On March 30, 2016, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded a $950,000 grant to assist Barnstable County and the Cape Cod Commission with implementing a regional water quality management plan. The Water Quality Management Plan, also called the Section 208 Plan, was certified by Governor Charlie Baker last June and approved by EPA in August. The funding will provide new planning tools, technical assistance, and monitoring to help Cape Cod communities make “local decisions about potential solutions.”
The Section 208 Plan update is a result of a 2011 Conservation Law Foundation lawsuit, and the Commission was designated in 2013 to perform the updating. The focus is on removing nutrients from local waterways. The grant includes “the first installment of a recurring, four-year $250,000 matching grant for water quality monitoring and a one-time grant of $700,000 for technical assistance for Cape communities working to meet a June 30 deadline to develop watershed reports required by the 208 Plan,” as reported by the Cape Cod Times. The Commission will need to come up with the matching funds for monitoring. The Coalition is pleased to see MassDEP providing the necessary funds for communities to implement water quality plans, and hopes additional grants will be awarded to other communities that are struggling to meet increasing regulatory demands with dwindling resources.
“The 208 Plan recognizes that the best way to meet the significant environmental challenge facing Cape Cod is to rely on local decision-making,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito in a press release. She added, “This funding will help these communities design cost-effective solutions that work for them.” Join us at the MCWRS’s 7th Annual Water Water Resources Strategies Symposium to hear more from Lieutenant Governor Polito when she delivers the keynote address.