The Southeast New England Program (SNEP) is a regional initiative, funded by Congress and managed by the US Environmental Protection Agency, working to preserve and restore coastal waters by providing grants and technical assistance to communities, local organizations and partnerships in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts.
The grants are awarded under the 2022 SNEP Watershed Implementation Grants (SWIG) program, a partnership between Restore America’s Estuaries, a national non-profit organization, and EPA Region 1. The technical assistance is provided by the SNEP Network, EPA’s partnership with the New England Environmental Finance Center, a non-profit technical assistance provider located at the University of Southern Maine, part of the University of Maine System.
Through the SNEP Network’s 2022 Community Assistance Projects (CAP) Solicitation, the SNEP Network selected 10 projects with 8 SNEP communities and 1 Tribe in which to provide technical assistance. The Community Assistance Projects offer in-depth technical, financial, and training assistance to municipalities, Tribes, and non-profits in the SNEP region to build their local capacity. During this year, the SNEP Network will offer training and technical assistance with developing conceptual designs for stormwater retrofits, climate resilience planning, sustainable funding/financing, GIS analysis for developing HRU’s to characterize watershed conditions, community engagement, reviewing bylaws, developing a buffer restoration plan, and more.
“Southeast coastal New England is very special, shaped by its history of innovation and its iconic bays, estuaries, and landscapes. But we know it is also under increasing threats from climate change, nutrient pollution and other stressors,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator David Cash, “and those stressors are particularly acute in our underserved communities. The announcements underscore EPA’s commitment to bringing financial and technical resources through the Southeast New England Program to those and other areas. Working with our state and local partners, Restore America’s Estuaries and the SNEP Network, we are advancing effective practices and increasing local capacity through funding, collaboration, and innovative approaches — essential for meeting our communities’ needs and contributing to the sustained ecosystem health and economic vitality of our coastal communities.”
“This federal funding advances several key restoration projects that will enhance water quality and improve the overall health and well-being of our communities, waterways, and estuaries,” said Senator Reed of Rhode Island, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee who created SNEP.
“The SNEP Program is critical to building regional capacity to address the biggest climate challenges of our time. Although communities throughout southeastern Massachusetts are eager to improve stormwater management, restore habitat, and ramp up adaptation to climate change, they lack the time, money, expertise, and staff to move these projects forward. The SNEP Program fills these gaps by providing much needed technical assistance and funding, and bringing communities and experts together. Congratulations to the grantees, and deep appreciation to EPA and the SNEP Program for supporting this region of the state,” said Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration Director Beth Lambert.
“The Ocean State will be hit hard by rising sea levels, increasing precipitation from more intense storms, and changing temperatures in the years ahead. Now’s the best time to build resilience to the coming effects of climate change,” said Senator Whitehouse of Rhode Island. “This funding and technical assistance will help sustain the health of the watersheds and coastal ecosystems that are so vital to Rhode Island’s economy and way of life.”
“It is important that communities and technical assistance providers come together to address the effects of climate change from a resilience perspective” said Martha Sheils, Director of the New England Environmental Finance Center, the administering organization of the SNEP Network. Over the past 3 years, the SNEP Network has provided free technical assistance to SNEP communities to advance their climate resilience goals. This year, the SNEP Network is excited to work with four Massachusetts communities and one tribe to incorporate nature-based solutions in their stormwater planning, improve community outreach, perform ordinance reviews, and move their projects forward toward funding and implementation”.
“Restore America’s Estuaries appreciates the commitment of Senator’s Reed and the entire Rhode Island Congressional delegation, as well as the numerous state agencies and municipalities involved in shepherding the values of the Southeast New England Program” said Daniel Hayden, President and CEO of Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE). “With more than $1.9 million funding 11 exciting projects in the 2022 round of the SNEP Watershed Implementation Grants, RAE is confident we will continue to expand the vital work aimed at improving water quality and coastal resilience in the SNEP region.”
About the Network
The SNEP Network brings together 16 partner entities including local environmental organizations, academic institutions, regional planners, and consultants who work collaboratively to provide municipalities, tribes and organizations access to free training and technical assistance to advance stormwater management and ecological restoration goals across the region.
The SNEP Network is administered through EPA’s partnership with the New England Environmental Finance Center, a non-profit technical assistance provider for EPA Region 1, located at the University of Southern Maine, part of the University of Maine System.
The New England Environmental Finance Center EFC is one of 10 university-based Environmental Finance Centers in the nation and serves the 6 New England states of EPA Region 1. Its mission is to build local capacity to pay for the growing costs of protecting the environment and to be better prepared to manage the chronic and acute problems of environmental protection and finance. The New England EFC is based at the University of Southern Maine, part of the University of Maine system and situated in Portland, Maine’s economic and cultural center. USM is a public university with 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students and is known for its academic excellence, student focus and engagement with the community.
Media Contact: Phaeng Southisombath, SNEP Network Project Manager, 207-288-8164 or firstname.lastname@example.org.