$50,000 EPA grant will assess Buckeye Brook watershed


Thanks to a $50,000 grant given by the Environmental Protection Agency, Buckeye Brook will be accessed for impairments to its watershed and ecology caused by pollutants. Buckeye Brook was just one of several proposals that were sent to EPA to get funding for improving the water quality of the state.s rivers, lakes and streams, said Skip Viator, supervising planner for DEM.s Office of Water Resources. If the EPA determines that a proposal has merit, it may fund the project through the state or directly from EPA.

According to Viator, who is new to DEM and working on his first project, not all proposals are selected by EPA to receive funding but that was the case in this time and the next step is to begin investigating the watershed. That could encompass field exploration as well as researching any data that presently exists on water quality and biodiversity of the stream.

The process began last week when Viator and Steve Insana, founder and vice-president of the Buckeye Brook Coalition, visited various points of the brook to examine vegetation and so Viator could get more familiar with the watershed. .It.s good to see it now because I can see it flowing,. said Viator during his tour last week in the pouring rain. .Of course, it doesn.t stop [here], but [this] will lead to a study of the conditions within the watershed by collecting new data to help find and eliminate the source that may be the cause of the impairment. After this step, the [Total Maximum Daily Load] is written that targets this source or sources, with the goal of improving the watershed..

The project tasks include drafting the scope of work and hiring a consultant; reviewing historic data and offer preliminary conclusions on the nature of the problem and list possible causes; developing a monitoring plan to collect additional data to assess conditions and possible stresses in the brook; conducting field surveys and sample collection and; find an approach to eliminate and identify causes, summarize results with recommendations for further tests that might be needed. In all, the project is expected tot take about 18 months. .This is huge to have this assessment being done,. said an enthusiastic Insana. .A lot of the local watersheds would love to have this done and to have DEM do this for us is unbelievable.. This is one of only 19 projects in the country.

In addition to the program, Insana said Rep. Eileen Naughton (D-Dist. 21) secured a $500 legislative grant to be used toward restoration projects to the brook.s tributary stream with the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program.