By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter
WESTBOROUGH — Westborough has been awarded $57,500 to fund upgrades along Jackstraw Brook as part of the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration program.
The funds will help the town collect field data and analysis on several culverts at the intersection of Upton Road and Morse Street near the brook.
“I am thrilled that Westborough has been awarded this grant funding for the benefit of our natural resources as well as for the protection of residents,” said Rep. Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury) in a press release. “Climate resiliency is a critical priority, and I thank the Baker-Polito Administration for recognizing and investing in it.”
The Division of Ecological Restoration awarded $4 million in grants through two programs — the Culvert Replacement Municipal Assistance Grant Program and the Priority Ecological Restoration Projects.
The office of Gov. Charlie Baker wrote in a press release that the Culvert Replacement Municipal Assistance Grant Program helped municipalities deal with the growing cost of aging road infrastructure. It has specifically helped communities replace their undersized and deteriorating culverts with crossings which will now meet improved design standards.
A press release from Kane, Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), Representative Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough) and Representative Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston) stated that half of the culverts in the state are too small and/or poorly positioned.
Such culverts can block fish and wildlife from passing through rivers and can lead to road closures when the roads are filled with floodwater from storms intensified by climate change, the release said.
“This critical investment will go a long way towards safeguarding our wildlife and natural resources, as well as protecting our residents from damaging floods,” Gregoire said.
Eldridge thanked the governor for investing in climate resiliency.
“As more and more of our communities feel the impacts of the climate crisis, it is critical for the state government to invest more in climate resiliency, which should be a key part of the implementation of the Next Generation Roadmap law,” he said.
“Maintaining our water system from the ground up offers countless benefits to our ecosystem, our public health, and our emergency preparedness,” Dykema added. “As we continue to see increasingly severe impacts of climate change in our communities, programs like these offer critical support for cities and towns as they work to protect our shared natural resources.”