|Mass.Gov Home Page||State Agencies||State A-Z Topic List|
Designated Port Area Bulletin - April 1998
Progress continues full throttle with port planning and dredge planning in the four major ports outside of Boston Harbor (Gloucester, Salem, New Bedford/ Fairhaven, and Fall River). Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management (CZM) is working with the four ports to ensure the success of these initiatives, which have been unanimously endorsed by the Seaport Council, chaired by former Congressman Peter Torkildsen. On behalf of the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA), CZM (in addition to several other state agencies) is administering the distribution of Seaport Bond funds for these and other projects. An update is given below.
Massachusetts' Port Planning Initiative
Port Plans are being developed for Gloucester, Salem, New Bedford/Fairhaven, and Fall River as part of Governor Cellucci's Seaport Action Plan. This Four Ports Initiative is being coordinated with the Dredged Material Management Initiative (see below).
A scope, or work program for the Port Plan, has been completed in all of the four ports. The second step in the port planning process, developing a Port Plan based on the scope, is moving ahead as scheduled. Both the scope and the plan are submitted to the Secretary of EOEA for approval. An approved Port Plan gives communities greater flexibility in implementing development strategies tailored to their needs and community vision. It also identifies fiscal needs for publicly-owned infrastructure critical to the plan's implementation.
The following is an update on port planning activities in the four ports over the last few months:
Gloucester - Since Gloucester's scope was approved in June, CZM and the community have been busily working to further the port planning process. EOEA executed contracts with Gloucester for the development of a Port Plan and for project management/coordination services. Gloucester selected Dale Brown as project coordinator and ICON Architecture as the harbor planning consultant. ICON's team includes FXM Associates, New Atlantic Development, Seafood Datasearch, Regina Villa Associates, and Fay/Spofford/Thorndike.
Gloucester's Harbor Plan Advisory Committee meets the first Monday of each month with Ms. Brown and representatives from ICON. To date, working with CZM and consultants, the committee has reviewed and accepted the following deliverables: Gloucester Harbor Plan public participation strategy, public outreach strategy, collaboration strategy, agency coordination strategy, decision process, plan schedule, information base, key findings and issues, and goals and evaluation criteria.
The first public workshop was held on March 26 at City Hall at 7:00 p.m. A newsletter will be distributed through the Gloucester Daily Times prior to the workshop. The agenda for the committee's April meeting includes: conclusions of the workshop, market assessment analysis, mapping of opportunities, and preliminary scenarios.
Salem - Salem's scope was approved by the Secretary in June, and since that time, EOEA executed contracts with Salem for project management/ coordination services and the development of a Port Plan. In November, Salem selected Fara Courtney as project coordinator and Cecil & Rizvi, Inc. as the harbor planning consultant. The consultant team also includes Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB), Byrne McKinney & Associates, Nucci Vine, Impact Research Associates, Bermello, Ajamil & Partners, Inc., Urban Harbors Institute, Harbor Consultancy International, and Management Strategies Limited.
The Harbor Planning Advisory Committee meets the fourth Thursday of each month. Working with CZM and the consultant team, the committee has reviewed and accepted the following deliverables: public participation strategy, public outreach strategy, collaboration strategy, agency coordination strategy, decision process, plan schedule, information base, and key findings and issues.
Following the distribution of the committee's initial newsletter, the first public workshop was held on March 18. The committee's March 26 meeting focused on conclusions of the workshop, goals and evaluation criteria, and preliminary scenarios.
CZM developed a scope of services for the second phase of the pre-development studies for the Port of Salem Expansion project (new Salem wharf), funded by monies released in October by the Seaport Council. The contract, signed by the Mayor on March 11, funds an engineering, environmental, and geotechnical impact study for the proposed pier construction for "New Salem Wharf." The study is expected to be completed by December 31, 1998.
New Bedford/Fairhaven - The New Bedford/Fairhaven scope was approved by the Secretary in February, 1997. Contracts are in place with New Bedford/Fairhaven for local management of the planning project, a harbor plan, and an economic/market feasibility study of a freight ferry terminal in the harbor. New Bedford/Fairhaven's local project manager, Peter Kortright, began work this summer, and the harbor planning consultant, VHB, started in September. VHB's consulting team includes: RKG Associates, Gillham Gander and Chin, and Childs Engineering.
Through the fall and early winter: the New Bedford/Fairhaven Harbor Planning Committee met regularly; a public informational meeting was held to inform harbor users of the planning effort and to begin to solicit their ideas on the harbor's future; and the first of three Harbor Planning Workshops was held. "Working Group" meetings were also held with members of the Seafood Processing Industry, Recreational Boating Industry, and the proposed New Bedford Aquarium project proponents. In addition, research is underway to develop the information needed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help justify the need for federal dredging of the navigational channel. Discussions have occurred with the Steamship Authority about future freight ferry service out of New Bedford Harbor.
Since the last DPA Bulletin the 13-member Harbor Planning Committee has had significant membership changes, especially with the New Bedford representation, where the new Mayor has replaced three members including the Committee Chairman. The new chairman is Tony Souza. One member from Fairhaven has also been replaced. These new members have brought a new energy and thought to the planning process. However, in order to get these new members up to speed on planning activities to date, there has been some adjustments in the local project schedule. Currently the committee is discussing various potential alternatives for the Port Plan. A large public forum, entitled Harbor Visions II: Bringing It All Together is scheduled for Saturday, April 4.
Fall River - The scope for the Fall River Harbor Plan was approved by Secretary Coxe in June and CZM executed contracts with the City to fund plan development and local management of the planning project. The local project coordinator, Mike Ferreira, was quickly selected and began working in July. Fall River selected The Cecil Group (formerly Cecil and Rizvi, Inc.) as the harbor planning consultant in October. VHB, RKG Associates, and Nucci Vine Associates are all included on this consulting team. The city, through its consultant, has been working hard on tasks including the Organization of the Planning Process, The Harbor Today, and The Harbor Tomorrow. The Planning Committee recently met to discuss The Harbor Today portion of the plan, and the city just had its first public workshop to present the findings of The Harbor Today and receive public input. The next public meeting will present the findings of The Harbor Tomorrow, and is likely to occur in mid- to late-April.
Massachusetts' Dredged Material Management Initiative
CZM is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop a statewide Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) to address the Commonwealth's dredging needs. The DMMP will identify and permit disposal alternatives that can accept dredged material unsuitable for unconfined ocean disposal from public and private dredging projects over the next 20 years. The DMMP is focusing on Gloucester, Salem, New Bedford/Fairhaven, and Fall River to coordinate with the Four Ports Initiative.
Phase 1 of the DMMP, the inventory and analysis of existing conditions, was completed in October on time and on budget. Phase 2, which is currently underway, entails the development of Environmental Impact Reports under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) for each of the ports. Working closely with each of the port communities, CZM will identify potential disposal sites; these sites will then undergo rigorous screening in the EIRs for social, environmental, and economic impacts. The EIRs establish the scope of investigations required by the state and federal agencies, the public, and the cities themselves.
The Phase 2 EIRs will focus on sediment characterization, natural resource identification, and a disposal site alternatives analysis. The EIRs, and particularly the identification of potential disposal sites, will be coordinated with the communities through the port planning process. This coordination is important because CZM will, through the EIRs, provide the technical information necessary to identify disposal sites and will make recommendations based on that information; however, it will be the responsibility of the port communities themselves to determine the appropriateness of any given site. The tentative schedule for Phase 2, subject to available funding and community consensus on a disposal site, is for permittable disposal sites to be identified and approved by EOEA in December of 1999.
Sediment sampling began on March 19, and draft results are anticipated in late May. The ports of Gloucester and Salem began the formal public comment phase of the project by filing with MEPA on March 16. New Bedford/Fairhaven and Fall River have requested additional time to review the project materials; an April MEPA filing is anticipated for these ports.
For More Information . . .