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Welcome to CZ-Mail, the monthly email newsletter from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM). This update provides information on major CZM initiatives, available tools and publications, upcoming workshops and events, grants, contracting opportunities, job openings, coastal legislation, and other news of interest to people working on coastal issues. More information about CZM's programs, publications, and other coastal topics can be found online at http://www.mass.gov/czm/. If you have suggestions on how to make CZ-Mail more useful, would like to add your name to the mailing list, or would like to have your name removed, please email your request to CZ-Mail@state.ma.us.
All links on this web page were current and working on the date of publication.
Neponset Salt Marshes Restoration
On August 25, CZM's Wetlands Restoration Program and project partners gathered at the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation's (DCR) Neponset Salt Marshes Reservation to celebrate the restoration of about 15 acres of former and degraded estuarine habitat. In the 1950s, materials dredged from the Neponset River were deposited onto the marsh surface and a dike for the sewer main was built across the marsh. The restoration project involved removing and relocating acres of the dredged material fill as well as restoring tidal flow through a properly sized culvert under the dike. The project serves as an excellent example of the increasingly important role of public-private partnerships in realizing restoration results. From the public sector, partners included CZM, DCR, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the City of Boston. Partners from the private sector's Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership, included The Gillette Corporation, Great Meadows Farm, ICF Consulting, CH2M Hill, Inc., Earth Tech, and the ESS Group, Inc. Go to the Wetlands Restoration Program website for more information.
Cape Cod Water Resources Restoration
In conjunction with CZM, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), the Cape Cod Conservation District, the Barnstable County Commissioners, and a host of other partners, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is wrapping up the assessment phase of a large Cape Cod Water Resources Restoration Project. The project was enabled through the NRCS Small Watershed Program, which focuses on restoration and remediation of salt marshes, anadromous fish runs, shellfish beds, and storm water discharges. Following up on work previously conducted by state, regional and local agencies to inventory sites, NRCS is compiling restoration and remediation opportunities into a watershed plan (and Environmental Impact Statement). Implementation will begin after the watershed plan has been approved and federal assistance has been authorized. For more information, go to http://capecodcd.org/.
North Atlantic Right Whale Sightings Trigger DAM Closure
On July 12, an aerial survey reported a sighting of 31 endangered North Atlantic Right Whales southeast of Chatham in an area known as the Great South Channel. On July 24, five right whales were sighted east of Boston. These sightings have triggered two separate Dynamic Area Management (DAM) actions under the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan, administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service. Lobster trap/pot and anchored gillnet fishers were required to modify their gear to fish within the DAM zone through August 11. For more information about NOAA's efforts to protect right whales go to NOAA's website.
Record Red Tide Bloom Update
As of August 5, DMF has reopened large portions of state waters for harvesting, sale, and possession of shellfish, but many areas still remain closed. For the latest information about the red tide bloom in Massachusetts, including opening notices, an up to date map of the open areas, and a red tide information page containing details about current and planned monitoring and response efforts, go to the DMF website. In some years, a fall outbreak of red tide has occurred in the Gulf of Maine region. It is too soon to say whether this will happen in 2005. DMF will continue to monitor shellfish throughout the remainder of the summer and into the fall to detect such a bloom. Stay tuned to the DMF website for red tide updates.
MIT Sea Grant Eelgrass Education Project
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sea Grant, CZM, and the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center partnered to develop a hands-on coastal management project for middle and high school classrooms. The educational stewardship project is funded through MIT Sea Grant and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and focuses on eelgrass (Zostera marina)—the most abundant seagrass in Massachusetts. The goal of this two-year project is to develop a pilot program where students and teachers of Massachusetts schools grow eelgrass from seed, while increasing awareness of the ecological value, threats, and management strategies of eelgrass habitat, and promoting responsible stewardship for coastal resources. Seven classrooms (Dana Hall in Wellesley, Dedham High School, Essex Agriculture and Technical High School, Swampscott Middle School, Rockport High and Middle Schools, and Odyssey High School in South Boston) are participating in the project, which began in July. For more information, contact Brandy Wilbur at email@example.com, Anthony Wilbur at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to the Sea Grant website.
Commonwealth Capital - In an effort to encourage cities and towns to implement Governor Romney's 10 Sustainable Development Principles, the Office for Commonwealth Development (OCD) has launched year two of the Commonwealth Capital Campaign (Comm-Cap). Comm-Cap ensures that state sponsored grant programs support local planning efforts that foster smart growth and sustainable development practices. Under this incentive based initiative, grant programs such as CZM's Coastal Pollution Remediation Grant Program and the Coastal Nonpoint Source Pollution Grants Program have incorporated a Commonwealth Capital Score into the proposal evaluation criteria. Cities and towns applying for these grants are encouraged to submit a Commonwealth Capital Application to OCD, which will assign a final Comm-Cap score for the year. In cases where the respondent is not a municipality, the Comm-Cap score of the municipality (or an average of all municipalities) in which the project is proposed will be applied. The Commonwealth Capital Score will account for 30% of the proposal evaluation process. Get more information on the Comm-Cap campaign.
Low Impact Development Subdivision Demonstration Project - DCR is seeking a project to demonstrate the benefits of using Low Impact Development (LID) principles in a residential or mixed-use subdivision within the Ipswich River watershed. Up to $90,000 is available to demonstrate the benefits of LID techniques—those that maximize groundwater recharge, minimize impervious surfaces and site runoff, and preserve natural vegetation and open space. To download the RFR, visit the Comm-PASS website and search for document number "DCR 137." A brief project fact sheet is also available.
Gulf of Maine Habitat Restoration Grants - In partnership with the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service's Community-based Restoration Program, the Gulf of Maine Council provides grants to further the goal of habitat restoration and to support a strategic approach to marine, coastal, and riverine habitat restoration. It is strongly recommended that applicants submit a letter of intent to the appropriate state contact as soon as possible, but no later than September 30. For more information, including objectives for habitat restoration in the Gulf of Maine, eligibility requirements, a list of state contacts, and an application form, go to http://www.gulfofmaine.org/habitatrestoration/. Applications must be postmarked by November 18.
Reminders - The following funding opportunity listed in the last CZ-Mail is still available:
Priority Coastal Wetland Restoration Projects - CZM's Wetlands Restoration Program (WRP) will be issuing its annual call for Priority Coastal Wetland Restoration Projects on the Comm-PASS website in September. Each fiscal year, depending on available program funds, existing workload, and staff resources, CZM will designate a limited number of priority projects. Designated priority projects will be eligible to receive technical services supported by the Commonwealth, such as: wetland delineation, elevation survey, mapping and site planning, hydraulic analyses, impact assessments, title and deed exams, permitting, and monitoring. The application of technical services to a project depends on a number of factors, including the specific tasks required, estimated costs, availability of other resources (e.g. Federal grants, Corporate Wetland Restoration Partnership sources), and WRP staff resources and workload. Priority designation does not guarantee that a project will receive technical services. As a designated priority project, CZM will work with the project sponsor to implement the project through the various phases of restoration. At the outset, projects will be appraised, specific tasks will be outlined, cost estimates will be generated and matched to resources (e.g. Federal grants, Corporate Wetland Restoration Partnership sources, technical services), and a general timeline will be developed. A project will remain as a CZM priority as it moves through the various stages of restoration (including, for example, hydrological analysis/modeling, surveying, design, engineering, permitting, and construction), unless or until new information/data warrants a revision of status. Note that projects that were designed as "Priority" by CZM in previous rounds (FY04 or FY05) do not need to re-apply. Go to the current list of WRP priority projects.
Three Reports on Beach Health by Surfrider, EPA, and NRDC - Three reports are available that detail the health of the nation's beaches. The Surfrider Foundation released its 2005 State of the Beach report, which provides information on beach ecology, access, erosion and water quality. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a report entitled Testing the Waters, its 15th annual report on beach closures. Statistics in the NRDC report identified 21,061 beach closures and advisory days in 2004. This information is consistent with data released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Dangerously high bacteria levels, indicating the presence of human or animal waste, prompted 85 percent of the closing and advisory days. The main culprits are improperly treated sewage and bacteria-contaminated stormwater runoff. The jump in closures in 2004 can be partially attributed to expanded monitoring by EPA and the states under the federal Beaches Environmental Assessment, Closure, and Health Act (BEACH). Since the law was enacted in 2000, EPA has provided $42 million for testing of coastal water quality at 3,500 beaches. In 1997, only 1,000 beaches were being monitored.
Computer Model Available for Salt Marsh Restoration Planning - The Salt Marsh Assessment and Restoration Tool (SMART), a computer model to support salt marsh restoration planning is available from the Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET). The model informs the design of restoration projects seeking to reestablish tidal flow and return an area to native salt marsh habitat. Users can customize SMART with data specific to the proposed project, and then calculate whether the chosen strategy will restore tidal flow to a level conducive to a healthy salt marsh. SMART can also predict what will happen if no action is taken. To get a free copy of SMART on CD, email Dr. Ray Konisky at email@example.com.
Still Available - These CZM/EOEA products and publications, listed in the last CZ-Mail, are still available:
Coast Guide Online! - Just in time for the really hot weather, CZM has developed an easy-to-use online guide to beaches and coastal spots on the North Shore and in and around Boston. Based on CZM's Massachusetts Coast Guide to Boston and the North Shore publication, the website includes detailed, printable maps and brief descriptions of coastal areas that are open to the public. Specifically, sites within Boston Inner Harbor, Dorchester Bay-Quincy, North Gloucester, and Plum Island & Vicinity are now online. The sites range from small boat landings to bustling urban docks to wildlife refuge areas and site descriptions include facilities available, parking information, and, when applicable, hours of operation. For those looking for more places to explore, use the order form to request the printed Coast Guide, which includes almost 400 coastal sites from Salisbury to Hingham.
MPA Federal Advisory Committee Seeking Nominations - The Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) is seeking nominations for an individual to represent environmental interests and perspectives on MPA issues. The Committee is responsible for providing expert advice to the Departments of Commerce and the Interior on the development and implementation of a national system of MPAs. Nominations for this vacancy should be received by September 9, 2005. Nominations may be submitted for consideration for future vacancies on the MPA FAC at any time. For more information, visit the National Marine Protected Areas Center website.
Draft Environmental Impact Statement Comment Period Extended - The U.S. Coast Guard has reopened the public comment period for the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS) for the rulemaking on Vessel and Facility Response Plans for Oil; 2003 Removal Equipment Requirements and Alternative Technology Revisions. The DPEIS addresses the increase of the oil removal capacity requirements for tank vessels and marine transportation-related facilities and added requirements for new response technologies. Comments can be submitted by September 6 at http://www.uscg.mil/. Use Coast Guard docket number USCG-2000-7833.
Reminders - The following public comment period listed in the last CZ-Mail is still open:
COASTSWEEP 2005 - COASTSWEEP, the state-wide beach cleanup sponsored by CZM and the Urban Harbors Institute of UMass Boston, will kickoff its 18th year on Saturday, September 17. Volunteers throughout Massachusetts turn out in large numbers each year for cleanups, which are part of an international campaign organized by The Ocean Conservancy in Washington, DC. Participants all over the world collect marine debris and record the types of trash they find. This information is then used to help reduce future marine debris problems. Cleanups will be scheduled throughout September and October. For more information, or to get involved, go to the COASTSWEEP website.
Smart Growth Conference - The Massachusetts Smart Growth Conference will be held on September 16 in Worcester. The conference is designed to provide municipal officials, developers, state and federal agency staff, conservation and watershed associations, and concerned citizens, information about smart growth techniques, including open space residential design, transfer of development rights, transit oriented development, green building design, downtown revitalization, rural smart growth, and Chapter 40 R. Workshop topics include, Smart Growth for the Baby Boom Generation, Encouraging Smart Growth Development with Regulatory and Financing Tools, Water—Meeting Future Demand, and Selling Smart Growth. In addition, a panel of seasoned smart growth experts, moderated by Office for Commonwealth Development Secretary, Douglas Foy, will discuss policy issues facing state agencies and the newest funding sources and programs available to support smart growth development. The registration deadline is September 7.
Phragmites Field Identification Techniques Workshop - On September 15, the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Stratham, NH is holding a workshop to teach coastal land managers techniques for the identification of native and non-native Phragmites australis. Each participant will gain experience in the identification of Phragmites through field and laboratory work. Registration is limited to 25 participants. Contact Steve Miller at Steve@greatbay.org or (603) 778-0015 to register.
LID Workshops - The North and South Rivers Watershed Association (NSRWA) is holding a series of free workshops on Low Impact Development (LID) for municipal officials, volunteer board members, developers, engineers, and the interested public. The workshops will be held on September 22 and 23 at Town Hall in Kingston. Attendees will receive a copy of the "Reining in the Storm" LID video. LID is set of flexible land use planning strategies that work with the land and treat rainwater as a valuable resource. LID can be a cost-effective, more attractive type of development with features that include green roofs, rain gardens, vegetated swales, permeable pavement, and creative site design that is integrated into the landscape. For more details, including registration information, visit the NSRWA website.
Environmental Education Conference - Join the New England Environmental Education Alliance (NEEEA) in Sandwich on October 14-16 for the Conference Raising our Net Impact: The Next Generation of Environmental Education. For more information, including registration information, visit the NEEEA website.
Ocean and Coastal Law & Policy in Massachusetts Seminar - On October 28, an Ocean and Coastal Law & Policy in Massachusetts seminar will be held in Boston. This one-day seminar, designed for attorneys, engineers, regulators, developers and city & town officials, will provide an overview of ocean and coastal land use laws; examine federal and state laws, and the public trust doctrine; and evaluate the competing public and private interests. For more information, including registration details, go to the seminar website.
Docks and Marinas Engineering Conference - The University of Wisconsin-Madison will host Docks and Marinas 2005 on October 17-19 in Madison, WI. This conference and continuing education course is an opportunity for engineers, architects, designers, planners and others to learn emerging trends in designing, building and maintaining marina and dock facilities. Topics addressed at the conference will include: brownfield waterfront redevelopment strategies; transformation of run-down and neglected marinas; current trends in boats, and reducing winter ice damage to marinas and docks. The course is the only comprehensive engineering and construction course with sufficient class time (21 hours) to focus on many marina design issues in detail. For more information, visit the conference website. Registration is open until September 26.
Reminders - The following calendar items, posted in the last CZ-Mail, are still to come:
Massachusetts CVA Program Reaches Three Million Gallon Milestone - Since 1994, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries' (DMF) Clean Vessel Act (CVA) Program has removed in excess of 3,000,000 gallons of sewage waste from boats in the Commonwealth's marine waters. One of the first states to provide free, CVA funded pumpout facilities for recreational boaters, Massachusetts harbors have put more pumpout boats in service than any other state. This extensive coverage, coupled with many CVA funded shore side stations, provide the infrastructure needed to achieve the goal to designate all of the Commonwealth's coastal waters as a federal No Discharge Area. Each year, CZM, in coordination with DMF, produces the Boaters' Guide to Tide and Pumpout Facilities, a waterproof, wallet sized guide that contains pumpout facility locations along the Massachusetts coastline and a June-September tide chart. For a printed copy, email your request and mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wind Tower to Be Installed at Cape Cod National Seashore - This fall, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC) is installing a wind-monitoring meteorological tower at the Highlands Center in Truro, located in the Cape Cod National Seashore. The purpose of the tower is to collect data to determine the feasibility of a wind turbine at the site. The installation is funded by MTC, the Commonwealth's development agency for renewable energy. For more information about this project and other efforts, go to the MTC website.
DMF to Conduct Trawl Survey in September - DMF will begin its semi-annual resource assessment trawl survey on September 6. The survey, conducted in the spring and fall, provides information for many uses including stock assessments and environmental reviews. It is critical to the integrity of the survey that DMF maintain access to sampling sites from north of Cape Ann to Cape Cod. DMF asks that all fixed gear fishermen review sample site locations and that all fixed gear be kept clear of a 1.5 nautical mile diameter circle surrounding station locations for the periods indicated. Further details, including charts of trawl site locations are available on the DMF website.
Drawbridge Operation Regulations: Mitchell River - The Coast Guard has changed the drawbridge operation regulations that govern the operation of the Chatham Highway Bridge, mile 0.2, across the Mitchell River at Chatham. This final rule requires that from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., from May 1 through October 31, a one-hour advance notice be given for a bridge opening. This rulemaking also changes the on-call contact information. This action is expected to better meet the reasonable needs of navigation.