Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Awards Announced - On August 3, EEA announced $500,000 in funding through CZM’s Coastal Pollution Remediation (CPR) Grant Program for projects to protect coastal water quality in Massachusetts. The CPR grant recipients are the communities of Barnstable, Everett, Kingston, Melrose, Plymouth, and Yarmouth. Projects include local efforts to assess, design, and implement infrastructure to intercept and treat contaminated stormwater runoff from roadways and parking areas. These local water quality improvement projects will reduce pollutants such as nutrients, sediment, and bacteria in the coastal watershed—helping to keep beaches and shellfish harvesting areas open and protecting wildlife habitat. The grants are being matched by $380,749 from municipal sources, further extending the power of the program. For more information, see the EEA Press Release.
Advancing Nature-Based Coastal Flood Protection - In July, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management announced an award of $999,999 to The Nature Conservancy, the state coastal zone management programs in New England, and the Northeast Regional Ocean Council to increase the effective use of nature-based infrastructure (or “living shorelines”) for flood protection. The NOAA Coastal Resilience Grant Program seeks to address local impacts of coastal storms and sea level rise. Building on a previous NOAA coastal resilience award, CZM will continue to work with regional partners over the next three years to develop information on suitable natural infrastructure types and benefits. This regional effort will support implementation and monitoring of a range of projects to increase natural resilience of coastal banks, beaches, and marshes. For more information, see the NOAA press release.
Students Bring Our Maritime Past into the Present this Summer - In July, the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources (BUAR)—in collaboration with maritime archaeologists from SEAMAHP and the PAST Foundation and supported by a grant from the NPS Maritime Heritage Program—embarked on a new collaborative education initiative. In this first-ever hands-on program for middle schoolers in Massachusetts, students and teachers from Salem’s Collins Middle School learned maritime archaeology. During the weeks of July 10-14 and July 24-28, students were instructed with problem-based skills as they investigated the shipwreck of schooner Ada K. Damon at The Trustees of the Reservations’ Crane Estate in Ipswich. The program met Massachusetts Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) standards, and several Collins teachers participated for Professional Development credits. In addition to basic archaeological recording and mapping, students built ship models, visited the NPS Salem Maritime National Historic Site to learn about local maritime history, sailed the schooner Fame, flew drones to record the wreck, and created 3D images of the site. For their capstone project, students presented their research and demonstrated their skills to faculty and administrators and created a Weebly site webpage highlighting aspect of their learning experience and showing a student produced documentary video.
CZM Spotlight: Characterizing Offshore Sand Resources - Erosion is a problem on many Massachusetts beaches, endangering coastal property and degrading important habitat for wildlife. One potential way to combat this erosion problem is beach nourishment—the process of depositing sand from offsite sources onto an eroding beach. This summer, to help develop the data and information to determine if this is a viable option in Massachusetts, CZM is working with a contractor to characterize five potential offshore sand resource areas identified in the 2015 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan. The data gathered will be used to determine whether sand and other sediment in the borrow sites is a good match for area beaches. Specialized sediment sampling equipment will be used to collect sediment cores beneath the seabed. The cores will be analyzed for sediment type, size, and depth of sediment layers below the surface to help determine whether the sand is “compatible,” or similar to the size and color of the natural beach. In addition to cores, the contractor will collect videos and photos of the nearby seafloor to characterize the species living in the area, including commercially important groundfish and lobsters. The five potential sand areas were selected based on a number of criteria, including the type of surface sediment, bathymetry, and sidescan sonar images of the seafloor collected as part of the ongoing CZM-USGS Seafloor Mapping Cooperative. When complete, the characterization will include estimates of the amount of sand available, sand grain size distributions, and a summary of the biological resources. Work is expected to be complete by late fall 2017.
Seeking Local Cleanup Coordinators for COASTSWEEP 2017 - COASTSWEEP 2017, the annual statewide beach cleanup sponsored by CZM, kicks off in September—and now is the time to sign up to be a local cleanup coordinator for your favorite beach, marsh, dive site, and riverbank. 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 trash and other 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.
Coast Guide Online Launched - On June 29, the Baker-Polito Administration launched Coast Guide Online, an interactive mapping tool developed by CZM. Designed for use on mobile phones and tablets, as well as desktop computers, Coast Guide Online includes more than 1,800 sites along the Massachusetts coast that are owned by government agencies (state, local, and federal) and nonprofits and open to the public. They include beaches, rocky coasts, shore-side parks, public boat ramps, local harbor walks, secluded coves, marshes and creeks, scenic overlooks, islands, small rights-of-way, and much more. With this tool, users can zoom in to view sites and click pop-up boxes displaying the site name, manager/owner, links to additional information, and a photo (if available). Coast Guide Online will continually be updated as new sites and new information become available. To help reach the ultimate goal of providing a photo for each site, CZM is holding a Coast Guide Online Photo Contest. Submit a photo of one of the Coast Guide Online sites and be entered to win a 2018 MassParks Pass from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). For more information, see the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) press release.
CZM Spotlight: Teaming Up to Bring Shipwrecks to Summer School - During the weeks of July 10-14 and July 24-28, the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources, which is hosted by CZM, is teaming up with the PAST Foundation and the Seafaring Education and Maritime Archaeological Heritage Program (SEAMAHP) to hold a maritime archaeology field school. This program, called “Where STEM Meets History,” was developed in part through a $49,738 grant from the National Park Service’s Maritime Heritage Program called Telltales to Learning: Professional Development / Immersion Programs in Maritime Heritage. Telltales to Learning is designed to educate and provide hands-on experiences to different learning groups (from middle school students to adults and teachers) by offering an authentic, real-world experience that reinforces lessons. Where STEM Meets History will provide middle and high school students and teachers (as part of their professional development curriculum) the opportunity to get out in the field and learn about maritime history and archaeology first hand and use a variety of problem solving techniques. Program activities will include Mapping Real Shipwrecks, Flying Drones with 3D Imaging and Lasers, Recording Real Artifacts, and Sailing on a Tall Ship. Based out of Salem’s Collins Middle School, Salem Maritime National Historic Site, and The Trustees of Reservations Crane Estate, this collaborative effort will highlight the maritime heritage along the North Shore of Massachusetts and is meant to build and further grow maritime heritage field programs for the students, teachers, and the public.
Gulf of Maine Council Awards - On June 7, the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment presented its annual awards during a ceremony in Portland, Maine, which included awards to two environmental leaders from Massachusetts:
- Linda Cabot received a Visionary award for her documentary, From the Bow Seat, which explores the challenges faced by three Gulf of Maine species: cod, puffins, and lobsters. The film was inspired by a 2011 sailing trip Cabot and her daughters embarked on to document issues impacting the Gulf of Maine. Creating the film led to the creation of Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit, founded to empower the next generation of ocean caretakers through art, science, and advocacy. Through an annual Ocean Awareness Contest, Bow Seat challenges students to explore ocean pollution through visual art, film, poetry, and prose. More than 4,000 students from 67 countries have participated since the contest was launched in 2012, and more than $100,000 in scholarships have been awarded. The Bow Seat promotes marine protection by exhibiting student work, participating in conferences and local and global initiatives, providing classroom resources, and partnering with the Gulf of Maine Marine Education Association, Hurricane Island Foundation, and Seacoast Science Center.
- Save the Harbor Save the Bay received a Visionary award for its years of work to make Boston Harbor cleaner. Founded in 1986, Save the Harbor Save the Bay has been advocating for cleaner water and better access to Boston area beaches and Islands. Over the years, Save the Harbor Save the Bay helped establish the Boston Harbor Islands National Park, and since 2002, has connected more than 100,000 Boston-area youths to Boston Harbor and its islands through fishing expeditions, harbor tours and other innovative programs. Save the Harbor Save the Bay has also worked to advocate for improved water quality conditions in the region. After launching a Science Advisory Council to investigate the causes of excessive bacterial pollution on South Boston Beaches, Save the Harbor Save the Bay successfully advocated for the Metropolitan Water Resources Authority (MWRA) to create the North Dorchester Bay storage tunnel—a 17-foot, 2.5-mile-long tunnel that intercepts bacteria laden stormwater and directs it to the Reserved Channel where it is treated and prevented from reaching South Boston’s Beaches. Save the Harbor Save the Bay’s environmental advocacy and scientific research and monitoring programs have resulted in cleaner waters in Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay that are more inviting for people and marine life.
For a complete list of winners and more information on the awards, see the Gulf of Maine Council website.
Renewable Energy Task Force and Offshore Wind Meetings - On May 16, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) convened a Joint Massachusetts and Rhode Island Renewable Energy Task Force Meeting in Falmouth. Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Undersecretary Ned Bartlett provided opening remarks welcoming BOEM, Task Force members, representatives of three offshore wind development firms, and stakeholders; highlighting the collaborative efforts and progress to date; and pointing to some of the next steps, including the upcoming Massachusetts competitive procurement pursuant to the Energy Diversity Act. BOEM staff provided updates on the status of the lease areas and environmental reviews, and offshore wind developer representatives discussed their plans for site characterization surveys and timelines for developing construction and operations plans. Following the Task Force meeting, the Commonwealth convened a public information meeting to share updates and answer questions. On May 17, CZM and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center held meetings of the Fisheries Working Group on Offshore Wind Energy and Habitat Working Group on Offshore Wind Energy. For more information on Massachusetts offshore wind, see the EEA’s Offshore Wind website.
CZM Spotlight: CZM Works with Sail Boston to Help Keep Coastal Waters Clean - From June 17-22, Sail Boston 2017 will welcome 40 tall ships to the Port of Boston. The event will feature a Parade of Sail through Boston Harbor with thousands of spectator vessels anchored along the parade route to view these historic sailing ships. Event organizers, the U.S. Coast Guard, and local harbormasters and marina operators have been planning for months, and CZM has worked with them to ensure that proper pollution prevention protocols and facilities will be in place to support the event. All of Massachusetts waters are designated as a No Discharge Zone, which prohibits the discharge of treated and untreated boat sewage into coastal waters. CZM’s primary role in planning this event was working with Sail Boston 2017 and the U.S Coast Guard through the federal consistency review process. CZM reviews federal projects (including project receiving federal permits or funding) that have the potential to impact the Massachusetts coast to ensure they meet state standards. Through this review, CZM identified the need for adequate and convenient pumpout facilities for all the spectator vessels expected to attend the Parade of Sail on June 17. CZM, along with the U.S. Coast Guard, then provided event organizers with a comprehensive list of pumpout boats and dockside facilities, along with detailed contact information. Organizers reached out to each pumpout facility to ensure event participation. As a result, sewage pumpout boats will be positioned throughout Boston Harbor to collect and properly dispose of waste during the Parade of Sail. In addition, CZM encouraged Sail Boston to develop a pumpout communication strategy that includes creation of a pumpout information web page, distribution of pumpout information to local marinas and harbormasters, and use of social media to further spread the word to boaters. This cooperation and collaboration will help protect the water quality in Boston Harbor so everyone can enjoy Sail Boston.
EEA Focuses on Climate Change Resilience for Earth Week 2017 - On April 18, as part of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Earth Week celebrations, EEA Secretary Matthew Beaton joined Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, CZM officials, and other state and local officials to announce the availability of $2.6 million in funding through CZM’s Coastal Resilience and Coastal Pollutant Remediation (CPR) grant programs. The event also highlighted Salem’s role as a local leader in implementing projects with this grant funding, highlighting how their efforts to address erosion, flooding, and stormwater serve as a model for other coastal communities across the Commonwealth in addressing climate change impacts. See the EEA press release for more information on the event. On April 19, also as part of Earth Week and its commitment to working with communities and local partners to prevent and prepare for climate change, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) grant program, which builds on Governor Baker’s Executive Order 569 and provides funding to cities and towns to complete a community-driven process to identify hazards and develop strategies to improve resilience. See the EEA press release for details on MVP and see the Grants section below for additional information on the Request for Proposals for all three grant programs. Also as part of EEA’s Earth Week celebration and to highlight CZM’s efforts to help coastal communities address climate change impacts, CZM Director Bruce Carlisle penned this Salem News column: Earth Day 2017: Coastal connections in a changing climate.
CZM Spotlight: Great Marsh Resiliency Partnership to Receive EPA Award for Promoting Climate Change Resilience - On May 3, the Great Marsh Resiliency Partnership (GMRP) will receive a 2017 Environmental Merit Award from the New England Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in recognition of their significant contributions to preserving and protecting natural resources. The project began in June 2014 when the GMRP received $2.9 million through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program to support coastal resiliency planning and ecosystem enhancement projects in the Great Marsh and its coastal watersheds. The GMRP is a working group that includes local conservation groups, regional planning entities, state and federal agencies, and local communities working to protect the Great Marsh. Coordinated by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), the project includes five components aimed at increasing the resiliency of the Great Marsh and Parker-Ipswich-Essex (PIE) Rivers Region: 1) barrier beach restoration (dune restoration and native vegetation planting); 2) salt marsh restoration (invasive species removal); 3) hydrological barrier assessment and prioritization for improvement/removal; 4) hydrodynamic and sediment transport modeling; and 5) Great Marsh resiliency planning. Along with CZM, major partners include the Ipswich River Watershed Association (IRWA), Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program (MassBays), Merrimac Valley Planning Commission/Eight Towns and the Great Marsh, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, University of New Hampshire, Mass Audubon, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and Boston University. CZM’s primary role in the project is to provide technical assistance and support for Great Marsh resiliency planning, working directly with staff from IRWA and NWF along with municipal officials from Essex, Ipswich, Rowley, Newbury, Newburyport, and Salisbury. In addition, CZM has played a substantial role in providing technical assistance and available information to the other components of the project. The award will be presented to NWF at a ceremony at Faneuil Hall in Boston on May 3, with CZM staff and many members of the GMRP in attendance.
CZM Launches New Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Viewer - To support the assessment of coastal flooding vulnerability and risk for community facilities and infrastructure, CZM has developed the Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Viewer. This viewer includes interactive maps of flooding extents and water level elevations associated with sea level rise scenarios, current coastal flood zones, and hurricane surge modeled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Examples of mapped facilities include: electrical generation facilities, fire stations, hospitals, police stations, town/city halls, and wastewater treatment plants. With the viewer, users can zoom in to an area of interest and view public facilities and associated flooding data, switching tabs to compare maps of sea level rise, FEMA coastal flood zones, and hurricane surge. The viewer and technical report are designed as a general planning tool to support broad-scale vulnerability and risk assessments and identification of adaptation strategies consistent with Governor Baker’s Executive Order 569 and programs like CZM’s StormSmart Coasts.
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Current CZ-Mail (CZM's monthly electronic newsletter) - August 2017