Year in Review - 2013
(Published January 2014)
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 2013, 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 2014.
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Overview of 2013 at CZM
From advancing ocean planning in the Commonwealth and the Northeast to helping communities address coastal flooding and erosion issues to building a new website, CZM had a busy and productive year in 2013. Along with continued work to implement the pioneering Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, released in 2009, CZM is taking the lead on behalf of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) to review and revise the plan by the end of 2014. Also on the ocean planning front, CZM played leading roles with the Northeast Regional Ocean Council and the Northeast Regional Ocean Planning Body in developing foundational elements of a regional ocean planning framework that advances the National Ocean Policy. CZM and EEA also continued coordination with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on planning and analysis for renewable wind energy development on the outer continental shelf offshore of Massachusetts. Early in 2013, Massachusetts was hit by two major coastal storms—a February blizzard dubbed “Nemo” and a March northeaster—which sent out CZM’s Storm Team members to survey coastal communities and submit important damage assessment reports. In July, the CZM website was officially re-launched in the Mass.Gov portal format featuring new content and improved navigation/organization. In August, CZM led a team of 25 scientists on a six-day search for marine invasive species on floating docks and piers and updated the CZM regulations, which govern the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan and Federal Consistency Review. In December, through the Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grants Program, CZM provided almost $400,000 in direct support to coastal communities for on-the-ground projects to reduce pollution and improve the health of coastal resources, such as shellfish beds. Also in December, CZM launched the new StormSmart Properties website with strategies for coastal property owners to reduce erosion and storm damage while minimizing impacts to the shoreline and neighboring properties. These and other highlights and accomplishments for CZM and its hosted programs in 2013 are summarized below.
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 accomplishments for each CZM program area are listed below.
- Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan Review and Revisions - In January, on behalf of EEA, CZM initiated a process to revise/update the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan according to the requirements of the 2008 Oceans Act. In May, after review by the Ocean Advisory Commission and the Ocean Science Advisory Council, two documents were released for public review and comment: a Draft Review of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan file size 1MB that reports on progress made and opportunities for enhancement and a Draft Scope for Updates Proposed for the 2009 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan . Four public meetings were held in June, and a 60-day public comment period closed on July 19. Technical working groups have been convened to review spatial data, science, and other information and to identify and characterize important trends in ocean resources and uses. CZM continues to work with the Ocean Advisory Commission and the Ocean Science Advisory Council on the plan update and revisions. The original Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan was released in December 2009, and while not all of the plan components have been fully tested and plan implementation is still ongoing, this review process will provide important context and insight that will inform future revisions and growth of the Commonwealth’s ocean plan. For additional information, please see EEA's Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan website.
- Northeast Regional Ocean Council - As part of its support for regional ocean planning, over the past year, the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC) has worked with those involved with marine-based industries to characterize industry sectors and identify key issues and trends relevant to ocean planning to serve as a starting place for future discussions with the industries and others. The marine industries and sectors that NROC focused on are aquaculture, maritime commerce, and energy (including offshore wind, marine hydrokinetic, natural gas, and transmission). A series of white papers were developed and are available on NROC’s website: aquaculture, maritime commerce, and energy. NROC is also working on characterizing commercial fishing activity with participation of the commercial fishing industry, scientists, and managers and the first phase of this work is complete and the report is available here. NROC is also working with the recreational boating industries and partners to obtaining spatial and economic information on recreational saltwater boating activity throughout the Northeast. The final report for the 2012 Northeast Recreational Boater Survey is available on the website. NROC is also working with natural conservation interests on similar efforts to inform regional ocean planning and will be providing work products on these projects over the next several months. At the NROC Fall Meeting in November, after serving as state and federal co-chairs since September 2011, CZM Director Bruce Carlisle and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Science Advisory Bob LaBelle passed on the chair responsibilities Jeff Willis from the Rhode Island Coastal Resource Management Council and Mel Cote from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region I.
- Northeast Regional Ocean Planning Body - On April 12 and 13, the second meeting of the Northeast Regional Ocean Planning Body (RPB) was held in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Under the National Ocean Policy, the Northeast Regional Ocean Planning Body is charged with leading a cooperative effort to build partnerships and improve management, siting, and regulatory decisions affecting coastal and ocean resources and uses. The main focus of the meeting was the development of draft goals for regional ocean planning, discussions regarding mechanisms for such participation, and the review of a draft charter and timeline. At the meeting, the RPB—comprised of representatives of the six New England states, 10 federal agencies, and 10 tribes—received updates on ongoing efforts to engage with marine industry representatives from energy, aquaculture, and maritime commerce sectors, as well as on work to characterize patterns of activities like commercial fishing and recreational boating. Throughout the two-day meeting, there were several opportunities for public input, and the RPB heard from a number of interested parties. A series of 10 public meetings were conducted in May and June across the Northeast to review the draft goals and actions and present maps and industry engagement summaries for feedback and discussion. Four of the meetings were held in Massachusetts in conjunction with the Massachusetts-specific ocean plan review and revision process. During these meetings, feedback was gathered on the draft proposed goals, actions, and outcomes of the work plan being developed by the RPB. In the fall, following integration of comments and input into the draft final goals, the RPB engaged with stakeholder representative groups to get final input before finalizing the work plan. In Massachusetts, the Ocean Advisory Commission has been playing this role. The final work plan will be presented to the RPB at their January 22-23 meeting.
- Offshore Renewable Energy - In July, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held the first-ever auction for offshore renewable wind energy, offering 164,750 acres for commercial wind energy leasing in two separate lease areas of the designated Wind Energy Area offshore Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The winner of the lease sale is Deepwater Wind New England, LLC. The lease sale followed BOEM’s Environmental Assessment, with the issuance of a Finding of No Significant Impact in June. Deepwater Wind will now have five years to conduct site assessment activities—including geophysical and biological surveys and investigations of wind resources and ocean conditions—and to develop and submit a Construction and Operations Plan to BOEM, which will be subject to further environmental and technical review. When developed, these areas have the potential to support 3,395 megawatts of wind generation, which is enough energy to power more than one million homes. CZM continues to work with EEA as representatives on BOEM’s Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, as conveners of fisheries and habitat work groups, and in engaging communities and stakeholders in the federal leasing process. BOEM is expected to announce auctions for Wind Energy Areas offshore Massachusetts in the first half of 2014. For additional information on the lease sale, see the BOEM Press Release.
- Massachusetts Recreational Boating Survey - The results of the 2012 Northeast Recreational Boater Survey, a socio-economic and spatial characterization of recreational boating in coastal and ocean waters of the Northeast, was released by SeaPlan in October. Last year, SeaPlan partnered with CZM, the Northeast Regional Ocean Council, and other industry, government, and non-governmental organizations to conduct the survey. More than 12,000 boaters from Maine to New York provided information about monthly boating trips and boating expenditures over the year, as well as opinions on a variety of boating issues. The technical report from the survey presents regional and state maps of boating routes and locations of activities, such as recreational fishing and wildlife viewing. The report also includes economic data and analyses revealing that the approximate 907,000 marine recreational boating trips in 2012 generated nearly $3.5 billion to the Northeast economy and supported the equivalent of about 27,000 year-round jobs. The Northeast Recreational Boater Survey website provides summaries of all survey results, preliminary maps, and a list of project partners. The full report, state-specific fact sheets, and other related products will soon be made available. The mapped data are also now available for viewing or downloading on the Northeast Ocean Data Portal’s Data Viewer (expand the “ocean uses” section in the “data layers” column and scroll down to the first three datasets under recreation).
- Gulf of Maine Council - In June, on behalf of the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment (GOMC), CZM Director Bruce Carlisle honored four Massachusetts individuals at the council’s 2013 Awards Ceremony for their exceptional work to protect and enhance environmental quality in the Gulf of Maine. Geoff Walker from Newbury received the prestigious Longard Volunteer Award for his active conservation work to ensure access to a healthy and well-managed Great Marsh ecosystem. Jeremy Bell, Resource Specialist with the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration, received a Visionary Award for his outstanding leadership on complex coastal restoration projects resulting in acres of restored habitats in New England. Chris Miller, Director of the town of Brewster’s Department of Natural Resources, also received a Visionary Award for his dedication, commitment, and innovation leading to the restoration of salt marshes and improvements to fish passage. The Distinguished Service Award was presented to CZM’s Coastal Shoreline and Floodplain Manager, Julia Knisel, for her years of active participation with and service on behalf of the council, where she has helped Gulf of Maine communities increase awareness of and resilience to the impacts of a changing climate. For additional details, see the EEA Press Release. Also this year, GOMC released a new addition to the 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. The new paper, Commercial Fisheries, discusses the long history of this industry in the Gulf of Maine. In June 2013, Massachusetts hosted GOMC and its Working Group meetings in Salem. At the conclusion of the meeting, CZM Director Bruce Carlisle, Council Chair from 2012-2013, passed the gavel to Nova Scotia as the new council Secretariat.
- Seafloor Mapping Initiative - CZM and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) published three new seafloor mapping reports in 2013. High-Resolution Geophysical Data from the Inner Continental Shelf: Vineyard Sound, Massachusetts contains geographic information system (GIS) data and technical explanations of data collection and processing of the Massachusetts inner continental shelf between Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard. High-Resolution Geophysical Data from the Inner Continental Shelf: Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts contains GIS data and technical explanations of data collection and processing of the Massachusetts inner continental shelf in Buzzards Bay. Shallow Geology, Seafloor Texture, and Physiographic Provinces of the Inner Continental Shelf from Nahant to Northern Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts contains a series of maps that describe the distribution and texture of seafloor sediments, shallow geologic framework, and physiographic zones. Each report was prepared as part of the 10-year, cooperative mapping program between CZM and USGS. Other reports in the series can be found on the USGS Geologic Mapping of the Seafloor Offshore of Massachusetts website. Geological and biological data from Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound are currently in review and will be published in early 2014. Similar reports are in production on sampling data from CZM surveys in 2011 and 2012 aboard EPA's OSV Bold. These reports will include sediment sample analyses, seafloor photographs, and biological classifications of the seabed surface. In addition, in May, USGS and CZM collected approximately 180 square kilometers of new geophysical data south of Martha's Vineyard and north of Nantucket. Processing and interpretation are underway, and these data will be released in late 2014. For more information on CZM’s role, see CZM's Seafloor Mapping Program website or contact Dan Sampson at email@example.com.
- CZM Releases Fact Sheets to Help Coastal Property Owners Reduce Erosion and Storm Damage - In December, CZM launched the StormSmart Properties website with fact sheets for coastal property owners on shoreline stabilization options that effectively reduce erosion and storm damage while minimizing impacts to shoreline systems. The six techniques covered in this first round of fact sheets are: artificial dunes and dune nourishment, controlling overland runoff to reduce coastal erosion, planting vegetation to reduce erosion and storm damage, bioengineering - coir rolls on coastal banks, bioengineering - natural fiber blankets on coastal banks, and sand fencing. In the coming year, CZM will add additional fact sheets on topics such as repair/reconstruction of revetments, seawalls, and groins; beach nourishment; elevating and relocating buildings; sand-filled envelopes; salt marsh creation and restoration on coastal beaches; and design standards for new revetments, seawalls, and groins. CZM would like to thank the staff from sister EEA agencies who provided input and assistance, as well as the StormSmart Properties Technical Advisory Committee made up of coastal geologists, coastal engineers, and other environmental consultants with extensive local experience with these techniques who thoroughly reviewed each fact sheet.
- CZM Sea Level Rise Guidance - Also in December, CZM released Sea Level Rise: Understanding and Applying Trends and Future Scenarios for Analysis and Planning file size 3MB , a guidance document to help coastal communities and others plan for and address potential sea level rise effects on residential and commercial development, infrastructure and critical facilities, and natural resources and ecosystems. The document includes background information on local and global sea level rise trends, summarizes the best available sea level rise projections, and provides general guidance in the selection and application of sea level rise scenarios for coastal vulnerability assessments, planning, and decision making for areas that may be at present or future risk from the effects of sea level rise. The document is intended to be updated as new science and information becomes available.
- StormSmart Northeast Climate Change Adaptation Project - CZM and regional partners wrapped up a two-year regional adaptation project funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and co-managed by CZM. This project includes several local case studies developed by the Roger Williams University School of Law Marine Affairs Institute and Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program, a resource room for journalists created by Clean Air-Cool Planet, and six municipal pilot projects. As part of the national StormSmart Coasts Network, the Northeast Climate Change Adaptation website provides information on how coastal communities from the Bay of Fundy to Long Island Sound are adapting land use laws, policies, programs, and infrastructure to changing environmental conditions. In Massachusetts, the communities of Scituate, Marshfield, and Duxbury were granted $30,000 to map areas most vulnerable to sea level rise and identify potential adaptation strategies for public properties, infrastructure, and natural resources. See the Municipal Grants Program page for the maps and report produced by Kleinfelder Northeast, Inc. for the three towns. The Massachusetts Association of Planning Directors (MAPD) awarded the Scituate, Marshfield, and Duxbury town planners the 2013 MAPD Chapter Award for this sea level rise study.
- Massachusetts Shoreline Change Project Updated - CZM and USGS updated the Massachusetts Shoreline Change Project with new data for approximately 1,121 miles of shoreline using color aerial orthoimagery from 2008 and 2009 and topographic Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) data from 2007. The new shoreline data were integrated with existing historical shoreline data to compute updated long- and short-term rates of shoreline change and to analyze trends from 1844 to 2009. Rates and trends can be used to improve understanding of underlying causes and potential effects of coastal erosion on coastal populations and infrastructure and can support informed coastal management decisions. Shorelines and transects with rates of shoreline change are available on CZM’s Shoreline Change Browser. Two USGS reports, Massachusetts Shoreline Change Mapping and Analysis Project, 2013 Update and Massachusetts Shoreline Change Project: A GIS Compilation of Vector Shorelines and Associated Shoreline Change Data for the 2013 Update, provide an in-depth explanation of the Massachusetts Shoreline Change Project methodology and results.
- Coastal Structures Inventory - CZM continued the Massachusetts Coastal Infrastructure Inventory and Assessment Project by mapping coastal engineering structures, including seawalls, revetments, and groins, not included in previous phases of the project and presumed to be privately owned. Applied Science Associates, Inc. (now RPS ASA) was contracted by CZM to use orthophotographs, LIDAR data, and other information to map and characterize the privately owned coastal engineering structures located along the five CZM regions. When combined with the publicly owned coastal structures, nearly 27% of the ocean-facing shoreline (approximately 1,100 miles) is armored with some form of public or private coastal structure. Coastal structures data are provided through the Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (MORIS).
- Dam and Seawall Repair and Removal Fund - CZM assisted EEA with the implementation of the Dam and Seawall Repair and Removal Fund, which was established in 2013 by the Massachusetts Legislature to promote public health, public safety, and ecological restoration. Regulations and a Request for Responses were released in 2013, and in early 2014 EEA will announce awards and enter into contracts to repair and remove dams, levees, seawalls, and other forms of flood control. For more information about the fund, see the EEA website.
- StormReporter - In 2013, the Gulf of Maine Times highlighted StormReporter as a valuable tool for municipal adaptation planning, hazard mitigation, and emergency preparedness. CZM developed StormReporter in partnership with the National Weather Service (NWS), the national StormSmart Coasts Network, and the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems to standardize data collection for the Massachusetts Rapid Response Coastal Storm Damage Assessment Team (Storm Team). A network of state, federal, and local agency personnel called the Storm Team—covers the coast of Massachusetts during and after storms to collect and relay information on storm damage. The StormReporter web tool allows Storm Team members and volunteers to record observations and upload pictures in near-real time during coastal storm events, enabling the rapid delivery, sharing, and archiving of coastal storm damage data. This information is used to help inform NWS storm advisories and emergency management decisions in Massachusetts, including deployment of state and federal emergency resources. Coastal storm damage data will also assist with long-term coastal management. StormReporter now includes a map interface and an online user guide. Android and iPhone applications for Massachusetts have also been developed.
- StormSmart Coasts Outreach - Throughout 2013, CZM’s StormSmart Coasts program held workshops in the coastal regions and presented at other events to provide local officials and others with information on erosion, flooding, coastal storm impacts, sea level rise, coastal inundation mapping, and local adaptation planning. CZM also assisted Sea Grant with the Massachusetts Homeowner’s Handbook to Prepare for Coastal Hazards to provide information to homeowners on how to stay safe and minimize damages during coastal storms. This handbook includes information on hurricanes and northeasters along with practical measures and cost-effective steps that can be implemented to lower individual risk and increase the resilience of coastal communities.
- CZM Hosts Eighth Coastal Management Fellow - In July, CZM welcomed Margot Mansfield as CZM’s eighth Coastal Management Fellow from the NOAA Coastal Services Center. Margot, who graduated from the University of Maine with a Master of Science in Earth Science and has experience examining sea level fluctuations in wetlands, was nominated by Maine Sea Grant and matched with CZM to promote beach and dune nourishment as a “green” climate change adaptation option in Massachusetts. While at CZM, Margot will evaluate impacts of marine sediment extraction and transport; investigate vulnerable beaches and potential sources of sediment; refine screening criteria; and develop policy, planning, and management recommendations to encourage beach and dune nourishment projects as viable tools for shore protection.
Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Protection
- Nearly $400,000 in CPR Grants Awarded to Coastal Communities - In December, CZM awarded $399,120 in Coastal Pollution Remediation (CPR) Grants for projects to protect coastal waters in Massachusetts. As described in the EEA Press Release, the Fiscal Year 2014 winning projects are:
- Barnstable - $113,700 to construct a boat sewage pumpout facility in Hyannis Harbor for commercial vessels and support compliance with the South Cape and Islands No Discharge Area (NDA).
- Bourne - $125,000 to construct a stormwater treatment system to address runoff pollution to Fisherman’s Cove in the Buzzards Bay watershed.
- Falmouth - $9,603 to replace the heavily used pumpout station in the inner area of Falmouth Harbor and support compliance with the South Cape and Islands NDA.
- Hingham - $21,958 to study and complete preliminary designs for a stormwater treatment system to address contaminated runoff to Walton’s Cove.
- Kingston - $116,627 to develop final design plans and install stormwater treatment systems at key discharge locations and improve water quality and open shellfish beds within the Jones River Estuary.
- Plymouth - $12,232 to purchase and install a pump at the Plymouth Harbor shoreside pumpout facility, prevent boat sewage discharges into Plymouth Harbor, part of the Plymouth, Kingston, and Duxbury NDA.
- Rapid Assessment Survey for Marine Invasive Species in New England - For six days in August, CZM led a team that searched for marine invasive species on floating docks and piers. The team of 25 scientists, who are experts in the identification and detection of non-native species, originated from several universities, states, and countries, including the University of New Hampshire, Seattle, the Netherlands, and Brazil. A group of graduate students also assisted in the collection, identification, and tabulation of data. Initial results indicate that several new species were found, and a report documenting the methods, sites, and findings of the survey is currently in development. This was the fifth Rapid Assessment Survey over the past 14 years aiming to find new invaders, track the range changes in those species that were previously identified, and identify trends as they may affect native species. The 2013 sampling sites ranged from South Freeport in Maine to Point Judith in Rhode Island, and included eight sites in Massachusetts. The monitoring sites in Rhode Island were coordinated in cooperation with the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council and funding for the entire survey was provided by Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership, Massachusetts Bays and Buzzards Bay National Estuary Programs, and the Rhode Island Bays, Rivers, and Watershed Coordination Team. See the EEA Press Release for more information about the 2013 survey and the Report on the 2010 Rapid Assessment Survey of Marine Species at New England Floating Docks and Rocky Shores file size 9MB for results from the 2010 survey. For general information on aquatic invasive species, see CZM’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program website.
- Marine Invader Monitoring and Information Collaborative - In 2013, citizen scientists from CZM's Marine Invasive Monitoring and Information Collaborative (MIMIC) searched for 16 established invaders and seven species threatening to invade the region at sites from Cape Cod to Maine. Since 2006, MIMIC has served as a marine invasive species early detection and monitoring network for New England, providing critical data to managers through participation with the Massachusetts Aquatic Invasive Species Working Group, the Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel, and the National Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force. Data are collected by trained citizen scientists following protocols detailed in Monitoring for Marine Invasive Species: Guidance and Protocols for Volunteer Monitoring Groups. All data collected by MIMIC citizen scientists are available to the public through MORIS. For more information on MIMIC, and to view monitoring protocols, identification resources, and links, see the Aquatic Invasive Species Program website.
- CZM Releases New Seaweed Management Publications - In response to numerous reports of high levels of seaweed on many Massachusetts beaches in 2012, CZM released two new seaweed publications in 2013. Managing Seaweed Accumulations on Recreational Beaches was developed to help local officials and beach managers effectively address seaweed accumulations on recreational beaches while protecting coastal resources. This document focuses on how seaweed is a natural and important part of the marine ecosystem, but management challenges can arise when accumulations occur on recreational beaches. Non-Native Seaweed in Massachusetts is a fact sheet that summarizes current information on invasive seaweed species in Massachusetts, their ecology, and potential impacts to the marine ecosystem and economy. For more information on managing seaweed on recreational beaches, please contact your CZM regional office.
- Wetlands Monitoring and Assessment - In 2013, CZM collected data on vegetation and macroinvertebrates at six salt marsh sites where flow was restored, or partially restored, more than 10 years ago. These data, along with the original data collected before and immediately after restoration, are helping CZM examine the long-term trajectory of recovery at these sites. CZM and MassDEP used sampling protocols from the original monitoring work, as well as those more recently developed for the Conservation Assessment and Prioritization System (CAPS) program. CAPS is a landscape-level, GIS model developed by researchers at UMass Amherst to predict ecological integrity. CZM has worked with MassDEP and UMass to refine, verify, and calibrate the model with empirical data collected from 2009-2012. While the data are still being processed, initial impressions from the 2013 site visits are that some of the restoration sites may not be meeting anticipated project goals. Additionally, three long-term reference standard sites (i.e., least disturbed sites) were sampled in 2013 to examine changes in light of ongoing stressors and land use alterations during the last 10-15 years. A goal of the project is to provide some lessons learned for future and ongoing protection and restoration efforts. The CAPS website provides more information about that program. For general wetland information, see CZM’s Coastal Wetland Monitoring and Assessment web page.
- Identifying Coastal Wetlands Vulnerable to Sea Level Rise - CZM received two grant awards this year to examine the vulnerability of salt marshes to sea level rise. Awards from NOAA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will allow CZM and partners to model salt marsh response and impacts under different climate and sea level rise scenarios, integrating models that incorporate dynamic coastal and estuarine processes with long-term local data. Site-specific information and maps will be generated to identify and communicate vulnerability, risk, and impacts to Massachusetts coastal wetlands. As part of this project, investigators will also work with regional and local groups to establish a network of long-term monitoring stations to track the movement of plant community structure and other changes (e.g., length of time that the soils are saturated) in the salt marsh-upland transition zone. This effort will create a high resolution baseline to measure future sea level rise impacts to salt marshes. Over time, these field data will have the potential to help calibrate and verify the marsh migration models used in this project.
- Scientific Achievement Award - CZM’s Bruce Carlisle, Jan Smith, and Marc Carullo were recently recognized for their work on a joint research effort between CZM and EPA’s Atlantic Ecology Lab to develop rapid assessment methods for assessing the condition of New England salt marshes. Each year since 1980, the EPA Science Advisory Board Agency conducts a competition to recognize outstanding scientific and technological work published by EPA staff and their co-authors. The 2012 Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards recognized the work of the CZM team and EPA lead author, Cathy Wigand, for notably excellent research that has timely consequences and contributes to important scientific and technological achievements within the field of study. A paper detailing the work and findings of the research effort was published in the journal, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment (2011, Vol. 182: pp 31-46).
- COASTSWEEP 2013 - COASTSWEEP, the statewide annual beach cleanup sponsored by CZM since 1987, celebrated its 26th anniversary. Although final 2013 cleanup results are still pending, preliminary reports show that 2,439 volunteers cleaned more than 130 miles of coastline, river bank, marsh, seafloor, and lakeshore in Massachusetts—collecting approximately 14,425 pounds of debris from 114 locations. CZM sends out heartfelt thanks to the thousands of volunteers who turned out for COASTSWEEP, which is part of an international effort organized by Ocean Conservancy where participants from 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. For more on COASTSWEEP, see EEA's Great Outdoors blog posts, COASTSWEEP: Protecting Marine Life One Piece of Trash at a Time and A Last Gasp of Summer—Perfect for a COASTSWEEP Cleanup at Constitution Beach. While this year's cleanups are finished, you can get involved in future cleanups through the COASTSWEEP website, or stay tuned to marine debris issues year round on COASTSWEEP's Facebook page or by following the Twitter feed.
- Other Habitat and Water Quality Program Activities - CZM worked with the Water Resources Commission, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management (MassDEP), the Division of Marine Fisheries, and EEA to draft comments on the operational plan for Taunton River Desalination Plant. CZM encouraged regular diver inspections of the plant’s protective screening to reduce the number of river herring becoming trapped at the plant. CZM also reviewed and provided comments to MassDEP on the first monitoring data received from the Swansea Water District’s desalination plant on the Palmer River, which began operating in 2013. CZM and other agencies had previously collaborated on ensuring that the plant intake was designed to minimize capture of fish larvae, especially those of American shad. CZM suggested diver inspection of the new intake system to ensure that the structure was constructed as designed. CZM collaborated with EEA agencies, wastewater engineers, and municipalities on a draft EEA policy covering alternative strategies for nitrogen management in the coastal zone. CZM anticipates that this policy will help communities, especially those on Cape Cod, evaluate the range of options for wastewater treatment and disposal. Also, CZM completed a draft Habitat Work Group report—covering wetlands, marine mammals, seabirds, and sea turtles—to help inform the update of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan’s protected areas.
Data and Information Management
- Several new data layers were added to the Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (MORIS) this year, including:
- Visualizing Sea Level Rise - NOAA coastal inundation data on extents of high tides with sea level rise were added to MORIS to allow users to interactively view mean higher high water plus one foot increments of sea level rise (up to six feet) with other information such as aerial photographs, assessor maps, public facilities and infrastructure locations, and natural resource areas. With MORIS, users can quickly create and share vulnerability maps. To access this new tool, launch MORIS through the StormSmart Coasts - Visualizing Sea Level Rise web page.
- Coastal Structures Data - Data layers of public and private shoreline stabilization structures, such as seawalls and revetments, along the Massachusetts shoreline were added to MORIS. These layers include data from the 2006-2009 Massachusetts Coastal Infrastructure Inventory and Assessment Project, which reported on publically owned structures, and the 2013 Mapping and Analysis of Privately-Owned Coastal Structures along the Massachusetts Shoreline, which focused on private structures. To view the data, see MORIS.
- Hurricane Surge Inundation Zones - Developed to assist emergency management officials in hurricane preparedness and operations, this data layer represents worst-case Hurricane Surge Inundation areas for Category 1 through 4 hurricanes striking the Massachusetts coast. Hurricane surge values were developed by the National Hurricane Center using the PV2 basin SLOSH (Sea Lake and Overland Surge from Hurricanes) Model data. To view, see the CZM website.
- 2012 Marine Invasive Species Data - Data layers representing the distribution of priority marine invaders in 2012 were added to MORIS. The new data layers were created from observations at 55 monitoring sites by partners and Marine Invader Monitoring and Information Collaborative volunteers. To view the new data layers, go to the MORIS website, launch MORIS, and open the "Biology" folder, the "Marine Invasive Species" folder, and the "2012 Monitoring" folder. Data collected from 2008-2011 are also available. For more information about marine invasive species or to participate in monitoring efforts, see the Aquatic Invasive Species Program website.
- Coast Guide Online - CZM’s new, interactive, online mapping tool, Coast Guide Online, can be used to find (and find out about) coastal areas that are open to the public. It includes hundreds of sites along the Massachusetts coast—from sandy beaches to secluded coves, rocky shores, and boat ramps—owned by government agencies and major nonprofits. These sites have been mapped in Google Earth, an easy-to-use and powerful online mapping tool, where each public location is tagged with a name, owner, web link, and picture (if available). Additional Google Earth offerings, such as user photos, trails, and places of interest, can be used to create customized maps. As of now, all federal, state, and county coastal public access sites have been mapped; town and land conservation organizations will be added as soon as possible.
Project/Federal Consistency Review
- Comcast Falmouth-to-Tisbury Fiber Optic Cable Project - CZM conducted a federal consistency review and issued its concurrence in November for a proposal to install a fiber optic feeder cable under Vineyard Sound. The project was the first to complete review under the siting and performance standards in the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, which require that proposed projects avoid certain special, sensitive, or unique areas, including areas of hard/complex seafloor, intertidal flats, and eelgrass. Subsequent to the initial filing under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA), the project was modified to incorporate a 5.5-inch NStar hybrid cable to provide redundant electric and communications services to Martha's Vineyard, replacing the originally proposed ½-inch fiber optic cable.
- Geophysical and Geological Surveys to Identify Outer Continental Shelf Sand Resources along the Atlantic Coast - In November, at the request of BOEM, CZM initiated the federal consistency review of the proposed funding of reconnaissance-level and site-specific surveys in the Mid-Atlantic Planning Area to support coastal recovery and resiliency efforts related to Hurricane Sandy, including possible surveys on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore of Massachusetts. The proposed action would identify and characterize sand resources and potential borrow areas for beach nourishment, coastal restoration, and resiliency projects. Once the presence of sand resources has been confirmed, borrow area delineation could occur through more detailed surveys and relevant laboratory methods to determine the presence and volume of beach-compatible sand based on properties such as grain size. In December, CZM approved the project by concurring that it meets all state enforceable coastal polices.
- Dredging and Beach Nourishment Projects - In 2013, CZM reviewed several dredging and/or beach nourishment proposals submitted for MEPA review. These projects included: the town of Edgartown 10-year comprehensive dredging and beach nourishment project, the proposed Cedarville Beach Renourishment project, and the Boston Harbor Navigation Improvement project. In addition to state-level project review, CZM reviews federal projects, projects requiring federal permits, and projects that receive federal money to ensure that they meet state standards. Through this process, CZM issued federal consistency concurrences on projects including: the town of Chatham 10-year comprehensive dredging and beach nourishment project, the town of Tisbury Back Channel and North Groin dredging and beach nourishment project, the federal navigation and beach nourishment project in Hyannis Harbor, and the federal navigation and beach nourishment project in Buttermilk Bay in Bourne. CZM also issued federal consistency concurrence for the Green Harbor federal navigation project in Marshfield. This project entails the repair of sections of the east and west jetties damaged during Hurricane Sandy. CZM also issued federal consistency concurrence for the Oak Island salt marsh restoration project in Revere. The project includes the restoration of 1.29 acres of salt marsh as part of the Natural Resource Damages (NRD) process pertaining to the Former Coal Tar Processing Facility (FCTPF) site. Restoration of 4.38 acres of salt marsh is being undertaken as mitigation for activities associated with the operation and subsequent remediation of the FCTPF site located at the intersection of Market and Behen Streets in Everett. Remediation of the FCTPF site was undertaken as a Release Abatement Measure (RAM) under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan. The RAM involved dredging approximately 72,000 cubic yards of sediment from the Island End River and disposing most of it in a Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) constructed along the Island End River’s western shoreline within the Mystic River Designated Port Area. CDF construction involved filling 1.9 acres of mostly subtidal lands. The RAM Mitigation Project provides 4.38 acres of wetland restoration as mitigation for this unavoidable impact. The RAM Mitigation Project is located immediately adjacent to and south of the NRD Compensation Project. CZM continues to assist MassPort on the design of both eelgrass and salt marsh mitigation projects relating to the Logan Airport Runway Safety Improvement project to ensure that Massport complies with CZM's enforceable policies. CZM renewed its participation on the technical advisory committee for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Boston Harbor Deep Draft Navigational Improvement Project, which proposes port improvements including access to the Conley Terminal for containerships by deepening the harbor's existing 40-foot channels, turning basin, and anchorage. MassPort would also deepen the berths in the Conley Terminal, the 40-foot lane of the Main Ship Channel above the Reserved Channel and below the Ted Williams Tunnel, MassPort's Medford Street Terminal on the Mystic River, and the existing 38 foot channel in the Chelsea River.
- EPA NPDES Permits - As part of CZM's federal consistency review of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, concurrences were issued for three permits/renewals/modifications, including UMass Boston’s permit to discharge non-contact cooling water to Dorchester Bay, the Sprague Quincy Terminal, and the Boston Ship Repair permit renewal to discharge dry dock dewatering, fire-suppression, and non-contact pump cooling waters to Boston Inner Harbor
- Bridge Replacement Projects - CZM has worked closely with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Division to review bridge projects for consistency with CZM's enforceable policies. Projects reviewed during 2013 include the proposed replacement of the Bridge Street drawbridge over the Mitchell River in Chatham, which involves the accelerated demolition of the existing superstructures, construction of new (replacement) superstructures, and replacement of the substructures. The proposed superstructures will consist of a 195 foot long, six-span bridge with a single-leaf bascule span over a 25 foot clear horizontal navigation channel. The proposed bascule span channel provides 25 feet of horizontal width between fenders; 7 feet, 3 inches of vertical clearance above mean high water when in the lowered position; and unlimited vertical clearance when raised.
- Federal Agency Actions - CZM worked with the Department of the Navy to review and issue concurrence for the potential environmental impacts in the northwest Atlantic resulting from U.S. Navy training and testing activities and associated range capability enhancements. CZM also worked with the Navy to review the testing of the Office of Naval Research bottom mapping sonar. This testing is to take place in Buzzards Bay, Nantucket Sound, Vineyard Sound, and Martha’s Vineyard.
Port and Harbor Planning
- Local Planning Efforts - A number of communities have been working on existing or new harbor plans in 2013. On the North Shore, CZM continues to provide technical assistance to the city of Gloucester as they update their 2009 Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP) and Designated Port Area (DPA) Master Plan. Gloucester continues to work to define their new maritime economy and identify how to adapt to the changing needs of the waterfront. The city hopes to complete the update by fall of 2014. Also at the request of the city of Gloucester, CZM is working on a review of the entire Gloucester Inner Harbor DPA to determine whether the boundary is consistent with state DPA policy. A draft designation decision will be issued early in 2014. In Boston Harbor, the city of Boston has initiated a Municipal Harbor Planning process for the Downtown Waterfront District from Long Wharf to the Old Northern Avenue Bridge. The city has been holding monthly advisory committee meetings and anticipates completing the process in 2014. The city of Everett completed a harbor planning process for their Central Waterfront in 2013 and submitted the MHP to EEA for review and approval. A public comment period and public hearing were held in November. A decision from the EEA Secretary is anticipated in early 2014. On the South Shore, CZM continued to provide ongoing technical assistance to the Marshfield Waterways Committee, which is in the process of developing a local harbor plan. As part of that assistance, CZM has participated in public meeting of the Waterways Committee and their consultant, the UMass Boston Urban Harbor Institute, to develop and refine goals, objectives, and action items for inclusion in the plan. In the Cape Cod and Islands Region, the EEA Secretary approved a one-year extension of the Edgartown Municipal Harbor Plan. Edgartown is currently working on a plan renewal that will amend and update the original 1997 Edgartown MHP. The new MHP will continue to serve as a planning tool to provide guidance to MassDEP with respect to Chapter 91 licensing of waterfront properties, and to help coordinate the efforts and actions of local committees and departments. CZM is also working with the town of Chatham as they work to renew and update the South Coastal Harbor Management Plan. In the South Coastal Region, an inventory of all the businesses and land uses on each parcel within the New Bedford/Fairhaven DPA was completed. This inventory is a first step in better understanding the current uses, utilization of space, and general use characteristics in the DPA to better plan for future uses. The inventory was shared with the New Bedford Harbor Development Commission (NBHDC) and also used in the Port of Massachusetts Strategic Plan recently completed by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. CZM is anticipating working closely with the NBHDC on harbor planning initiatives in the coming year. For more information about CZM’s harbor planning efforts, contact CZM's Regional Coordinators.
- Storm Team Activations for 2013 - The Commonwealth’s Storm Team evaluated damages from the February 9-11 blizzard and March 7-11 northeaster. More than 30 members were deployed for each multi-tidal cycle event while CZM staffed the State Emergency Operations Center in Framingham to coordinate Storm Team efforts. Both events resulted in widespread and severe beach and dune erosion, flooding, and property damages along north and east facing shorelines. Storm damage reports were entered into StormReporter—CZM’s online database—which informed response and recovery efforts by NWS, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, MassDEP, and other agencies.
Underwater Archaeological Resources
- Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources Director Receives Bauer Award - In June, the Director of CZM’s Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources (BUAR),Victor Mastone was awarded the 2013 K. Jack Bauer Award—one of the highest accolades granted by the North American Society for Oceanic History (NASOH). The Bauer Award honors “those who have given distinguished service to NASOH and have made life-time contributions to the field of maritime history.” Vic was recognized for his outstanding work on the preservation and conference committees and his overall integrity, focus, good judgment, and dedication to preserving the cultural heritage, not only of Massachusetts, but of the nation. Congratulations to Vic for his hard work and achievements!
- Publications - In 2013, BUAR Director Victor Mastone, co-authored two publications:
- “Shifting Sand: A Model for Facilitating Public Assistance in Coastal Archaeology,” was published as chapter 6 in Between the Devil and the Deep: Meeting Challenges in the Public Interpretation of Maritime Cultural Heritage (Della A. Scott-Ireton, Editor). This chapter, co-written with Justin J. Bensley, highlights the Shoreline Heritage Identification Partnerships Strategy program (SHIPS) developed by BUAR to capitalize on the casual reporting of shoreline discoveries. Visit the Springer website for details on the publication.
- The September 2013 issue of The New England Quarterly features “The Revolutionary War Battle America Forgot: Chelsea Creek, 27-28 May 1775.” This article, co-written with Craig J. Brown and Christopher V. Maio, describes the capture and destruction of the schooner HMS Diana and the battle that proved to be a significant event in the siege of Boston.
- Archaeological Interns - Assistance provided by interns was significant and very helpful to BUAR in 2013. In the spring, Christopher Lauzon, Bachelor of Arts, Louisiana State University, joined as an unpaid post-graduate research associate working on the Board’s project review files. In the summer, Blake Doherty, Bachelor of Arts, St. Joseph’s College of Maine, joined as an unpaid post-graduate research assistant working on the Board’s various reporting forms. In the fall, Mark Agostini and Chelsea Bothen, both Bachelor of Arts, University of Vermont, joined as an unpaid post-graduate research associates and are working on a variety of field and curation projects. Thank you all for your assistance!
- Marine Archaeology Celebrated in October - October was Massachusetts Archaeology Month. In celebration, BUAR participated in the two-day Archaeological Institute of America's Archaeology Fair at the Boston Museum of Science. The first day of the fair was directed to school groups and day two was directed to families and the general public. BUAR activities included participation in a mock "dig" of a shipwreck and exhibits. BUAR Director Victor Mastone was assisted by his wife, Sharon, and research associates Mark Agostini and Chelsea Bothen.
CZM Regional Offices
CZM works closely with communities to support local coastal management—an effort led by CZM’s Regional Coordinators who serve as liaisons between federal and state programs and municipal authorities, coordinate regional initiatives, perform federal consistency review, and provide technical assistance. CZM’s regions are North Shore, Boston Harbor, South Shore, Cape Cod and Islands, and South Coastal. The 2013 accomplishments for each region are provided below.
- North Shore (Salisbury to Revere) - CZM continued to regularly provide direct technical assistance to communities on the North Shore for coastal projects addressing diverse issues, such as coastal erosion, dredging, maintenance of shoreline structures, Designated Port Area redevelopment, and beach/dune best management practices. CZM also responded to requests for technical assistance on sea level rise adaptation issues as North Shore communities begin planning for climate change. CZM continued to take part in the Great Marsh Coalition, a team of state agency and nonprofit organizations formed to strategize ways to improve awareness and promote stewardship of the North Shore's Great Marsh—the largest continuous stretch of salt marsh in New England, extending from Cape Ann to New Hampshire. On November 14, the coalition held the Great Marsh Symposium: The Value of Natural Systems in Protecting Great Marsh Communities in Ipswich. This well attended second annual, full-day workshop provided an opportunity for more than 120 citizens and local and state decision makers to discuss the value of natural systems in mitigating sea level rise impacts to the Great Marsh and surrounding communities. CZM also continues to coordinate the popular North Shore Regional Conservation Commission Network. In 2014, CZM plans to further partner with MassDEP to strengthen and revitalize the network to include more regulatory assistance in addition to providing regular training for North Shore Conservation Commissions and staff on a range of relevant regulatory and policy tools. CZM’s popular network email listserv, which connects more than 50 local and state government participants on the North Shore, will continue to provide timely information and tool sharing among participants on a regular basis.
- Boston Harbor (Winthrop to Weymouth) - CZM continued to attend Technical Working Group meetings for the Boston Harbor Deep Draft Navigation Improvement Project, which will deepen the entrance channel, main ship channel, and other channels in Boston Harbor for larger ships. CZM is providing technical assistance regarding the potential beneficial reuse of the rock that is removed from the harbor as a part of the dredging project. CZM also continued to provide technical assistance to the cities of Boston and Everett on issues relating to harbor planning and DPA planning.
- South Shore (Hingham to Plymouth) - CZM provided technical, grant writing, monitoring, and coordination assistance to a number of regionally significant wetland restoration, stewardship, and shoreline protection projects on the South Shore. These efforts included: assisting the town of Scituate with the successful completion of the Gulf of Maine Council-NOAA funded feasibility report for the Bound Brook Diadromous Fish Restoration Initiative; assisting with the completion of CPR-funded stormwater construction work in Marshfield and Duxbury; and providing support to the towns of Scituate, Marshfield, and Duxbury in the successful completion of a coastal storm-damage and flooding planning and adaptation project funded by the Gulf of Maine Council and Northeast Regional Ocean Council. CZM also participated in several deployments of the Storm Team, including the NEMO and March Nor’easter storms, to document and report on damage from coastal storm events using StormReporter. As follow up, CZM participated in the Federal Emergency Management Agency Post Damage Assessments Teams working with coastal towns to document storm damage impacts in support of federal disaster funding submittals. Additional efforts included participation in: ongoing beach profiling at Nantasket Beach in Hull; an oil spill response drill in the North River between Scituate and Marshfield, which was based on the geographic oil spill response plan that was developed in 2011; the interagency Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary oil spill response workshop; a demonstration workshop for the NOAA Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Data Viewer; the Parker Ave Cut tidal creek restoration initiative in partnership with the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration, the NOAA Habitat Restoration Center, and the Center for Student Coastal Research. CZM also partnered with the Massachusetts Bays Program, MassDEP, and Conservation Agents from the towns of Norwell, Hull, and Weymouth to implement and facilitate the South Shore Conservation Commission Network and attended the annual meeting of the Weir River Watershed Association as the featured speaker.
- Cape Cod and Islands (Bourne to Provincetown, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Gosnold) - CZM worked closely with many of the 23 communities within this region, providing direct technical assistance on a wide variety of coastal issues, including coastal erosion and beach management, water quality monitoring, stormwater management, harbor planning, and dredging. CZM worked with Conservation Commissions throughout the region and continued to help coordinate the Cape and Islands Conservation Commission Network. In addition, CZM provided project-specific technical assistance to Conservation Commissions in Chilmark, Tisbury, Gosnold, Harwich, Brewster, Truro, and Nantucket. CZM continued to work toward implementing and improving existing No Discharge Areas around the Cape and Islands, with the goal of designating all state waters as no discharge. CZM helped the towns of Falmouth and Barnstable apply for and secure grant funds for commercial vessel pumpout facilities, continues to work with the town of Provincetown to implement commercial pumpout facilities in Provincetown Harbor, and is working with the town of Tisbury to implement commercial pumpout facilities in Vineyard Haven Harbor. CZM continues to work with the town of Nantucket to develop a coastal management plan for town-owned properties. CZM also assisted in planning and coordinating several environmental conferences on the Cape and Islands, including the 2013 Cape Coastal Conference in Barnstable and the “Katama Bay, Dynamic Changes in the Coastal System” conference in Edgartown. CZM continues to serve on various boards and committees, including the Barnstable County Dredge Advisory Board and Pleasant Bay Coastal Resource Workgroup, and as co-chair the Barnstable County Coastal Resource Committee.
- South Coastal (Wareham to Seekonk) - Working in close cooperation with the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Project (NEP), CZM completed the first phase of a sea level rise mapping project for the eight Buzzards Bay municipalities. Using GIS software and highly accurate elevation data, the project started with the most recent Flood Insurance Rate Map base flood elevations and expanded those elevations by 1-foot, 2-foot, and 4-foot increments to show the potential floodplain expansion caused by future sea level rise. With each of the three expansion scenarios, the number of homes affected, their assessed values, and impacted municipal structures were identified. Maps and reports associated with this project were provided to the municipalities for comment and can be viewed on the Buzzards Bay NEP website. Work on a similar project for the Mount Hope Bay coastal municipalities is a priority for 2014. The South Coastal Regional Office lead CZM’s review of Buzzards Bay Risk Assessment prepared for the Department of Homeland Security and the associated U.S. Coast Guard Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making, which considered changes to vessel piloting, escorting, and tracking requirements. Generally CZM was supportive of proposed measures that would strengthen protection of Buzzards Bay from future oil spills and opposed to those that would weaken protection. CZM continued to participate in regular monthly Buzzards Bay Action Committee meetings and to assist on coastal issues as needed. CZM assisted the Buzzards Bay NEP on the review and selection of its mini-grant applications. CZM also assisted the Buzzards Bay NEP and the municipalities of Westport and New Bedford/Fairhaven on their selection of a contractor to perform stormwater design work along a portion of Drift Road in Westport, and on the selection of a contractor to conduct the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning Study for Water Quality Infrastructure in New Bedford, Fairhaven, and Acushnet. CZM spoke to the Westport Water Resources Advisory Committee on the potential impacts of recreational boating on the natural resources of the Westport River and Harbor. Finally CZM provided technical assistance on a range of projects and issues including the state permitting of the Bird Island Roseate Tern Restoration Project, the Federal Consistency Review of a dredging and marina improvement project in Fairhaven, the use of MORIS to view certain state mapping information, and other coastal issues.
National Estuary Programs
CZM hosts and administers two National Estuary Programs (NEPs)—the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program and the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program. The Buzzards Bay NEP works to protect and restore water quality and living resources in Buzzards Bay and its watershed. The Massachusetts Bays NEP works to protect and enhance the coastal health and heritage of Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays. Each program’s highlights from 2013 are included below.
Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program
- Buzzards Bay Grants - The Buzzards Bay NEP continued its core mission to provide grants and technical assistance to Buzzards Bay municipalities. In September, EEA announced the award of four environmental grants administered by the Buzzards Bay NEP. These grants—totaling $83,460 to four Buzzards Bay watershed towns—will help communities protect and restore water quality and natural resources in Buzzards Bay and its surrounding watershed through land conservation and infrastructure projects. This year’s funds—granted to projects designed to conserve open space and rare species habitat and reduce pollution discharge to shellfish beds—will be provided to the following towns:
- Rochester - $20,000 to develop a field survey and plan to protect the 48-acre property and habitat along Dexter Mill Brook.
- Wareham - $20,000 to develop and permit engineering plans to treat contaminated runoff discharging to the Wareham River estuary, which is polluted and closed to shellfishing.
- Fairhaven and Mattapoisett - $21,730 each to support a larger collaborative initiative to permanently protect 398 acres around Nasketucket Bay, including the addition of 18 acres of waterfront property to the Nasketucket Bay State Reservation and linking to the existing bike path.
- New Storm Smart and Climate Ready Website for Buzzards Bay - The Buzzards Bay NEP launched Storm Smart Planning and Climate Ready Assessments for Buzzards Bay, a website established to consolidate information, data, and assessments undertaken by the Buzzards Bay NEP and others about the potential impacts of storms, shifting shorelines, rising sea levels, and changes in climate and precipitation on Buzzards Bay and its watershed. Through links to technical information on floodplain expansion, migrating salt marshes, king tides, and other topics, the website also offers potential strategies to adapt to climate change issues. The following Buzzards Bay NEP resources are available through the website:
- Interactive floodplain maps that show the differences between new federal Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), older FIRMs, and Buzzards Bay NEP baseline maps.
- Floodplain expansion maps that provide projections of how the floodplain may expand with sea level rise under 1-, 2-, and 4-foot scenarios, along with reports for each town quantifying the value of structures within those flood zones.
- Interactive tidal elevation maps that show real-world elevations of mean high water.
- Study of salt marsh expansion with sea level rise that will map the effect of migrating salt marshes and the high tide line under 1-, 2-, and 4-foot increases in sea level.
- New Bedford, Fairhaven, and Acushnet climate ready estuary and storm smart planning study that will assess the vulnerabilities of the area’s stormwater, sewer, and other infrastructure.
- Buzzards Bay Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan - In November, the Buzzards Bay NEP Steering Committee approved the 2013 update of the Buzzards Bay Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). The document will soon be posted online and copies will be mailed to area municipal boards, environmental groups, and libraries. This Buzzards Bay Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan 2013 Update provides a blueprint for the efforts of the Buzzards Bay NEP, municipalities, and other partners to protect and restore the water quality and living resources of Buzzards Bay and its surrounding watershed. This update of the original 1991 CCMP includes existing, new, and revised goals that relate to 21 key issues facing the bay and watershed. In each of the 21 Action Plans, Buzzards Bay NEP identifies strategies for government, citizens groups, and the public.
- Massachusetts Estuaries Project - The Buzzards Bay NEP continued to provide technical support to MassDEP in the review of Massachusetts Estuaries Program Total Maximum Daily Load reports and the data used in these reports.
- Technical Assistance - The Buzzards Bay NEP continued to assist municipalities and other partners with development of local regulatory protection strategies, review of local projects, and design of stormwater treatment systems. The NEP provided more than 160 map products and other technical support to the Buzzards Bay Coalition and area land trusts in their efforts to protect important habitat and open space in Buzzards Bay, including help with the preparation of grant applications and materials for education and outreach. Other support included training and technical assistance to area conservation commission on wetland delineation, soils, wetland line review and flagging, and project plan review. The program provided technical assistance and paid for designs to treat stormwater for town of Wareham's Main Street revitalization area. The program and a contractor are currently working with the town of Westport to develop stormwater designs to treat stormwater from Drift Road that is contributing to shellfish bed closures in the Westport River.
Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program
- Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan Revision Launch - Throughout the spring and early summer under the leadership of new Director Pam DiBona, the Massachusetts Bays Program (Mass Bays) began the development of a new Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan—the Mass Bays blueprint for protecting the environmental health of Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay. Mass Bays surveyed the Management Committee regarding priority topics and held guided discussions with regional networks in the five Mass Bays regions. Existing regional partners and supporters of Mass Bays were called on to identify their own priorities, share their own projects in line with those priorities, and suggest issues that could benefit from Mass Bays support. Mass Bays will continue work on the new CCMP in 2014.
- 2013 Mass Bays Research and Planning Grants - In February, the Mass Bays Research and Planning Grants program awarded $84,000 in federal funds to support local initiatives and projects to understand the causes of coastal habitat degradation, develop plans to address coastal water quality and restore estuarine habitats, and build local capacity to protect coastal resources. Funds will be provided to the following nonprofits and academic institutions:
- Friends of Herring River, Wellfleet/Truro - $20,000 to evaluate the effectiveness of proposed tidal control structures designed to restore salt marsh conditions to the Herring River floodplain in Wellfleet.
- Neponset River Watershed Association - $7,500 to address water quality concerns in the Neponset River Area of Critical Environmental Concern.
- Cohasset Center for Student Central Research - $10,600 to conduct a survey of river herring populations and perform water quality monitoring in the Gulf River estuary.
- Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries - $8,120 to study the impacts of small docks and piers on salt marsh vegetation in Massachusetts estuaries.
- University of New Hampshire - $20,000 to test the viability of transplanting eelgrass into Plum Island Sound, where it was once abundant.
- Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies - $18,323 to conduct an assessment of shoreline change along the coast from Beach Point in Truro to Jeremy Point in Wellfleet.
- Conservation Mooring Study - In January, Mass Bays released the Conservation Mooring Study , which was developed by UMass Boston’s Urban Harbors Institute with funding from Mass Bays and The Nature Conservancy. The study assesses the impacts of conventional moorings on eelgrass habitat and the potential of conservation moorings to prevent eelgrass loss and benthic habitat restoration. The study also considers the economic, functional, and regulatory aspects of traditional and conservation moorings.
- Mass Bays New e-newsletter -This year, Mass Bays introduced a new format for its quarterly e-newsletter that provides better connectivity with Mass Bays and partner websites as well as improved user tracking. Archives are available on the Mass Bays website. To subscribe, fill out the Mass Bays Newsletter subscription form.
Staff & People
In looking back over the year, CZM welcomes the new members of the coastal management team and thanks our dedicated interns.
Mass Bays Director - In January, Mass Bays welcomed Pam DiBona as its new Director. Pam brings very strong skills and credentials, with extensive experience in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors. In her previous position at the New England Aquarium, Pam coordinated the New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative—developing several multi-partner coastal programs, securing grant funds to carry them out, and serving as project manager—and was manager of the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence - New England. Prior to that, Pam worked as Chief of Staff for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and at the Environmental League of Massachusetts, she held roles as Vice President for Policy and as Legislative Director. In addition to work with the Charles River Watershed Association, Pam served in positions with environmental consulting and communications firms.
Internships - CZM welcomed the following interns to help with various projects through the summer and fall:
- Jeff Ellis was hired as the COASTSWEEP 2013 Marketing and Social Media Intern. He worked with volunteers, sponsors, and other state agencies to increase awareness of marine debris and promote COASTSWEEP’s 26th year of cleaning Massachusetts beaches. Jeff’s own COASTSWEEP observations are best described in this piece in EEA’s Great Outdoors Blog. Jeff’s working toward a dual Master’s in Marine Biology and Coastal Zone Management and has a keen interest in protecting marine life. His blog piece “COASTSWEEP - Protecting Marine Life One Piece of Trash at a Time” explains how COASTSWEEP not only beautifies beaches, but saves lives of marine animals. While at CZM, Jeff also compiled data from all of the cleanups for preliminary analysis of debris patterns in Massachusetts.
- Ryan Pugliares joined CZM as a photography and media intern for COASTSWEEP. Ryan is currently studying Community Development and Jazz Performance at the University of Vermont in Burlington. He was born and raised on the North Shore and has always appreciated the natural beauty of coastal Massachusetts. While at CZM, he combined his love of music and the coastline at the summer Trustees of the Reservation Thursday Picnic Concert series, where he staffed a COASTSWEEP table, educating concert goers about the importance of cleaning beaches and recruiting volunteers. A number of his North Shore photos have been included on CZM’s web site and his clam photo graces the banner of the COASTSWEEP Facebook page.
- Chris Wells was brought on as the CZM Marine Invasive Species Intern. Chris recently completed his Master’s Degree at the University of New Hampshire, where his research examined marine invasive species at a marina in Salem, Massachusetts. Through the summer, Chris helped plan and conduct the 2013 Rapid Assessment Survey, a regional survey for the detection of marine invasive species. Following the survey, Chris will help compile the data that was collected from Maine to Rhode Island and assist with the development of the 2013 report.