installation, by volunteers, of such creek-friendly features as rain gardens, vegetated buffers, and dry-wells at selected residences and businesses.
While the grant proposal was sponsored by the Town of Kittery in close partnership with the Town of Eliot, the Spruce Creek Association, and the York County Soil and Water Conservation District, additional support was and will continue to be provided by residents, volunteers and local businesses. Beginning in spring of 2010 funds from the 319 grant will support a project coordinator to oversee the development of a range of best management and conservation practices, public outreach and education, as well as repair and mitigation projects that will take place both on Spruce Creek itself and within the watershed.
In response to notification of the award Kittery Town Council Chairman, Jeff Thomson, stated “In these times of decreasing budgets for environmental programs, it is fantastic to have recognition and support by the State and the community to continue this important water quality work in the Spruce Creek watershed area.”
Forrest Bell of FB Environmental Associates provided technical assistance and project oversight for the grant proposal. Mr. Bell added, “This award will help continue the substantial momentum gained by the Town of Kittery and partners through the first project phase. In particular, the citizens and landowners of the Spruce Creek watershed have responded to the call for individual action for improved water quality and will now have the opportunity to participate in further efforts.”
The 319 grant program is intended to support NPS projects which aim to prevent or reduce nonpoint source pollutant loadings entering water resources so that beneficial uses of the water resources are maintained or restored. According to MDEP, NPS projects help local communities recognize water pollution sources in watersheds and take action to restore or protect clean water. A grant-eligible NPS project is implemented in a specific watershed to help restore or protect a lake, stream, or coastal water that is impaired or considered threatened by polluted runoff. Spruce Creek, which has been officially designated by the state of Maine as a nonpoint source priority watershed due to bacterial contamination, low dissolved oxygen, toxic contamination, and compromised ability to support commercial marine resources, meets these qualifications.
To learn more about the Spruce Creek Watershed Improvement Project, please visit:
Photo caption: Using native varieties, volunteers plant a “rain garden” and add deep-rooted shrubs to the buffer along the water in Kittery that will help improve water quality in Spruce Creek while creating a beautiful natural area that will attract birds and butterflies. (Courtesy photo)