News

Draft Northeast Ocean Plan - On May 25, the Northeast Regional Planning Body (RPB) released the Draft Northeast Regional Ocean Plan for public review and a 60-day public comment period. The RPB is a group of representatives from six New England states, six federally recognized tribes, nine federal agencies, and the New England Fishery Management Council that was formed to better manage the ocean and coasts in the Northeast. The draft plan is the result of a federal Executive Order issued in 2010 that established a national ocean policy and tasked regional planning bodies with developing regional ocean plans. Several years of scientific study, data analysis, public participation, and collaboration have led to a comprehensive characterization of ocean ecosystems and human uses and the subsequent development of a regional ocean plan for the Northeast. Three public meetings will be held in Massachusetts to introduce the plan and solicit public comments. The meetings will be:

  • Gloucester - June 13, 6:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at Maritime Gloucester, 23 Harbor Loop, Gloucester
  • Boston - June 14, 2:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, 100 Cambridge Street, 2nd Floor, Rooms C and D, Boston
  • New Bedford - June 15, 6:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at the New Bedford Public Library, 613 Pleasant Street, New Bedford

The RPB invites comments and feedback from those interested in the future of New England’s ocean and its resources. Comments may be provided online or in writing, or by attending one of the public meetings. For more information, including commenting instructions, links to the Northeast Data Portal, and supporting documents, see the Northeast RPB website.

Little River Restoration Project Completed - On May 23, the City of Gloucester, state and local officials, and conservation advocates celebrated the completion of the Little River restoration and resiliency project, which involved day-lighting portions of buried waterway, replacing an aging concrete channel with a natural stream bed, and restoring sensitive coastal wetlands. These efforts have already dramatically improved ecological conditions, eliminated a public safety hazard, reduced flooding risks, and enhanced climate change resiliency in the small coastal stream that flows from Lily Pond to the Annisquam River. The project was funded through a variety of grant sources, the most significant of which was a $400,000 Coastal Resilience Grant from CZM. Additional funding was provided by the City of Gloucester, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and DFG’s Division of Ecological Restoration (DER). For details on the project and the event, see the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) press release.

Seeking Local Cleanup Coordinators for COASTSWEEP 2016 - COASTSWEEP 2016, the annual state-wide beach cleanup sponsored by CZM, kicks off in September—but now is the time to sign up to be a local cleanup coordinator to make sure your favorite beach, marsh, dive site, and riverbank is free of trash and other marine debris. Volunteers throughout Massachusetts turn out in large numbers each year for this event, which is part of an international campaign organized by the Ocean Conservancy in Washington, DC. Participants all over the world collect marine debris and record what they find. This information is then used to help reduce future marine debris problems. Cleanups will be scheduled throughout September and October. To get involved, see the COASTSWEEP website or check out COASTSWEEP on Facebook or Twitter.

MassBays Awards Healthy Estuary Grants - On April 22, the Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton announced $97,828 in federal grant money to help towns and organizations improve ecosystem health in Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay. These Healthy Estuaries grants were awarded by the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program (MassBays) through CZM with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The grants are being matched by $99,112 in municipal and private contributions and focus on supporting MassBays mission to protect, restore, and enhance the estuarine resources of the region. The following five grants were awarded:

  • Center for Coastal Studies - $31,986 to conduct an extensive assessment of contaminants of emerging concern in Cape Cod Bay estuaries to evaluate ecological health risks and provide a more complete understanding of how land use patterns affect water quality beyond nutrient contamination.
  • MIT Sea Grant College Program - $28,500 to conduct surveys to identify specific river herring habitat preferences and resource use that will inform ongoing restoration efforts to convert cranberry bogs to natural wetland and restore fish passage in Fresh Pond in Plymouth.
  • The Association to Preserve Cape Cod - $15,010 to prioritize restoration projects and identify two top-priority projects to develop for planning and construction, including submission of proposals for funding.
  • Town of Braintree - $16,000 to conduct comprehensive wetland delineation and develop a sediment management plan for the restoration of a fish passage to the 180-acre Great Pond Reservation.
  • Town of Wellfleet - $8,640 to use an existing hydrodynamic tide-height model to assess various culvert configurations for the Mayo Creek Restoration.

For more information, see the EEA Press Release.

Federal Funds to Support Coastal Resilience Awarded in New England - In February and March, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management announced $9 million in recommended grants under the Regional Coastal Resilience Grants Program. Grants will fund comprehensive regional projects that are designed to make coasts and communities more resilient, and that rely on science-based solutions and collaborative partnerships. Two projects in the Northeast received awards. The Cape Cod Commission was awarded $522,348 to undertake a public planning process to improve community understanding of climate change impacts, sea level rise scenarios, and various adaptation strategies. The Northeast Regional Association of Coastal and Ocean Observing Systems (NERCOOS) in partnership with the five coastal New England states was awarded $891,243 to document and predict coastal storm impacts and increase the implementation of sustainable, nature-based infrastructure approaches (living shorelines). CZM will be working with the coastal programs, the Nature Conservancy, the Northeast Regional Ocean Council, and other partners to develop state-of-the-practice information on living shorelines; examine, identify, and address regulatory issues associated with natural infrastructure practices; develop and implement a series of training program workshops; and advance community-based living shoreline planning and assessment pilot projects. For more information, see the NOAA press release.

New Report on Climate Change Impacts to Coastal Stormwater BMPs - CZM, in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), has released Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Stormwater BMPs and Recommended BMP Design Considerations in Coastal Communities. Developed by the Horsley Witten Group, Inc., with support from the Woods Hole Group, this report is intended to help municipalities address the unique challenges of siting, designing, and constructing stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) in coastal areas that are subject to flooding, storm damage, and salt and wind exposure and are expected to experience increased impacts due to sea level rise, higher groundwater levels, and increased frequency and intensity of storm impacts due to climate change.

Buzzards Bay NEP Launches Stormwater Website - In February 2016, the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program (NEP) launched a new website, stormwater.buzzardsbay.org. The purpose of the website is to support the activities of the Buzzards Bay Stormwater Collaborative, which consists of five towns (Dartmouth, Acushnet, Fairhaven, Mattapoisett, and Wareham) that are working with the Buzzards Bay Action Committee (BBAC) and the Buzzards Bay NEP to map stormwater networks and monitor stormwater discharges that are contributing to shellfish bed closures and other pollution-caused impairments. This work began in the fall of 2015 when the BBAC received a $200,000 Healthy Communities Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Buzzards Bay NEP, which is partnering with the BBAC on the grant, has hired a new staff member to support the municipal effort. The BBAC will be hiring a stormwater specialist and interns to collect dry and wet weather stormwater samples. This work will also support municipal efforts to meet the goals of their municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4) stormwater management plans.

Buzzards Bay NEP Awards Water Quality Grants - On January 11, the Buzzards Bay National Estuary (NEP) Program awarded six grants totaling $794,478 to address nutrient and pathogen pollution in Buzzards Bay. The following grants, which are funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and administered by CZM through the Buzzards Bay NEP, will help the towns protect important habitat and drinking water resources:

  • Buzzards Bay Coalition - $200,000 to work with the towns of Wareham, Bourne, and Plymouth and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy to evaluate the feasibility of relocating the Wareham Wastewater Treatment Facility discharge from the Agawam River to a well-flushed area near the Cape Cod Canal.
  • Marine Biological Laboratory - $175,918 to collaborate with the Buzzards Bay Coalition and Barnstable County Department of Health to quantify the nitrogen removal benefits from innovative alternative (I/A) systems being installed in West Falmouth Harbor. The work will also determine whether the addition of a carbon source will increase nitrogen removal in I/A systems.
  • Town of Marion - $200,000 to coordinate with Mattapoisett and the Buzzards Bay Coalition in hiring a consultant to design an expanded sewage collection system from Marion's Wastewater Treatment Facility into the existing densely developed neighborhoods of Indian Cove (Marion) and Harbor Beach (Mattapoisett) on Aucoot Cove.
  • Town of Falmouth - $53,950 to expand an oyster reef to reduce nitrogen loads to West Falmouth Harbor near Mashapaquit Creek in the Snug Harbor area. The project will inform the extent to which oyster reefs can effectively improve water quality, and can contribute to watershed nitrogen reduction for West Falmouth Harbor and other similar estuaries.
  • Town of Fairhaven - $58,350 to prepare designs and permit applications for green infrastructure stormwater best management practices at four high priority outfalls on Sconticut Neck. The effort will reduce pathogen and nutrient loading and other stormwater pollutants to Little Bay and Nasketucket Bay.
  • Town of Dartmouth - $106,260 to work the city of New Bedford to treat stormwater runoff from two outfalls located at the end of Rodgers Street discharging to Clarks Cove and contributing to shellfish bed closures there.

For additional information, see the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) press release.

Ocean Advisory Commission Reconvenes - On January 26, a meeting of the Commonwealth’s Ocean Advisory Commission was held with a slate of new and re-appointed commission members. The commission is made up of legislators; representatives from commercial fishing, environmental organization, and offshore renewable energy representatives from coastal Regional Planning Agencies, and the heads of CZM, Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), and Division of Marine Fisheries. Agenda items included an overview of the 2015 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan and discussion regarding next steps and future efforts for implementing key management and science elements of the plan. A summary of the process, findings, and recommendations of the state’s Coastal Erosion Commission report was provided. The Ocean Advisory Commission also heard updates on the work underway on ocean planning in the Northeast and discussed its role in providing input on feedback from Massachusetts stakeholders when the draft regional plan is released this spring. Finally, the commission reviewed the latest work on the development of a performance and evaluation framework for tracking and reporting progress on the 2015 ocean plan. The commission will look to convene again in early May 2016.

Coastal Erosion Commission Final Report - On December 3, the Massachusetts Coastal Erosion Commission released its final report, which provides eight overarching strategies that seek to:

  • Advance science, data, and information for better decision making;
  • Enhance the legal, regulatory, and policy framework; and
  • Enhance shoreline management practices and approaches, technical and financial assistance to communities, and outreach and communication efforts.

Jobs

There are currently no employment opportunities at CZM. Please check back later or see the Finding a Job page for additional state opportunities.

Grants and Requests for Responses

Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Program - CZM is seeking proposals for the Coastal Pollutant Remediation (CPR) Grant Program. For Fiscal Year 2017, the CPR program will provide up to $400,000 to municipalities located in the Massachusetts Coastal Watershed to assess and remediate stormwater pollution from paved surfaces and to design and construct commercial boat waste pumpout facilities. As much as $125,000 may be requested and a 25 percent match of the total project cost is required. Projects may not exceed one year in duration and must be completed by June 30 of each year. To view the RFR and download required forms, see the COMMBUYS website. Applications are due by June 30.

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.

South Boston Waterfront District Municipal Harbor Plan - EEA and CZM are seeking public comment for the South Boston Waterfront District Municipal Harbor Plan Renewal and Amendment, in accordance with the Commonwealth's Municipal Harbor Planning (MHP) Regulations 301 CMR 23.00. The MHP renewal is for the entire South Boston MHP planning area, comprising 108 acres, and the amendment is specific to a site located at 150 Seaport Boulevard. The Renewal and Amendment updates the South Boston MHP with more recent City planning initiatives and polices, and addresses substitutions and offsets to facilitate the project proposed at 150 Seaport Boulevard. On July 19 at 6:00 p.m., CZM will hold a public hearing in the Piemonte Room at Boston City Hall. Submit public comments by July 22 to: Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, Lisa Engler, 251 Causeway Street, Suite 800, Boston MA 02114.

Calendar

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

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