Mattapoisett Land Trust to pursue grant for marsh restoration plan

May 23, 2023

MATTAPOISETT — The Mattapoisett Land Trust is pursuing a $100,000 grant to fund a “Salt Marsh Habitat Restoration Plan” for the tidal marshes located west of Mattapoisett Neck. 

The Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Grant offered by the Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management Office, can be used to fund a restoration plan, said Mattapoisett Land Trust President Michael Huguenin at a May 23 meeting of the Mattapoisett Select Board. 

He added that an approved restoration plan opens up eligibility for up to $800,000 of implementation grants for the project. 

In his grant application, Huguenin outlined plans to document existing conditions at the marsh and at the culvert, predict future conditions that could impact the area, and evaluate and design three or more salt marsh restoration actions. 

These actions include a 25% design for an enlarged culvert, the use of “runnels” — pathways for water drainage, and plans to remove invasive plants and physical barriers to allow the existing salt marsh to migrate inland. 

According to Huguenin, a portion of the plan will look at improving the Molly’s Cove culvert. 

“The culvert is damaged, it’s vulnerable,” he said. “One of the problems with that culvert [is that] it is contributing to the degradation of the marsh in Molly’s Cove.”

A report released by the Buzzards Bay Coalition found that the salt marsh at Mattapoisett Neck lost approximately 23% of its total area between 2001 and 2019. 

According to Huguenin, this will give the Mattapoisett Land Trust an advantage when applying for the Coastal Zone Management grant. 

The Molly’s Cove site is probably the top one or two [most] degraded salt mash sites throughout Buzzards Bay,” he said. “This is a place that really needs some attention.”

Huguenin noted that the Office of Coastal Zone Management would like to have “assurances” that any non-profits applying for this grant be “in close coordination and cooperation with the town.”

He added that this grant does not require a match from the town, however he encouraged a $20,000 match that would be split between the Town of Mattapoisett and the Mattapoisett Land Trust.

“We have $50,000 set aside for grant matching,” said Mattaposiett Town Administrator Mike Lorenco.

The Mattapoisett Select Board voted unanimously to authorize the Mattapoisett Land Trust to apply for the grant and to put up a $10,000 match. 

“The project I’m describing, I think will be very well received by [the Office of Coastal Zone Management],” said Huguenin. “There’s no guarantees of course … [but] salt marsh habitat restoration is a big priority of their program.”