Buzzards Bay gets $4.2 million to restore habitats damaged by Bouchard oil spill

More than 11 years after the Bouchard B-120 oil spill devastated Buzzards Bay’s environment and damaged the local economy, the Bay is finally seeing funding to restore some of the shorelines, aquatic life, and shellfish beds that were damaged by the spill.

oil covering rocky shoreline of West Island after an oil spill

In 2003, an oil barge ran aground and spilled 98,000 gallons of fuel oil into the Bay. The spill killed fouled nearly 100 miles of beaches and marshes, including the shores of West Island in Nasketucket Bay.

This month, the Bouchard B-120 Trustee Council announced plans to award more than $4.2 million in settlement funds to 19 projects that will improve habitats and public access on the Bay. Two of these awards – Nasketucket Bay land protection and Weweantic River restoration – will help fund two major Coalition conservation projects.

On Nasketucket Bay, the Coalition will put $960,000 toward the Nasketucket Bay Land Conservation Project, which will forever protect more than 410 acres of fields and forests in Fairhaven and Mattapoisett. Not only will this project conserve land, wildlife habitats, and clean water, but it will also provide even more public access to the coastline.

With a $365,000 award, the Coalition will evaluate how best to restore fish passage on the lower Weweantic River at Horseshoe Mill. The Weweantic is the Bay’s largest tributary and one of its most important and unique habitats for migratory fish. River herring, rainbow smelt, brook trout, and other native species used to flock to the Weweantic each spring. But today, run-down remnants of the old mill block most fish from reaching their upstream spawning areas. Restoring this part of the river will support healthy fish populations and create a more welcoming place for local residents to enjoy.

Other projects that will be funded include restoring Round Hill Marsh and Allens Pond Marsh in Dartmouth, improving trails at coastal parks, installing public boat ramps in Dartmouth and Wareham, and seeding and transplanting shellfish to restore populations of quahogs, oysters, and bay scallops across the Bay.

In 2003, a barge operated by the Bouchard Transportation Company ran aground, spilling 98,000 gallons of fuel oil into the Bay. The spill killed sea birds, contaminated shellfish beds, and fouled nearly 100 miles of beaches and marshes. The Coalition worked with federal and state officials to guide these settlement funds toward projects that will restore resources that were most heavily harmed by the spill.

Category: On the Bay

Related Stories

The 10 best things that happened for Buzzards Bay in 2020

This year, the Buzzards Bay Coalition made significant progress on every front—ongoing pollution cleanup, focused land protection, active restoration, and community engagement—thanks to our supporters and partners, and together we will accomplish even more in 2021.

Full Story ›
How one 12-year-old raised over $1,000 for clean water at his first Buzzards Bay Swim

Marco Brunette of Concord had never seen Buzzards Bay when he decided to participate in the Buzzards Bay Swim. That didn't stop him from raising more than $1,000 for clean water.

Full Story ›
As official volunteer coordinator, Coalition working with partners to improve oil spill response

As the official volunteer coordinator for Buzzards Bay, the Coalition is your first call to find out what you can do in the event of a major oil spill.

Full Story ›

Current Issues

Oil Spills

New laws and better plans have made the Bay safer from oil today than it was 10 years ago. But oil spills remain a constant threat. That’s why the Coalition continues to advocate for the strongest possible protections for Buzzards Bay.

Read More ›

Working to Save Buzzards Bay

The Buzzards Bay Coalition is a membership-supported organization dedicated to improving the health of the Buzzards Bay ecosystem for all through education, conservation, research, and advocacy.

We work to protect clean water on the Bay and on the land: