News

Joe Costa Receives EPA Environmental Merit Award - On April 22, the New England Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) presented its 2015 Environmental Merit Awards. Along with dozens of other awardees, Joe Costa (executive director of the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program, which is administered by CZM), Tom Borden (program director of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program), and Heather Radcliffe (project officer for the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission) were recognized for their dedicated and efficient collaboration to launch EPA’s Southeast New England Coastal Watershed Restoration Program. The program’s goal is to facilitate the collaboration of public and private groups to protect, enhance, and restore southeast New England watersheds. Part of a broader EPA effort to address common water quality problems in the region, the program has resulted in the funding of 12 projects at $1.5 million. These projects will reduce nutrient pollution from fertilizers, septic systems, and other sources to both fresh and saltwater systems. For more information, see the EPA Press Release.

MEMA Briefings on Federal Disaster Funding for January Blizzard Impacts - As a result of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts receiving a major disaster declaration due to the severe blizzard on January 26-28, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) will be conducting nine Applicant Briefings on the availability of federal funding from May 4-8. The assistance was authorized by President Barack Obama after a review of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) analysis of Governor Charlie Baker’s request for federal assistance. The purpose of the briefings is to explain the application and reimbursement process for receiving federal funds for eligible expenses incurred by state and local governments, as well as eligible nonprofit organizations in Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Middlesex, Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester Counties. This major disaster declaration does not apply to individuals, residents, or businesses. Communities are strongly encouraged to send representatives from local emergency management, public works, and finance departments because the briefings will explain the application and reimbursement process in detail. For more information, please visit the MEMA website.

Boundary Review Completed for the Beverly Designated Port Area - On April 6, CZM issued the Designation Decision for the Beverly Harbor Designated Port Area (DPA), concluding the comprehensive DPA boundary review process initiated in April 2014 at the request of the city of Beverly. The decision affirms the findings in CZM’s January 5, 2015, report that determined the Beverly DPA does not meet the suitability requirements for water-dependent industrial use pursuant to 301 CMR 25.00 pdf format of CMR 25.00: Designation of Port Areas
. Consequently, the area will no longer be subject to the DPA requirements of Chapter 91 specific to the protection and promotion of water-dependent industries. For more on the Beverly decision, see the designation decision pdf format of Designation Decision for the Beverly Harbor DPA - 2015
. For more information on DPAs, see CZM’s Port and Harbor Planning Program - Designated Port Areas website.

MassBays Launches New Estuary Viewer - The Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program (MassBays) Estuary Delineation and Assessment Viewer is now available. Each of the 47 embayments in the MassBays planning area, from the Merrimack River estuary to Provincetown Harbor, are depicted in interactive maps that locate resources—tidal flats/shellfish habitat, shorebird habitat/nesting sites, anadromous fish runs, salt marsh, and eelgrass beds—and stressors—impervious area, stormwater discharge, land use change, population density, 303(d) impairments, fish barriers/impoundments, wastewater discharge, shellfish area classifications, and stream crossings.

Spatial Data for Volume 2 of 2015 Ocean Plan Now in MORIS - The spatial data presented in the Baseline Assessment Five-Year Update in Volume 2 of the 2015 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan are now available in the Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (MORIS), CZM’s online mapping tool. In MORIS, users can interactively view various data layers over different backdrops (aerial photographs, political boundaries, bathymetry, or other data including Google basemaps), create and share maps, and download the data for use in GIS. A stand-alone version of MORIS that contains the data in the ocean plan can be viewed on the MORIS: Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan Data web page.

Governor Baker Submits Request for Major Disaster Declaration - On March 27, Governor Charlie Baker submitted a request to President Barack Obama for a Major Disaster Declaration based on the impacts of an unprecedented 28-day weather event, starting January 26, that brought record snowfall, bitter temperatures, and coastal storm damage to the Commonwealth. This declaration would make federal aid available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance Program to 10 Massachusetts counties: Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Middlesex, Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester. During storm events on January 27-28 and February 15-16, CZM provided support in the state’s Emergency Operations Center, acquiring and compiling reports from the Coastal Storm Damage Assessment Team. CZM also assisted with the preliminary damage assessments led by FEMA and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. See the Governor’s Office press release for more on the disaster declaration request.

Boundary Review for the Chelsea Creek Designated Port Area - As noticed in the March 11 Environmental Monitor and the Boston Globe, CZM is seeking comments on the notice of intent to review the Chelsea Creek Designated Port Area (DPA) boundary. The purpose of the boundary review is to determine whether the DPA boundary should remain as it is currently established or whether it should be modified in accordance with criteria governing the suitability of contiguous lands and waters to accommodate water-dependent industrial use. The Commonwealth’s DPA policy seeks to promote water-dependent industries as an important sector of the state’s economy and prevent the loss of areas that have certain key characteristics that make them particularly well suited to water-dependent industrial uses. Under the DPA regulations at 301 CMR 25.00 pdf format of CMR 25.00: Designation of Port Areas
, CZM is responsible for mapping, interpreting, and periodic review of DPA boundaries. A public meeting was held on March 31 to describe the DPA boundary review process. See the presentation from the March meeting pdf format of Boundary Review of the Chelsea Creek DPA
file size 2MB. Please submit comments by April 24 (comment period extended by 2 weeks from April 10) to: Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, Brad Washburn, Assistant Director, 251 Causeway Street, Suite 800, Boston MA 02114 or email bradford.washburn@state.ma.us.

Coastal and Marine Geology Videos and Photos - The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in partnership with CZM has created a Coastal and Marine Geology Video and Photo Portal that allows users to view video and photography of the seafloor off of coastal California and Massachusetts, and aerial imagery of the coastline along segments of the Gulf of Mexico and mid-Atlantic coasts. These data were collected as part of several USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program Seafloor Mapping projects and Hurricane and Extreme Storm research. For more information, see the USGS press release.

Draft Coastal Erosion Commission Report Released for Public Comment - The Massachusetts Coastal Erosion Commission is seeking public comment on its draft report, released on January 7. The commission held five regional public hearings to solicit input on the draft report. For more information, see the Coastal Erosion Commission Draft Report web page. Submit comments to erosion-commission@state.ma.us by April 7.

Storm Team Assesses Damage from Second Major Coastal Storm of 2015 - On February 15 and 16, twelve members of the Coastal Storm Damage Assessment Team were activated to assess damage from a coastal storm in communities from Salisbury to Cape Ann and from Hull to Plymouth, and in Sandwich and Nantucket. Widespread beach, dune, and bank erosion, as well as overwash of seawalls and low-lying dunes were observed. In Hull, Scituate, Marshfield, and Nantucket, overwash of seawalls resulted in water flowing around homes and flooding of coastal streets and parking areas. All observations and photographs were input into StormReporter, an on-line database that is used by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency in storm recovery efforts, by the National Weather Service to fine tune forecasting of future events, and others for floodplain management and planning.

2015 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan - On January 6, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) released the 2015 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, the first formal amendment of the Commonwealth’s ocean plan, which was released in December 2009 in response to the Oceans Act of 2008. The 2009 ocean plan established protections for critical marine habitat and important water-dependent uses in the Massachusetts Ocean Planning Area and set siting and performance standards for specific ocean-based development. EEA is required by the Oceans Act to review the ocean plan every five years. As with the development of the first ocean plan, CZM led the review and update effort initiated in January 2013, working closely with the Ocean Advisory Commission and Ocean Science Advisory Council. In October, five regional public hearings were held to receive comment and input. For more information on the review and update process, see www.mass.gov/eea/mop, which also includes links to the final 2015 ocean plan, 2009 ocean plan, 2014 draft plan, data, and other relevant documents.

Storm Team Assesses Damage from the Blizzard of 2015 - From January 27-28, members of the State Coastal Storm Damage Assessment Team (Storm Team) evaluated damage from the blizzard of 2015 on the east-, north-, and northeast-facing shorelines of the Massachusetts coast. The Storm Team is led by CZM and is comprised of trained personnel from state and federal agencies, and local government. CZM staff were stationed in the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) State Emergency Operations Center throughout the storm to coordinate Storm Team efforts and relay reports directly to emergency management personnel. Storm Team members observed widespread beach, dune, and bank erosion, flooding, and overwash of dunes and seawalls. Erosion from the storm undermined houses, roads, seawalls, revetments, public parking areas, and utilities. Specific reports included extensive flooding of coastal neighborhoods, significant overwash of seawalls and other shoreline stabilization structures, damaged pavement on coastal roads and parking areas, exposed utility lines from erosion beneath damaged pavement, destroyed decks and beach access stairs, severe overwash of barrier beaches filling in tidal creeks and marshes, and leaning utility poles. Houses appeared to be significantly damaged as a result of coastal erosion and flooding in Hull, Scituate, Marshfield, Duxbury, Sandwich, and Nantucket. More than 175 detailed reports were entered into the StormReporter online database, which helped inform decisions regarding state and federal resources needed to assist communities. The reports were also used by the National Weather Service to refine their forecasts during the event.

New Seafloor Mapping Initiative Reports Published - CZM and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) published two new seafloor mapping reports. Geological Sampling Data and Benthic Biota Classification—Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound, Massachusetts contains sample and photography data, including a classification of benthic biota observed in seafloor photographs and based on the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard. Shallow Geology, Sea-Floor Texture, and Physiographic Zones of Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts contains geologic, sediment texture, and physiographic zone maps that characterize the seafloor of Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. These data are derived from interpretations of the seismic-reflection profiles, high-resolution bathymetry, acoustic-backscatter intensity, bottom photographs, and surficial sediment samples. The reports were prepared as part of the 12-year, cooperative mapping program between CZM and USGS, which began in 2003 and has mapped more than 2,330 square kilometers (900 square miles) of the Commonwealth’s coastal waters. For more information, see CZM's Seafloor Mapping Program website and the recently updated USGS Geologic Mapping of the Seafloor Offshore of Massachusetts website, or contact CZM’s Dan Sampson at daniel.sampson@state.ma.us.

Boston Living with Water—Vote for Your Favorite Design - On February 6, Boston Living with Water will reveal the first round of entries in this design competition for ideas on responding to sea level rise in Boston. Submissions featuring adaptation solutions at the building, neighborhood, and infrastructure scale were due in January and will be available for viewing on the Boston Living with Water website beginning February 6, when people can visit the website and vote for the People’s Choice Award. The Boston Living with Water Jury, comprised of local and international experts, will announce the finalists at a special Finalist Review and Exhibit event on February 25. Funded through CZM’s Coastal Community Resilience Grant Program and the Barr Foundation, this design competition is hosted by Boston Harbor Association, City of Boston, Boston Redevelopment Authority, and Boston Society of Architects.

Coastal Community Resilience Grant Awards for 2015 Announced - On December 1, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) announced $1.5 million in funding through CZM’s Coastal Community Resilience Grants Program to support local efforts to address the effects of coastal storms, flooding, erosion, and sea level rise. The 11 grant award recipients are the communities of Duxbury, Hull, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mattapoisett, Nantucket, Provincetown, Sandwich, Swampscott, Wareham, Weymouth, and Winthrop. The goal of this grant program is to provide financial and technical resources for advancing new and innovative local efforts to increase awareness of climate impacts, identify vulnerabilities, and implement measures to increase community resilience (i.e., the ability to endure impacts associated with coastal storms and the effects of erosion, flooding and sea level rise and to respond, recover and adapt to consequences).

Green Infrastructure Grants Awarded - On December 1, EEA announced nearly $1.5 million in funding through CZM’s Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience Pilot Grant Program to reduce risks associated with coastal storms, erosion, and sea level rise through natural and nonstructural approaches called green infrastructure. The seven grant award recipients are Chilmark, Gloucester, Plymouth, Salem, Save Popponesset Bay, Inc., Scituate, and Westport. Projects funded this year include building and enhancing dunes and beaches, planting beach grass and other erosion-control vegetation, restoring coastal floodplain, and creating salt marsh habitat. Results of these projects will provide valuable information for other communities seeking to identify opportunities for green infrastructure strategies to manage climate change impacts.

New Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Awards Announced - On December 2, EEA announced $368,298 in funding through CZM’s Coastal Pollution Remediation (CPR) Grant Program for projects to protect coastal waters in Massachusetts. The CPR grant recipients are the communities of Kingston, Duxbury, Hingham, and Manchester-by-the-Sea. Projects include local efforts to design and implement controls for runoff pollution from roadways and parking areas. These local water quality improvement projects will help protect wildlife habitat, open shellfish beds to harvesting, and reduce bacteria levels at recreational beaches. The grants are being matched by $128,033 from municipal sources, further extending the power of the grant program.

Jobs

COASTSWEEP Intern - CZM is seeking a COASTWEEP intern with strong organizational, written and verbal communication skills to: promote CZM's annual COASTWEEP beach cleanup, increase volunteer involvement with the event, secure partnerships with new volunteer groups (particularly college and high environmental and community service clubs and similar organizations), recruit sponsors for the event, and increase public awareness of the marine debris issues. Applications are due by May 1.

Also, see the Job Listings in Massachusetts for additional state opportunities.

Grants and Requests for Responses

Buzzards Bay Municipal Grant Funding - The Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program (BBNEP) is seeking proposals from eligible Buzzards Bay watershed communities for projects that help meet the BBNEP's goals to protect and restore wetlands, wildlife habitat, and water quality, and to safeguard open spaces in Buzzards Bay and its surrounding watershed. An anticipated total of $40,000 of federal funds is available. For more information and to view the Request for Responses, see the COMMBUYS website. Proposals are due by May 11.

Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program Regional Service Providers - The Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program (MassBays) is seeking proposals for Regional Service Providers (RSPs) to serve each of the five regions of the MassBays planning area: Upper North Shore, Lower North Shore, Metropolitan Boston, South Shore, and Cape Cod. RSPs will support the implementation of Mass Bays’ Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. One-year grants of up to $61,000 will be awarded for each region. For more information, to view the Request for Responses (RFR), and download required forms, see the COMMBUYS website. Proposals are due by May 28.

Also, see COMMBUYS - the Commonwealth's electronic procurement system for other state opportunities.

Project Review/Public Comment

Please note: All official CZM requests for public comment are published in the Public Notices section of the Environmental Monitor, the bi-weekly publication from the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) office.

Currently, there are no major comment opportunities to highlight here.

Calendar

There are currently no CZM calendar listings. Please check back later.

Also, check out the CZM Coastal Calendar for more CZM-related events.