Year in Review - 2010
(Published January 2011)
Welcome to the year-in-review edition of CZ-Mail, which highlights many of the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management's (CZM) accomplishments in 2010, provides news and information about our programs and regions, and discusses the notable achievements of our partners. CZM would like to thank all of the people and organizations that contribute their time, effort, and passion to working on issues important to the Massachusetts coast. It has been a pleasure to work with you over the past year, and we look forward to a positive and productive 2011.
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After the release of the ground-breaking Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan at the very end of 2009, in 2010 CZM focused its efforts on putting this plan into practice. From building on the science and data needed for effective planning to crafting changes in state regulations to aligning Massachusetts efforts with regional ocean management strategies, CZM began the process of effective implementation of the plan. Also in 2010, CZM continued its efforts to help coastal communities combat storm damage through its StormSmart Coasts program and made measureable progress working on pilot projects with Boston, Hull, Falmouth, Oak Bluffs, and the three-town region of Kingston, Duxbury, and Plymouth. Finally, 2010 marked the year when Massachusetts passed the half-way point for officially designating all coastal waters as No Discharge Areas (NDAs) for boat sewage. These and other CZM highlights for 2010 are summarized below.
Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan Moves into Implementation Phase
With the promulgation of the final Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan in December 2009, CZM's efforts in 2010 were focused on implementing this comprehensive approach to protecting marine resources and fostering sustainable uses in state ocean waters. The plan provides new protections for critical environmental resources in nearly two-thirds of the Commonwealth's coastal waters and sets standards for the development of renewable energy and other uses. As put forward in the plan's science framework (which identifies priority ocean management research projects), several key science and data needs were CZM priorities for 2010. One such effort is a study conducted jointly with the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership (MOP) and the Urban Harbors Institute (UHI) of the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Boston to identify patterns of recreational boating in marine waters. Also in partnership with MOP, CZM worked with researchers from UMass Dartmouth to refine and further develop their Gulf of Maine-wide ocean current circulation model, particularly to provide key physical oceanographic data in support of habitat modeling. CZM also coordinated with MOP on two other efforts: 1) a cumulative impact modeling project conducted by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, and 2) improvements to MORIS (the the Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System). In addition to these science-related tasks, work is underway on administrative elements of the plan, including the review of pertinent state regulations for amendments, development of performance indicators, and continued coordination with regional and federal levels of government.
National Ocean Policy in 2010
On July 19, the Obama Administration issued an Executive Order and Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force (IOPTF), establishing a new National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Coasts, and Great Lakes and directing all federal agencies to implement the policy and its priority objectives. Key elements in the IOPTF report and national policy include: creating a new National Ocean Council to oversee federal agency implementation efforts for the policy; improving coordination across jurisdictions; adopting ecosystem-based management; advancing research, monitoring, observations, and decision-support tools; and developing regional coastal and marine spatial plans to provide a more comprehensive, integrated, and proactive approach to planning and managing sustainable multiple uses. In December, representatives from the Departments of Commerce, Interior, Defense, and Homeland Security gathered at Faneuil Hall in Boston for a stakeholder meeting on the National Ocean Policy. The Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) welcomed the participants and introduced the federal panel, who provided an overview of the policy, priority objectives, and planned implementation activities. One of the central themes in remarks from the panelists and stakeholders was that the leadership and progress demonstrated by Massachusetts and its peers in the Northeast has positioned this region as a strong base for advancing more comprehensive and pro-active ocean planning, management, and stewardship.
Northeast Regional Ocean Council
At the regional level, 2010 saw important progress on the part of Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC)—as CZM worked with NROC's state and federal members and partners to advance actions on the regional priority issue areas: Ocean and Coastal Ecosystem Health, Coastal Hazards Resilience, and Ocean Energy Planning and Management. In addition, NROC began developing the context and basis for Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) in the region—a proactive response to the National Ocean Policy and Executive Order, laying the groundwork for implementation. Key NROC actions on CMSP included: creating a draft CMSP framework document that interprets guidance from the IOPTF recommendations to fit specific drivers and circumstances in the Northeast and incorporate input from regional stakeholders and partners; conducting a workshop in November to advance the regional dialogue on CMSP; improving collaboration with partners, including the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems and the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment, to advance elements such as regional data integration and accessibility and joint strategic planning; and submitting two proposals in response to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) funding opportunity for regional ocean partnerships. For more information and to download NROC's action plans for its priority issue areas and CMSP (including the regional CMSP framework), see the NROC website.
Ocean Survey Vessel Bold
In June, CZM staff conducted an eight-day survey in Massachusetts Bay on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Ocean Survey Vessel Bold—collecting samples of sediments and benthic organisms and shooting underwater videos of the seafloor and its marine life. The results are being used to groundtruth habitat maps of the seafloor created by CZM using a combination of surficial geology, bathymetry, and backscatter data. The survey also served as a pilot project to test collection and analysis methods in support of a larger seafloor mapping partnership between CZM and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) across all Massachusetts marine waters. The final habitat maps will help CZM refine the resource maps used in the 2009 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan and will assist CZM and other agencies in their siting and permitting of ocean uses. CZM's proposal was selected through a competitive process conducted by EPA Region 1, and the time and space provided by the OSV Bold represents a significant federal contribution to Massachusetts's ocean management efforts. CZM is currently examining the data to better classify the benthic habitats of Massachusetts coastal waters. Also, CZM will apply for ship time in 2011 to continue this important data collection component of the ongoing seafloor mapping program.
Through CZM's StormSmart Coasts program, seven cities and towns participating in five pilot projects took significant steps toward addressing coastal storm damage and sea level rise issues in 2010. The team of Duxbury, Kingston, and Plymouth worked together to help homeowners and the construction industry understand and address storm-damage risks in high-hazard coastal areas. A brochure and workshops outlined steps residents can take to ensure personal safety and prevent property loss while potentially reducing flood insurance premiums, resulting in long-term economic and environmental benefits. The brochure, called Protect Your Family and Your Home, is available on the Kingston town website. In May, the Oak Bluffs town meeting approved amendments to its floodplain overlay district bylaw that aim to minimize the impacts from storms, including property damage, lack of safe access for emergency response, economic costs, public health threats, and loss of public recreational areas. Special Permit Regulations to implement the new bylaw were adopted in September. Boston formed a partnership with local technical experts that resulted in the development of coastal inundation maps for the city. Boston is now drafting a "toolbox" of regulatory options to minimize public safety threats and damage to buildings. The town of Falmouth is developing a local multi-hazard mitigation plan to reduce anticipated risk to its residents, businesses, and municipal services due to flooding, sea level rise, and other natural hazards. Finally, the town of Hull has created an innovative incentive program to encourage builders to "freeboard," or elevate existing and new buildings above predicted floodwaters, which can substantially reduce flood insurance costs and decrease damage to homes by storms and flooding. See the StormSmart Coasts website for more information and updates on these and other projects
Pleasant Bay and Upper North Shore NDAs Approved
In July, EPA approved the state's proposal to designate the coastal waters of Pleasant Bay on Cape Cod as a No Discharge Area, which bans discharge of all boat sewage. Pleasant Bay is the largest estuary on Cape Cod and is one of the most biologically diverse and productive marine habitats on the East Coast of the United States. This NDA covers a 14-square-mile area in Harwich, Chatham, Orleans, and Brewster. In August, the coastal waters of the upper North Shore were also designated as an NDA, covering the 176 square miles of state waters from Gloucester to the New Hampshire border, including the tidal portion of the Merrimack River up to the Essex Dam in Lawrence. With this designation, nearly 60 percent of state waters are now no-dumping zones for boat sewage. Related efforts to authorize NDAs are underway for Nantucket Sound, Mt. Hope Bay, and the outer Cape from Chatham to Provincetown. For more on NDA activities along the coast, see the CZM NDA website.
Coastal Habitat Protection and Restoration
The former Wetlands Restoration Program, which was previously hosted within CZM, continued to fold its operations into the work of the newly created Division of Ecological Restoration (DER). The new DER also includes the former Riverways Program and is now located within the Department of Fish and Game (DFG). CZM staff continue to coordinate closely with DER to identify, implement, and monitor various coastal restoration projects. Highlights from completed projects in 2010 include:
- The Newman Road Salt Marsh Restoration Project in Newbury resulted in 33 acres of restored salt marsh when a new, larger box culvert replaced an undersized culvert under the road, greatly reducing scouring by the tides. The property, owned by The Trustees of Reservations, experiences free flowing tides for the first time in over a century.
- In Somerset, an undersized, failing culvert off of Labor-in-Vain Brook was replaced, leading to improved tidal flow to an 11-acre salt marsh. The project included the installation of a berm to prevent flooding to adjacent homes and the removal of portions of a regularly flooded parking lot to restore a tidal channel. The final result helps to protect coastal fish and plant habitat.
- The Straits Pond Restoration Project, located at the junction of Hull, Cohasset, and Hingham, is the largest tidal restoration project to date in the Commonwealth at 94 acres. Culverts and expanded tide gates were installed to increase flow between the pond and the Weir River estuary, which is part of the Weir River Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). Among the many partners, CZM's South Shore coordinator, Jason Burtner, stands out for his many hours spent spearheading this effort over the past decade.
- The Stony Brook Salt Marsh and Fish Run Restoration in Brewster, just completed in December, restores tidal flow to a 20-acre marsh and enhances fish passage to 3,000 feet of coastal stream and 386 acres of ponds used by herring by replacing an undersized culvert under Route 6A. NOAA funding, as well as collaborations from many partners, contributed to this success. With the completion of the Stony Brook project in Brewster, the state has managed more than 1,000 acres of wetlands restoration projects across the Commonwealth since these efforts began in 1998.
Coastal Landscaping Website
In March, CZM launched a new Coastal Landscaping website. Landscaping with native plants can help coastal property owners prevent storm damage and erosion, provide wildlife habitat, and reduce coastal water pollution—all while improving a property's visual appeal and natural character. The website presents: detailed information on the benefits of these landscaping techniques; step-by-step instructions on landscaping a bank, beach, or dune; tips for planting, installation, and maintenance; plant lists and photos; sample landscape plans; information on permitting; suggestions on where to purchase native plants; and links to additional information. The Surfrider Foundation's State of the Beach Report for 2010 recognized this website as one of the "Rad" programs that help to protect the nation's shores.
CZM Program Accomplishments
CZM's mission is to balance the impact of human activities with the protection of coastal and marine resources through planning, public involvement, education, research, and sound resource management. To achieve these goals, as well as to meet the needs of municipal officials, property owners, educators, and others in the coastal community, CZM maintains a range of programs. The 2010 accomplishments for each of these program areas are listed below.
- Ocean Plan Implementation - In addition to the efforts summarized in the 2010 Highlights section above, CZM was involved in a number of ocean plan implementation activities in 2010. First, EEA convened the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), DFG, the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA), and CZM staff to scope changes to existing state regulations necessary to implement the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan . These preliminary discussions included the potential need for changes to regulations under the Ocean Sanctuaries Act, Chapter 91 Tidelands Licensing, Section 401 Water Quality Certification, Wetlands Protection Act, and CZM Program regulations. EEA anticipates developing draft regulations for public review by mid-2011. CZM submitted the plan to NOAA's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management for formal incorporation into the state's coastal program and anticipates the review process to conclude in early 2011. Finally, CZM worked with UHI to identify specific data needs and methodologies necessary to implement the plan's performance measurement system, designed to provide an information-based assessment to ensure that the plan is achieving its goals.
- Recreational Use Study Completed and Data Analysis Underway - In response to an identified priority of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, Massachusetts boaters participated in a survey through the boating season to determine important recreational routes and destinations in the Commonwealth's coastal waters. This information will be used to ensure that these areas can be given appropriate attention in future management decisions. Thank you to the more than 1,300 boaters who volunteered to participate in the study. UHI led the study in partnership with MOP, Massachusetts Marine Trades Association, Massachusetts Harbormasters Association, Massachusetts Boating and Yacht Club Association, Sailors for the Sea, and CZM. Analysis and compilation of data collected during the study began in November, with a final report anticipated in early 2011. For more information, see the Massachusetts Recreational Boater Survey website.
- Cumulative Impacts Study - Scientists from the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis are finalizing a cumulative impacts study for state and adjacent federal waters. This study, conducted in partnership with MOP, applies a model developed for application at regional scale and incorporates data on marine habitats, human uses of the ocean, and potential ecological stressors. The result is a spatial model that can be displayed in map form, which indicates spatial gradations in potential cumulative impacts. This study is currently on schedule to be finalized in early 2011, and CZM anticipates reviewing its results for implications in ocean management.
- Offshore Wind Energy - 2010 was an eventful year for offshore wind energy planning. With CZM support, EEA continued coordination with the Bureau of Offshore Energy, Management, Regulation, and Enforcement and the Massachusetts-federal task force (which includes local, state, and federal officials) to develop a Request for Interest (RFI) in federal waters south of Massachusetts. (An RFI is the first step in the federal leasing process for renewable energy and essentially asks offshore wind energy interests to identify locations for potential development.) In late December, the RFI was published in the Federal Register. In addition, the governors of Massachusetts and Rhode Island signed an agreement in July to jointly explore wind development in an area of federal waters adjacent to the two states (this area is termed the Area of Mutual Interest or AMI). Under the terms of this agreement, no project will go forward without the agreement of both governors and the states sharing economic benefits equitably. In early December, representatives from both states (including members of the Massachusetts-federal task force) met to discuss a 1,000 MW (200 turbine) proposal from Deepwater Wind in the AMI.
- Gulf of Maine Council - In June, the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment (GOMC) launched the State of the Gulf of Maine Report to provide an introduction to the natural and socio-economic environment of the Gulf of Maine and present a more in-depth look at important issues. Priority issues for this living document range from climate change and invasive species to microbial pathogens and toxins. GOMC also continues to provide grants for habitat restoration projects within the Gulf of Maine watershed. In December, GOMC presented its annual awards that celebrate the accomplishments of the year. Jane Tims of New Brunswick received the third Susan Snow-Cotter Leadership Award for her participation in marine planning initiatives and her work as a mentor to many in and outside of government who are working on marine issues. The Longard Volunteer Award recognizes outstanding volunteers within the Gulf of Maine watershed. The 2010 recipient is Polly Bradley, co-founder of the non-profit organization Safer Waters in Massachusetts (SWIM). Through Polly's tireless work, SWIM has educated the public about the impacts of human activities on the marine environment and has organized numerous stewardship activities. Visionary Awards were presented to two individuals in Massachusetts who have demonstrated innovation, creativity, and commitment to protecting the marine environment. Jack Wiggin was selected for his extensive career at UMass Boston with UHI. His many accomplishments include leading a diverse research team that provided assistance throughout the development of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan. Dr. Judy Pederson with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sea Grant College Program received a Visionary Award for her work to ensure that the best science and the scientific peer review processes have been incorporated into Massachusetts environmental agency efforts. See the GOMC website for a list of previous award winners.
- Seafloor Mapping Initiative - CZM and USGS have published the fourth in a series of seafloor mapping reports. Geophysical and Sampling Data from the Inner Continental Shelf: Duxbury to Hull, Massachusetts contains geographic information system (GIS) data and technical explanations of data collection and processing of the Massachusetts inner continental shelf between Duxbury and Hull. The report was prepared as part of the cooperative mapping program between CZM and USGS, with additional hydrographic data provided by NOAA. Other reports in the series include: Nahant to Gloucester (2005), Boston Harbor (2006), and Cape Ann to Salisbury Beach (2009). Data from Cape Cod Bay will be released in 2011 and processing is underway on seafloor data already collected in Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound. Also in 2010, a sampling survey was completed to collect sediment and/or photos and video at 300 sites in Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound. Since 2003, this cooperative program has mapped the geology of approximately 2,000 square kilometers (772 square miles) of the Commonwealth's coastal ocean. For more information, see CZM's Seafloor Mapping Program website and the USGS project website or contact Dan Sampson at email@example.com.
Shoreline and Floodplain Management
- Oak Bluffs Addresses Storm Risk with Zoning Amendments and Regulations - As a CZM StormSmart Coasts pilot community, Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard focused on changes to local bylaws and codes to minimize the town's storm risk. After numerous meetings and deliberations, a team of local officials and citizens identified several zoning changes as the most effective tools to address the town's concerns. Specifically, amendments to the town's floodplain overlay district will prohibit new residential development and expansion of existing development in the most hazardous flood zones—those designated as V, VE, or AO zones by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In the less hazardous flood zones, designated as A zones by FEMA, the town will require a special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals. The amendments were presented to and approved by the town's selectmen and adopted at the Spring Town Meeting held in May. In September, the Oak Bluffs Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously to adopt special permit regulations that clarify the process and parameters for development within the floodplain district.
- StormSmart Coasts Community Hull Received National Award - The town of Hull was selected as one of three national recipients of NOAA's 2010 Walter B. Jones Memorial Awards for Excellence in Local Government. Hull was chosen to receive this prestigious award for its outstanding efforts at local management of coastal hazards. As a StormSmart Coasts pilot community, Hull continues to work with CZM to improve management of coastal development to reduce risks to people and property from coastal hazards. Specifically, Conservation Agent Anne Herbst played a key role in the development of an innovative tool to visualize inundation scenarios due to flood events and sea level rise, using the images to raise public awareness. Anne was also able to foster the creation of an innovative incentive program that encourages builders and homeowners to elevate new and renovated structures above predicted floodwaters (called "freeboard"). For details on the flood inundation methodology and Hull's freeboard incentive, see the StormSmart Coasts website.
- Falmouth Surveys Public for Hazard Mitigation Planning - This fall, the Falmouth StormSmart Coasts team requested public input to identify vulnerabilities and prioritize actions to minimize damages from flooding and other natural hazards. Surveys were completed by 54 citizens from all eight core areas of Falmouth. Coastal flooding due to storm surge and high winds are the natural hazards of greatest concern in Falmouth.
- StormSmart Coasts Building Workshop - In November, as part of a CZM StormSmart Coasts community pilot project, the towns of Duxbury, Kingston, and Plymouth hosted a workshop for engineering and building professionals that promoted responsible construction practices for effective coastal floodplain management. At the workshop, the Horsley Witten Group highlighted siting strategies and Simpson Strong-Tie presented construction techniques to the 40 local officials, contractors, and consultants in attendance.
- StormSmart Coasts Featured in Coastal Services Magazine - The November/December 2010 issue of Coastal Services, a NOAA Coastal Services Center magazine, highlights the implementation phase of CZM's StormSmart Coasts program.
- CZM Assists with International Building Code Effort - In 2010, CZM, in collaboration with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the MassDEP, assisted the Department of Public Safety's (DPS) Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) in writing the section of the 8th Edition of the State Building Code pertaining to floodplains and coastal dunes. For the Massachusetts code, DPS wrote "front end amendments" to modify the 2009 International Building Code (IBC) to be specific to the Commonwealth. For example, the 2009 IBC did not have prescriptive requirements that all new buildings in coastal dunes be constructed on open pilings—but this specific provision was included in the front end amendments. Builders now need to read both the International Code and the Massachusetts specific amendments. The new code for commercial buildings (larger than two-family residences) went into effect in August. Until February 6, builders can choose to build under either code, without mixing provisions. After that time, the new code must be used. Copies of the front end amendments and the 2009 IBC are available from the State Bookstore. The BBRS, with the help of CZM, MassDEP, and DCR, is now working on amendments for the International Residential Code (one- and two-family homes). For more information, see the BBRS website .
Coastal Water Quality Protection
- CPR Grant Program Concludes Another Successful Year - Through the Coastal Pollutant Remediation (CPR) Grant Program, CZM and EEA awarded $360,000 in 2010 to coastal communities to reduce nonpoint source pollution. Projects were funded to design and install progressive stormwater remediation practices, including bioretention cells, pervious pavers, and wetlands retention basins. Fiscal Year 2010 CPR recipients are:
- Brewster - $20,142 to open shellfish areas that were closed due to contamination, improve coastal habitats, and improve water quality at public bathing beaches through continued improvements to untreated stormwater discharges to the Stony Brook Watershed.
- Duxbury - $120,515 for stormwater treatment infrastructure at three locations to address pollutant discharges to Kingston Bay and "the Nook."
- Oak Bluffs - $102,924 to protect shellfishing in Oak Bluffs Harbor by installing a rain garden/modified gravel wetland system to treat stormwater discharges.
- Provincetown - $116,419 to improve water quality and protect shellfish beds by installing stormwater treatment infrastructure within the West End Parking Lot to control direct stormwater discharges to Provincetown Harbor.
- COASTSWEEP 2010 - COASTSWEEP celebrated its 23rd anniversary this year. Part of an international effort organized by the Ocean Conservancy, COASTSWEEP is the statewide annual beach cleanup sponsored by CZM and UHI. Although final results from the 2010 cleanups are still pending, preliminary reports show that approximately 2,300 COASTSWEEP volunteers cleaned more than 100 miles of coastline, river bank, marsh, seafloor, and lakeshore in Massachusetts—collecting 21,037 pounds of debris from 100 locations. To kick off the cleanup efforts, CZM Director Deerin Babb-Brott and COASTSWEEP Coordinator Robin Lacey welcomed 100 dedicated volunteers at Lynn Shores and Nahant Beach Reservation in Nahant on September 25. From a distance, the beach looked pristine, but together these volunteers collected more than 3,500 cigarette butts, 800 food wrappers and containers, and 400 plastic bags—a total of approximately 250 pounds of marine debris. CZM and UHI would like to thank all of the hard working volunteers that participated in COASTSWEEP 2010. Special thanks go out to the Friends of Lynn and Nahant Beach, Salem Sound Coastwatch, Nahant SWIM, and Virgin Atlantic for recruiting volunteers and supporting the kickoff. Thank you also to Dunkin Donuts for donating breakfast and to the Ocean Conservancy for providing each of our volunteers with a reusable shopping bag. And of course thanks go out to the generous 2010 COASTSWEEP sponsors—Massachusetts Environmental Trust, Ocean Conservancy, Massachusetts Marine Trades Association, Weston Solutions, and Cape Cod Potato Chips. For more information about this year's efforts or to get involved in future COASTSWEEP cleanups, see the COASTSWEEP website . Also, check out COASTSWEEP photos on Facebook, or see a video of kickoff highlights from the Mass Great Outdoors Blog.
Data and Information Management
- CZM Receives Federal Grant for Data Acquisition and Management - Through a competitive grant program offered by NOAA's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resources Management, CZM secured $148,800 in federal funding to expand, modernize, and improve MORIS by incorporating critical land-use and permit information, expanding its accessibility, and providing training and outreach to end users. The program was highly competitive: of 21 eligible applications vying for $1 million in available funding, CZM's was one of six successful proposals. Resources from this grant will be used to:
- Modernize the Massachusetts Shoreline Change Project by developing a contemporary shoreline, analyzing change rates, and serving this information as geospatial data on MORIS.
- Develop a coastal permit database to manage, track, and assess federal consistency applications and decisions. This searchable database will capture specific information about project permits and allow its integration into MORIS so that resulting data layers can be mapped. Initial data mining will cover projects that have received federal consistency concurrence over the past 10 years and focus on coastal hazards management, including shoreline stabilization, dredging, beach nourishment, and ocean dredge material disposal projects.
- Maximize MORIS use and accessibility by publicizing the availability of new MORIS data/features, developing guidance materials, and training end users.
- Spatial Data for Final Ocean Management Plan Now in MORIS - The spatial information that was incorporated into the final Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan is now available in MORIS, CZM's online mapping tool. MORIS presents all the data layers featured in the final plan maps, with each layer symbolized to match the hardcopy and PDF versions of the maps. In MORIS, users have the ability to read the metadata that accompanies each layer and combine data layers with other CZM and Massachusetts Office of Geographic and Environmental Information (MassGIS) data to create customized maps. Also, the layers can be downloaded as industry standard ESRI shapefiles. For questions about the map layers or MORIS, contact Daniel Sampson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2009 Marine Invasive Species Data Now Available in MORIS - Data layers representing the distribution of 12 priority marine invaders are now available to view through MORIS. The new layers were created from observations at 65 monitoring sites during 2009 by partners and citizen scientists of CZM's Marine Invader Monitoring and Information Collaborative (MIMIC). For more information, see the Aquatic Invasive Species Program Accomplishments below, or contact Adrienne Pappal at email@example.com.
Project/Federal Consistency Review
- Renewable Energy Projects - CZM continued its participation in the pre-application discussions with the town of Edgartown for its proposed tidal energy project. This project, employing horizontal helical turbines to generate energy from the tidal flow in the channel, is to be located in Muskeget Channel between Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. The project is presently in the pilot project design stage and CZM will continue its review as this project progresses through the permitting process.
- Dredging and Beach Nourishment Projects - During 2010, CZM reviewed a number of dredging proposals submitted for federal consistency review. These projects included the Stage Harbor dredging project in Chatham, the Sengekontacket Inner Channel dredging and beach nourishment project in Oak Bluffs, and the Swan Pond River dredging and beach nourishment project in Dennis. CZM also continued its involvement in the dredging of the federal navigation channel at the entrance of the Merrimack River, which was completed in October. The dredging resulted in the placement of approximately 43,000 cubic yards of sand on the beach in Salisbury and 170,000 cubic yards on Plum Island, north of the center island groin. CZM is presently a participant, as a member of the Merrimack River Beach Alliance, in addressing the continuing erosion issues on Plum Island.
- EPA NPDES Permits - As part of CZM's federal consistency review of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, concurrences were issued for eight permits/renewals/modifications, including Wheelabrator Saugus, Twin Rivers Technologies Quincy, the North Station Terminal, and the New England Aquarium Off-Site Holding Facility. Also reviewed was the Remediation General Permit (RGP) for groundwater remediation facility discharges in Massachusetts coastal waters. Presently under review are General Permits for Small Municipal Separate Storm Systems in North and South coastal waters, a General Permit for Certain Publicly Owned Treatment Works and Other Facilities Treating Domestic Sewage, and a nationwide Pesticide General Permit.
- GPCS Fiber Communications Fairhaven to Martha's Vineyard Fiber Optic Cable Project - CZM provided comments to MEPA and technical assistance to the proponent on a proposal to install a fiber optic feeder cable under Buzzards Bay from Fairhaven to Woods Hole, then under Vineyard Sound from Woods Hole to Tisbury. This project is the first to be considered within the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan. Under the plan, as a cable infrastructure project, the proposed project must avoid certain Special, Sensitive, or Unique areas, including areas of hard/complex seafloor, intertidal flats, and eelgrass. With input from CZM and other agencies, the proponent is working on developing a route that avoids these areas or any impacts to them. Review is ongoing.
Port and Harbor Planning
- Port and Harbor Planning Activities - A number of communities have been working on, or have completed work on, existing or new harbor plans in 2010. On the North Shore, the city of Lynn Municipal Harbor Plan and Designated Port Area (DPA) Master Plan was approved by EEA in June. The plan seeks to revitalize the city's waterfront through strategic redevelopment and creation of public open spaces and amenities, encouraging and expanding compatible marine industries and supporting uses within the DPA, and enhancing the connection between the Lynn downtown area and the waterfront. The plan contains provisions to provide greater building heights and setbacks from the waterfront to create mixed-use neighborhoods that maximize public open space and water views during Chapter 91 licensing. The public benefits associated with the plan feature enhanced public access and public open space, including a unified series of public spaces along a waterfront promenade and the creation of a signature park for staging community events and celebrations. CZM provided the city with harbor planning technical assistance throughout the process. See the full MHP decision for additional details. On the South Shore, CZM facilitated interagency review and coordination with the town of Scituate regarding Chapter 91 considerations for the draft harbor plan. CZM and staff from the MassDEP Waterways Program provided a harbor planning overview at a public informational meeting of the Cohasset Planning Board, Conservation Commission, Harbor Committee, Selectmen, and town residents as part of town's consideration in developing a harbor planning initiative. On the South Coast, the New Bedford and Fairhaven harbor plan was approved by EEA in June. This new five-year plan, which is a renewal of the original 2002 plan, includes four overriding community goals: support of traditional harbor industries, improvement of harbor infrastructure, capture of new port opportunities, and enhancement of the harbor environment. The plan is also unique from other harbor planning efforts in that it seeks to closely coordinate harbor planning activities with EPA's Superfund cleanup of the harbor and the State Enhanced Remedy provisions of Superfund. See the full MHP decision file size 2MB for further details. For more information about CZM's harbor planning efforts, contact CZM's Regional Coordinators.
- Designated Port Areas - In 2010, CZM's Designated Port Area technical advisory committee, formed in 2009, completed review of the Commonwealth's Designated Port Area policies and tools and finalized recommended policy and regulatory changes designed to ensure that the state's DPA policy reflects a prudent balance between preserving critical marine industrial assets while affording municipalities flexibility in commerce and economic development that is harmonious with the principles of the working waterfront. The recommended DPA policy and regulatory changes should be finalized in 2011.
Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program
- NEW: 2012 Nominations - CZM anticipates the release of an RFR in early February 2011 seeking applications for funding under the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP). CELCP provides state and local governments with matching funds to purchase significant coastal and estuarine lands (or conservation easements on such lands) that are considered important for their ecological, conservation, recreational, historical, or aesthetic values. Applications will be reviewed and ranked for possible nomination to NOAA for evaluation and potential Federal Fiscal Year 2012 CELCP funding. CZM anticipates that responses will be due in late March and nomination packages due to NOAA early in April. CZM encourages municipalities and other prospective applicants to begin planning and developing potential land conservation projects. CZM staff is available to provide guidance prior to the RFR release. To discuss potential project ideas with CZM, contact David Janik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aquatic Invasive Species
- Marine Invader Monitoring and Information Collaborative - During the summer of 2010, volunteers from CZM's Marine Invader Monitoring and Information Collaborative (MIMIC) continued to collect important data about the distribution of marine invasive species in New England waters. Established in 2006, MIMIC seeks to understand distributional patterns of marine invasive species, enable timely data collection to inform managers and rapid response efforts, and provide education on marine invasive species and how to control their spread. In 2010, nearly 100 volunteers from 12 partner groups were trained to monitor for priority marine invasive species at 65 sites in Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Highlights included the first sighting of the invasive tunicate, Didemnum vexillum, at floating docks in Mount Hope Bay. This species is highly aggressive and has been expanding its range since first discovered in Maine in the 1980s. Data layers representing the distribution of this species and 12 other priority marine invaders are now available to view through MORIS. To view the marine invasive species data layers, see the MORIS website. Once you launch MORIS, the data layers can be found in the "2008 Monitoring" and "2009 Monitoring" folders, under the "Marine Invasive Species" folder, in the "Biological Data" folder. Data from the 2010 monitoring season will be available in the first half of 2011.
- 2010 Rapid Assessment Survey - From July 24-August 1, an expert team of taxonomists were on the hunt for marine invaders throughout New England as part of the 2010 Rapid Assessment Survey (RAS). The RAS, coordinated by CZM and the MIT Sea Grant College Program, has occurred roughly every three years since 2000. The survey provides an opportunity to discover new marine invaders through a close inspection of flora and fauna. This year, 16 sites from Rhode Island to Maine were monitored for both native and non-native marine species. In addition, the RAS team surveyed four rocky shores to allow for comparisons of species and community assemblages between artificial and natural habitats. Funding for the survey was provided through the National Estuary Programs in New England and the Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel. For more information on the Rapid Assessment Survey, see the Aquatic Invasive Species Program website.
- Scientists Find New Marine Invader in 2010 Rapid Assessment Survey - During the Rapid Assessment Survey in July, a team of 20 scientists led by CZM and the MIT Sea Grant College Program discovered a new non-native shrimp in Salem Sound. The rock pool shrimp Palaemon elegans is a European species that can grow to over two inches in length and is able to consume a number of smaller marine organisms. The sighting was hailed as a major discovery by Dr. Jim Carlton, invasive species expert and Director of the Williams College/Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program, who, along with his students, first spotted the shrimp. His students have since returned to Salem and collected an additional 70 individuals. Although it is as of yet unclear what risks the invading shrimp poses to the marine environment, the Massachusetts Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Working Group has begun the task of gathering information on this species to evaluate potential impacts and possible management strategies. For more information about the Massachusetts AIS Working Group or the surveys, see CZM's Aquatic Invasive Species Program website.
- Invasive Species in the Gulf of Maine - CZM's Aquatic Invasive Species Program has released a review paper, Marine Invasive Species, which describes the impacts, vectors, emerging threats, and management responses to these species in the Gulf of Maine. Authored by CZM's Adrienne Pappal, the paper presents the first synthesis of marine invasive species information specific to the Gulf of Maine ecosystem—a useful resource for managers, researchers, and those interested in marine invasive species. This paper was written as part of the Gulf of Maine Council's State of the Gulf of Maine Report—a modular, living document that presents an on-going evaluation of priority issues in the Gulf of Maine. A number of theme papers on climate change and emerging issues have been released to date, and additional theme papers are in production. For more information on CZM's invasive species efforts, see the Aquatic Invasive Species Program website.
- CZM Emergency Management in 2010 - CZM's Joe Pelczarski serves as EEA's representative to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). For emergency events, he coordinates EEA's communications and response activities from the MEMA Emergency Operations Center in Framingham. In 2010 there were four activations of the state Emergency Operations Center involving CZM, a winter storm in February, the March Floods during which President Obama visited the State Emergency Operations Center, Hurricane Earl in September, and the northeaster snowstorm on December 26-27. CZM coordinated training for the Coastal Damage Assessment Team and the update of Continuity of Operations Plans and Continuity of Government Plans for EEA, participated in chemical and biological hazard planning and training and the Drought Management Task Force, gave a presentation on storm surges to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Team, and took part in conference calls and distributed information to EEA and other agencies on weather and other hazards that impacted Massachusetts. For more information on emergency management, see MEMA's website.
- Storm Team Aided by New Damage Reporting Tool - In March, the state's Rapid Response Coastal Storm Damage Assessment Team (Storm Team) was active during three events, putting StormReporter to the test. StormReporter, an innovative new web tool, enables rapid delivery and archiving of storm damage information to inform emergency response activities, weather predictions, and project planning. CZM partnered with the National Weather Service (NWS) and the national StormSmart Coasts Network to standardize data collection and make StormReporter operational for the Storm Team, as well as local beach teams and citizens interested in reporting coastal storm damages in their communities. Comprehensive training for the state team was held in May. Version 2.0 of StormReporter is now being developed, thanks to support from the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS). For more information, contact Julia Knisel at email@example.com.
- More Storm Team Action in the December Northeaster - At the request of MEMA, CZM activated the Storm Team on December 26 to assess storm damage from the northeaster. A storm surge of almost four feet coincided with the high tide on the morning of December 27, which caused beach and dune erosion, coastal flooding, and storm damage along most of Massachusetts's northeast-facing shorelines. Sixteen members of the Storm Team mobilized to assess the level of damage to beaches, dunes, roads, and buildings along the immediate coastline. Damage reports were provided to MEMA, NWS, and other agencies to inform decisions regarding the deployment of state and federal resources and NWS advisories regarding the storm.
Underwater Archaeological Resources
- Archaeological Site Work - Fieldwork opportunities took an unusual turn in 2010 for the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources (BUAR). An unanticipated result of recent storm action has been the uncovering of unknown shipwrecks and intact remnants of ancient forests. One such forest feature was dated to roughly 2,700 years ago. Such coastal sites have the potential to yield information on how ancient Native Americans responded to climate change and sea level rise. By examining well-preserved examples from the geologic record, past trends can be extrapolated into the future as sea level rise rates increase—and an informed perspective of how present-day coastal landscapes will respond can thereby be established. For more information about underwater archaeology in the Commonwealth, see the BUAR website.
- Archaeological Interns - Interns provided significant assistance to BUAR this year. Action for Boston Community Development supplied four paid Boston high school interns under its career exploration program. Denise Caban, Josh Malone, Andy Li, and Anthony Martinez assisted BUAR during the spring and summer of 2010. Their efforts centered on updating and expanding BUAR's shipwreck inventory files and providing some administrative support. In the late summer, Richard Sullivan, graduate of University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, joined BUAR as an unpaid post-graduate Research Fellow to develop draft policy guidance documents. In the fall, Worcester State College undergraduate student, Shawn Joy, joined BUAR as an unpaid Research Assistant continuing work on the shipwreck inventory.
- Battle of Chelsea Creek Grant - BUAR was awarded a grant from the National Park Service's American Battlefield Protection Program to study the American Revolutionary War Battle of Chelsea Creek. This little known battle, on May 27-28, 1775, was the first victory for the "United Colonies" and the first naval engagement of the Revolution, resulting in the capture and burning of HMS Diana. BUAR Director Victor Mastone and UMass graduates Craig Brown and Chris Maio are reconstructing battle events and the historic landscape to define and interpret the battle and hopefully locate the remains of HMS Diana.
- Marine Archaeology Celebrated in October - October was Massachusetts Archaeology Month. In celebration, BUAR participated in the Archaeological Institute of America's Archaeology Fair at the Boston Museum of Science. On October 14, the fair was directed to school groups and on October 16 to families and the general public. BUAR activities included a mock "dig" of a shipwreck and other exhibits. BUAR Director Victor Mastone was assisted by BUAR Research Fellow Richard Sullivan and Boston University undergraduate students, Sandy Shaw and Caitlin Davis. Later that month, Graham McKay, local maritime archaeologist and historian, and BUAR Director Victor Mastone were at Lowell's Boat Shop in Amesbury for an intertidal dig. The floors of the shop have been swept into the river for more than 200 years. Participants in the dig surveyed in the intertidal zone under the shop's old debris chutes.
Coastal Habitat Protection
- Wetlands Monitoring and Assessment Program Wraps Up Second Season - This fall, CZM completed the second year of assessing the biological conditions of salt marshes in Massachusetts, working hand-in-hand with MassDEP to continue the development of a robust Wetlands Monitoring and Assessment Program for the Commonwealth. During the 2010 monitoring season, CZM staff led two teams of researchers from CZM, MassDEP, and Salem Sound Coastwatch to collect data on vascular plants, macroinvertebrates, and habitat complexity at 70 sites across coastal Massachusetts. In 2009, 45 sites were sampled using the same protocols. All sampling data will be analyzed to evaluate a landscape-level GIS model developed by UMass Amherst researchers. The innovative computer model and program—Conservation Assessment and Prioritization System (CAPS)—predicts ecological integrity for any given point on the landscape using more than 25 specialized metrics. UMass, CZM, and MassDEP have recently enhanced the model by adding metrics specific to salt marshes (e.g., tidal restriction, ditching, etc.). The computer program lends itself to many applications and is capable of running scenario analyses for evaluating alternatives to proposed projects. An additional 50 sites were sampled for vegetation to assess the model's ability to predict land-use impacts on salt marsh border communities. Data from 185 sites, including 20 sites to be sampled in 2011, will be used to verify and calibrate the CAPS computer model. The protocols used in this study build upon tools developed through more than 15 years of salt marsh assessment at CZM. Funding support is provided by EPA Region 1 and MassDEP. Additional information will be available on the CZM website in the coming months. For more information on this project, please contact Marc Carullo at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jan Smith at email@example.com.
- CZM Provides Expert Testimony on Great Marsh Development - In May, CZM provided key testimony in a wetlands adjudicatory case to support MassDEP's efforts to oppose the proposed construction of a house elevated on stilts in Newbury—located within a state designated ACEC. The key issues revolved around the biological and regulatory definition of a salt marsh, using the invasive common reed, Phragmites australis, as a vegetative indicator. The MassDEP Wetlands Program prevailed in their efforts and the case helped to establish that tidal wetlands are best defined by the salinity of tidal flow (considered to be water with greater than 0.5 parts per thousand of salt) on a site, rather than strictly by the presence of Phragmites, which can thrive in both fresh and salt marsh conditions. Phragmites cannot now be used by itself to define Bordering Vegetative Wetlands. In addition, the final decision affirmed support for the standard that any project within an ACEC must meet-that is "no adverse impact" to any coastal resource. The proposed project was entirely contained within the boundaries of the Great Marsh ACEC.
- Coastal Habitat Grant Awards - In May, EEA and CZM awarded more than $102,000 in grants to Massachusetts communities and organizations through CZM's Coastal Habitat Grants Program. Recipients of these 2010 awards include the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, Salem Sound Coastwatch, Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Harwich Conservation Trust, and the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Funding will be used to expand monitoring of priority invasive species, to develop comprehensive watershed restoration plans, and for design work to restore natural flow and diadromous fish runs.
CZM Regional Offices
CZM works closely with communities to ensure that local decision making is based on sound coastal management principles. CZM serves as a liaison between federal and state programs and municipal authorities, coordinates regional environmental management initiatives, performs federal consistency review, and provides technical assistance. CZM's regions are North Shore, Boston Harbor, South Shore, Cape Cod and Islands, and South Coastal. The 2010 accomplishments for each region are provided below.
North Shore (Salisbury to Revere)
- No Discharge Areas - In August, EPA approved the state's proposal to designate the coastal waters of the upper North Shore as a vessel NDA, which prohibits the discharge of any treated or untreated waste in a 176-square-mile region of state waters in Gloucester, Rockport, Essex, Ipswich, Rowley, Newbury, Newburyport, Salisbury, Amesbury, West Newbury, Merrimac, Groveland, North Andover, Haverhill, Methuen, and Lawrence. The designation caps a year-long effort involving extensive work by CZM and the 16 communities. With this designation, all of CZM's North Shore region is now a no-dumping zone for boat sewage. For more on NDA activities along the coast, see CZM's NDA website.
- Technical Assistance - In 2010, CZM staff continued to work with the city of Lynn to develop the city's first Municipal Harbor Plan and Designated Port Area Master Plan to promote and facilitate water-dependent uses of Lynn Harbor. The plan was approved by EEA in June 2010. North Shore regional staff also continued to participate in the Merrimack River Beach Alliance, a group of federal, state, and local stakeholders that met to facilitate beach nourishment activities for a severely eroded area on Plum Island beach. The dredging and nourishment project was successfully completed in October 2010, and the group continues to meet to address longer-term methods to address the erosion issues in this region. CZM continues to coordinate the very popular North Shore Regional Conservation Commission Network, providing regular training for North Shore Conservation Commissions and their staff. This network facilitates coordination between the cities and towns and state agencies and supplies an avenue for discussion of new regulatory and policy tools. Regional staff also continues to take part in the Great Marsh Coalition, a diverse team of state agency and nonprofit organizations formed to strategize ways to improve awareness and promote stewardship of the North Shore's Great Marsh region.
Boston Harbor (Winthrop to Weymouth)
- Boston Logan Airport Runway Safety Improvements - CZM is a member and continues to provide technical assistance to the inter-agency working group reviewing the proposed project to improve the runway safety areas at the end of runways 22R and 33L at Logan Airport. Presently, the main effort of the group is to identify suitable mitigation options for the impacts to eelgrass, salt marsh, and shellfish. Federal Aviation Agency guidelines on hazardous wildlife attractants on or near airports limit the establishment of restoration sites to those further than 10,000 feet away from the airport. Sites under consideration for mitigation include Rumney Marsh in Saugus, Broad Meadows in Quincy, White Head Flats in Hull Bay, and Old Harbor in Boston Harbor. Discussions are on-going, with permit issuance anticipated for mid-2011.
South Shore (Hingham to Plymouth)
- Straits Pond Restoration Project - The Straits Pond Restoration Project was completed in October. This project entailed the replacement of a deteriorating and undersized culvert with an expanded culvert and tide gates to increase tidal exchange between Straits Pond and the Weir River Estuary. These upgrades will restore 94 acres of tidal pond habitat and improve tidal flow to a critically impaired estuary, which is part of the Weir River ACEC and provides valuable nursery and feeding habitat for a variety of recreational and commercial fish. Improved water quality will also reduce nuisance algal blooms and seasonal infestations of midges, which have been a serious quality-of-life issue for area residents for decades. This is the largest tidal restoration project in the Commonwealth to date. The project culminated in a large public event attended by local, state, and federal elected officials, participating state and federal agencies, the Straits Pond and Weir River Watershed Associations, and the public at large.
- Technical Assistance - In 2010, CZM provided technical, grant writing, monitoring, and coordination assistance to a number of regionally significant wetland restoration and stewardship projects. These efforts included: preliminary tide level monitoring for the Jones River, Stony Brook, and Tussock Brook in Kingston; water quality and water level monitoring in the Green Harbor River; tier-2 feasibility analysis for the Broad Cove restoration project in Hingham; assistance to the town of Duxbury on the successful completion of CPR-funded stormwater mitigation project; work with the town of Cohasset to implement the state-funded James Brook/Jacobs Meadow flood mitigation and wetlands restoration program; assistance to the NOAA/National Weather Service Flood Inundation and Visualization Pilot Project in Scituate; and support to the StormSmart Coasts program on a variety of storm damage and flood prevention issues for StormSmart pilot communities, including the Building to Code workshop held in Plymouth.
Cape Cod & Islands (Bourne to Provincetown and the Islands)
- No Discharge Areas - In July, EPA approved the state's proposal to designate the coastal waters of Pleasant Bay on Cape Cod as a vessel NDA. This NDA prohibits discharge of any treated or untreated waste in a 14-square-mile region of state waters in Harwich, Chatham, Orleans, and Brewster, protecting one of the most diverse and productive marine habitats on the East Coast. The designation finalizes a year-long effort involving extensive work by CZM and the Pleasant Bay Resource Management Alliance in conjunction with the four communities. Also on the Cape and Islands, efforts are underway to authorize NDAs in Nantucket Sound and the outer Cape from Chatham to Provincetown. For more on NDA activities along the coast, see CZM's NDA website.
- Technical Assistance - CZM worked closely with Conservation Commissions throughout the Cape and Islands Region and continued coordinating the Cape and Islands Conservation Commission Network. CZM staff serves on the Barnstable County Dredge Advisory Committee and participated in a local and state work group to develop flexible Time-of-Year permit conditions for dredge projects within Barnstable County—a cooperative effort between state regulators and the Cape Cod communities to help achieve dredge and beach nourishment needs, while ensuring the continued protection of various species. CZM staff also serves on the Barnstable County Coastal Resources Steering Committee and provided technical assistance on many of the stormwater projects selected for funding under the Natural Resource Conservation Service's Cape Cod Watershed Project. In addition, CZM helped towns identify and prioritize stormwater projects for current and future remediation. Finally, CZM staff continues to facilitate and coordinate between towns and state and federal regulatory agencies, regularly help coordinate project specific pre-application meetings to help improve the permitting process for town projects.
South Coastal (Wareham to Seekonk)
- Technical Assistance - In 2010, CZM provided South Coastal communities technical assistance on several issues and projects. CZM gave New Bedford officials significant guidance on the development of a Stormwater Management Plan for the city's central waterfront. This plan identifies recommended stormwater remediation activities suitable for this highly congested and urbanized section of the city's waterfront. CZM assisted residents of a beach association in Fairhaven with strategies to help guide their proposed beach nourishment project to help minimize regulatory hurdles. CZM staff worked with selected Mount Hope Bay area communities to lay the groundwork for a future No Discharge Area designation to minimize the impacts of recreational boat sewage on the bay. CZM also gave significant technical assistance on various aspects of a bike path proposed by the town of Mattapoisett over a salt marsh that spans the opening to a tidal pond and runs the length of a barrier beach. CZM continued to work with New Bedford and Fairhaven as a member of the State Enhanced Remedy Navigational Dredging Committee on various navigational dredging projects within the harbor and also on the city's proposed South Terminal Extension Project. CZM staff regularly meet with the Buzzards Bay Action Committee (BBAC) community representatives to keep them up to speed on important grant program opportunities, workshops, educational products, and other coastal initiatives affecting the region and the state. Currently, CZM and the BBAC are jointly planning a regional workshop for February to highlight the lessons learned from the first round of StormSmart Coasts pilot projects. CZM also regularly gave technical assistance on a number of other issues and projects including: coastal public access, boundary lines of DPAs and the coastal zone, locations of barrier beaches, state and federal regulatory authorities, and other coastal issues and concerns within the region.
National Estuary Programs
CZM administers two National Estuary Programs (NEPs), the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program and the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program (MassBays). The Buzzards Bay NEP works to protect and restore water quality and living resources in Buzzards Bay and its watershed. The Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program works to protect and enhance the coastal health and heritage of Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays. Each program's highlights from 2010 are included below.
Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program
- Buzzards Bay Grants - This year, the Buzzards Bay NEP continued its core mission to provide grants and technical assistance to Buzzards Bay municipalities. In August, EEA announced the award of eight environmental grants totaling $282,512 to seven Buzzards Bay watershed towns. These grants assist the towns in protecting and restoring water quality and living resources in Buzzards Bay and its surrounding watershed. The grants will specifically be used to fund land conservation and infrastructure improvement projects designed to conserve open space and rare species habitat, protect drinking water resources, and restore herring migration grounds. In 2010, grants were awarded to the towns of Rochester (Carr Family Bogs Land Reservation Project, $45,000, and Mahoney Wolf Island North Land Conservation Project, $20,506); Fairhaven (Wolf Island South Land Conservation Project, $30,506); Marion (Acquisition of Rentumis property/Rochester, $45,000); Mattapoisett (Decas Mattapoisett River Lands Protection Project, $45,000); Bourne (Bournedale Herring Run - Little Sandy Pond Culvert, $45,000); Wareham (Tucy North-Agawam River Land Protection Project, $45,000); and Dartmouth (Dartmouth's Assessors' parcel update $6,500).
- Massachusetts Estuaries Project - In 2010, the Buzzards Bay NEP continued to provide technical support to the MassDEP and the Massachusetts Estuaries Project (MEP) to ensure that they have correct and up-to-date parcel data, sewering, and water-use information for their study of nitrogen pollution of estuaries in Buzzards Bay. By year's end, the Buzzards Bay NEP completed its work on data sets for the watersheds of New Bedford Harbor, the Wareham River, and the Slocums River and Little River estuaries in Dartmouth. The effort involves joining municipal records from water departments, sewer departments, and assessors' offices with GIS parcel data. MEP uses this data in their nitrogen loading models.
- Buzzards Bay Oil Spill - The Buzzards Bay NEP represented the Commonwealth on the Aquatic Resources technical work group for the natural resources damage assessment for the 2003 Bouchard Oil Spill, which released 98,000 gallons of number 6 fuel oil into Buzzards Bay. With the announcement of the settlement for damages in November, the Buzzards Bay NEP will be working with other state and federal agencies in the coming year to help guide the development of a restoration plan for the more than $6 million in funds set aside to restore damaged resources.
- Technical Assistance - The Buzzards Bay NEP continued to assist municipalities in 2010 with development of local regulatory protection strategies, review of local projects, and design of stormwater treatment systems. The NEP also provided considerable technical support to the Coalition for Buzzards Bay and area land trusts in their efforts to protect important habitat and open space in Buzzards Bay, including help in the preparation of grant applications and preparation of maps for education and outreach. The NEP also gave technical support to the Coalition for Buzzards Bay and Wareham officials to develop a nitrogen management consensus report for the town. Other support included assistance with drafting stormwater regulations in Westport, Acushnet, and New Bedford; conducting a buildout analysis for the Fairhaven Public Works Department; preparing GIS parcel updates for the town of Marion; assisting EPA in a regional wetlands assessment; and reviewing or delineating wetland boundaries for a number of projects around Buzzards Bay.
Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program
- MassBays Research and Planning Grants - In 2010, MassBays offered the inaugural round of Research and Planning Grants. Up to $200,000 was made available for estuarine protection and restoration initiatives located within the 50 coastal communities in the MassBays planning area. Eligible projects included applied research, planning, or capacity building initiatives that assist MassBays in implementing priority action items identified in its 2009-2012 Strategic Plan, including protecting and enhancing coastal habitat, reducing and preventing stormwater pollution, protecting and enhancing shellfish resources, managing local land use and growth, managing municipal wastewater, managing marine invasive species, monitoring marine and estuarine waters, and adapting for the projected impacts of climate changes. Eligible applicants include cities, towns, and other public entities; academic institutions; and nonprofit organizations. Up to $40,000 will be awarded for each project. The grant application deadline was in December of 2010, and MassBays anticipates announcing awards in February of 2011.
- MassBays and CZM Partner with UHI to Develop Boston Harbor Habitat Atlas - UHI, in partnership with MassBays and CZM, was awarded a $49,470 Massachusetts Environmental Trust grant to develop a Digital Coastal Habitat Atlas for Boston Harbor. Through this grant, project partners are building a coalition of environmental interest groups in the region to identify and prioritize habitat protection and restoration opportunities for key habitat types throughout Boston Harbor and its contributing watersheds. An interactive database and website will then be developed using MORIS as a platform. This will allow users to access data on a variety of habitat types and characteristics, including coastal wetlands, eelgrass, invasive species, hydrologic characteristics, and threatened and endangered species. To date, the project partners, together with the coalition, have identified nine priority habitats and have begun the process to acquire and analyze data for those habitats. Another coalition meeting is planned for February. For more information, contact Kristin Uiterwyk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Climate Ready Estuaries Salt Marsh Vulnerability Assessment Workshop - In April, MassBays and EPA held a Climate Ready Estuaries Salt Marsh Vulnerability Assessment Workshop in Boston. During the two-day workshop, a group of 14 salt marsh scientists gathered to develop conceptual models of key salt marsh ecosystem processes and determine how those models might differ under a range of climate scenarios. The Community Interactions Group looked at the potential response of plant communities to climate change and the Sediment Retention Group discussed a marsh's ability to keep up with projected sea level rise. Results of the workshop will be available in early 2011. Climate Ready Estuaries is a partnership between EPA and the National Estuary Programs that seeks to build local capacity for adapting to the impacts of climate change.
Staff and People
In looking back over the year, CZM welcomes the new members of the coastal management team, wishes the best of luck to those who have moved on to new opportunities, and congratulates staff that were recognized for accomplishments.
CZM Director Deerin Babb-Brott - In November, Deerin Babb-Brott, EEA's Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Coastal Zone Management and CZM Director, announced he was leaving state service to join Epsilon Associates, Inc. as Director of Regulatory Affairs. As CZM Director, Deerin led the team that developed the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, the first-in-the-nation blueprint for comprehensive marine planning as the basis for environmental protection and renewable energy development. In 2010, Deerin was awarded NOAA's Susan Snow-Cotter Award for Excellence in Ocean and Coastal Resource Management for this effort. Also in 2010, Deerin was also honored by the Environmental Business Council of New England with the 2010 Paul Keough Environmental Award for Government Service, which recognizes leadership and dedication in government service in New England. In his previous position as Director of the MEPA unit, Deerin helped develop and implement the nation's first greenhouse gas environmental review policy and crafted certificates for major energy projects, including Cape Wind, Weavers Cove Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility, and Neptune and Northeast Gateway offshore LNG terminals. Prior to joining MEPA, Deerin served as CZM Assistant Director for Planning and Coastal Development, where he managed planning, coastal geology, project review, and federal consistency review programs. He began his career at CZM more than 18 years ago as Dredging Coordinator. Deerin's significant achievements, experience, willingness to tackle challenging issues, problem-solving ability, and sense of humor will be missed. We thank him for his work at CZM and his service to the Commonwealth, and we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors!
Shoreline and Floodplain Manager Andrea Cooper - In October, CZM Shoreline and Floodplain Manager Andrea Cooper retired from state service. Andrea had been with CZM for 14 years, serving as the North Shore Regional Coordinator from 1996-2005, Smart Growth Coordinator from 2005-2008, and for the past two years, as Shoreline and Floodplain Manager. While outspoken and funny, Andrea was serious about making a difference. Some of her award-winning accomplishments at CZM include receiving: the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions First Regional Environmental Protection Award in 2002 for establishing the North Shore Conservation Commission Network, the state's first regional technical assistance network of local officials; an EPA Environmental Merit Award in 2004 for co-founding the Green Neighborhoods Alliance, which successfully promoted the smart-growth concept of Conservation Subdivision Design; a Low Impact Development Center National Achievement Award for Capacity Building in 2007 for launching the state's Low-Impact Development Working Group; and many national acclaims for her work to develop StormSmart Coasts. CZM thanks Andrea for her 15 years of accomplishments, her unfailing good humor over the years, and her virtually bottomless candy bowl. Although we miss her already, we know she is enjoying an amazing retirement, living on the Gulf Coast of Florida with her husband of more than 30 years, Coop.
Boston Harbor Regional Coordinator - In July, Brad Washburn, CZM's Boston Harbor Regional Coordinator, left CZM to accept a position as Planning Director for the town of Easton. During his three years at CZM, Brad fulfilled a wide variety of crucial functions, including the development of the Charlestown, East Boston, and South Boston Municipal Harbor Plans; updating and revising the Designated Port Area regulations to allow for increased flexibility; and shepherding the Boston Harbor No Discharge Area through its approval. Within CZM, Brad was known for his sense of humor, his ability to expand his personal domain to include multiple office cubes, and his colorful stories of his southern upbringing.
MassBays Marine Scientist - In June, Christian Krahforst left MassBays to accept an Assistant Professor position at the UMass Boston. Christian served MassBays and CZM for many years as marine scientist—leading marine research and monitoring initiatives throughout the state and region, including the National Coastal Condition Assessment and the Gulf Watch program. MassBays will continue to work with Christian and UMass on these and other important coastal research efforts.
NOAA Coastal Fellow - In August, CZM said farewell to Daniella Hirschfeld, the 2008-2010 Coastal Management Fellow from the NOAA's Coastal Services Center. Daniella, CZM's seventh NOAA Fellow, accepted a position as the new Program Officer in climate adaptation for ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, an association of local governments focused on sustainability, climate protection, and climate change adaptation. While at CZM, Daniella coordinated the StormSmart Coasts program, working directly with seven coastal communities on five successful pilot projects that developed a suite of tools, case studies, planning strategies, and other technical assistance information that will help coastal communities address the challenges arising from storms, floods, sea level rise, and climate change.
GIS Intern - In June, CZM and the MassBays welcomed Kristin Kent, a graduate student from Antioch University, as a summer intern. Kristin conducted a GIS assessment of salt marsh resource areas under current and future potential higher sea levels. Her internship supported the StormSmart Coasts pilot project in Duxbury, Kingston, and Plymouth, as well as work being conducted by the MIT's Sea Grant Program.
Geology Technical Assistance Intern - In October, CZM welcomed Alex Poverchuk as a volunteer intern. Alex is researching coastal geology technical assistance and permit files to compile recommendations that address various coastal processes questions from local officials and enhance review of projects on similar topics. Alex is an undergraduate student at Salem State University.
Aquatic Invasive Species Program Intern - Also in October, CZM welcomed Christopher McIntyre as an intern to help compile and interpret marine species data collected during the 2007 and 2010 Rapid Assessment Surveys. These surveys were multi-state efforts to collect, identify, and catalogue marine organisms in coastal waters from Cape Cod through Maine's mid-coast. In addition, he will assist Aquatic Invasive Species Program staff in evaluating the non-native rock pool shrimp, Palaemon elegans, first discovered in Massachusetts during the 2010 survey. Chris is currently a graduate student at UMass Boston.
MassBays Grants and Outreach Coordinator - In October, MassBays welcomed Prassede Vella to lead the administration of the Research and Planning Grant Program and to assist in various outreach and communications activities. Prassede also serves as the CZM's Ocean Management Analyst but will be detailed to MassBays through the winter. She is currently reading for her Ph.D. in Environmental Science at UMass Boston. Prassede has more than 10 years of experience in ocean policy and planning and has been assisting with the development of many facets of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan over the past two years.