MIDDLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — After touring an area prone to flooding, Gov. Charlie Baker outlined a project that would make it more resilient to climate change and restore the habitat for fish and wildlife.
Baker, along with state and local officials, visited the Assawompsett Pond Cegion Friday, where past flooding has caused evacuations, property damage, failures to septic systems and interruption of critical utility and road infrastructure.
“The Assawompsett Pond region is a critical natural resource for Southeastern Massachusetts, offering valuable habitat, drinking water and outdoor recreational opportunities to residents,” Baker said. “Climate change is expected to worsen flooding issues in this area, and this state and local partnership will ensure the region is prepared for climate change while protecting public safety and wildlife habitat.”
The Assawompset Pond Complex provides drinking water for both Taunton and New Bedford, but the flooding mostly impacts Middleboro and Lakeville.
“Flooding doesn’t limit itself to town boundaries, so regional planning is essential,” Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said. “This project highlights the importance of working with communities and local stakeholders on vital local projects to create a more resilient Commonwealth for generations to come.”
In December 2019, the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration awarded $100,000 to the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District to design a floodwater management program.
Six priority projects were identified for managing flooding in the area, such as dam and fish ladder upgrades and repairs, culvert upgrades and wetland restoration.