2021 Environmental Achievement Award
Environmental Program Director, SRPEDD (Southeast Regional Planning & Economic Development District) of Massachusetts
For over 30 years, Bill Napolitano has been an inspiring partner in, and champion of, the health of the Taunton River Watershed and other regions in the Narragansett Bay watershed. And he has done so while working for a quasi-governmental economic development agency.
Bill has an impressive list of accomplishments, playing a vital role in the establishment of the Taunton River as a federally designated “Wild & Scenic River,” the first ever such designation in the Narragansett Bay watershed, and the establishment and leadership of the Wild & Scenic Stewardship Council.
Bill’s other accomplishments include: the Mill River Dam Removal/River Restoration Project; The Resilient Taunton Watershed Network; the Taunton River Trail project; helping to organize agricultural commissions in southeastern Massachusetts and statewide, and creating the SRPEDD Geographic Roadway Runoff Inventory (GRRIP) and Flood Inundation Hazard Programs.
He also played a key role in organizing the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program’s “Partners & Progress” event in Fall River in 2018, where more than 80 community members – scientists, planners, volunteers, students, and local, state and federal officials gathered to assess progress and identify new strategies to continue the restoration of the Taunton River.
Bill is known to say “it’s all about partnerships” because he lives by that mantra. He is quick to identify funding for community projects and assemble the partners needed to apply for grants and implement them. For the Save The Bay staff, Bill has been the best of partners, providing insights and strategies for working with local communities and governments, and a priceless kind of enthusiasm and moral support. Bill calls our collective work “fun with a purpose.”
While Bill was recipient of the EPA’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award, it is fitting that Save The Bay award him our 2021 Environmental Achievement Award for all he has done for the Taunton River and with the people who care deeply about its future.