News

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.

Coastal Construction Workshops - In March, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and CZM will co-sponsor a pair of one-day workshops on important state codes, regulations, and best practices for building and retrofitting homes and other buildings in coastal areas, to be held in Plymouth on March 9 and Gloucester on March 31. The morning will feature a discussion of best practices for the design of structures to withstand storm impacts such as erosion and flooding, as well as a session to provide guidance for town officials on interpreting the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program Maps and Studies to identify the most vulnerable areas. The afternoon will include sessions on available funding, State Building Code requirements, and reducing vulnerability in Land Subject to Coastal Storm Flowage under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act. All participants must register through the MEMA Training website for either the Plymouth workshop on March 9 or Gloucester workshop on March 31. (Please note: It is not necessary to enter the last four digits of your Social Security Number as part of the registration process. Enter 9999 or any four digits.)

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.

The Commission was established by the Massachusetts Legislature to investigate and document levels and impacts of coastal erosion in the Commonwealth and develop strategies and recommendations to reduce, minimize, or eliminate the magnitude and frequency of coastal erosion and its adverse impacts on property, infrastructure, public safety, and beaches and dunes. On behalf of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), CZM chaired and staffed the Commission. Since it began its work in March 2014, the Commission held eight meetings, reviewed the work and findings of similar state- and national-level commissions on coastal shoreline and floodplain management, convened five regional public workshops, created three working groups, and held five regional public hearings and a 90-day public period on its draft report. The final report presents the work, findings, and recommendations of the Commission. Volume 1 contains the body of the report and Volume 2 contains the Working Group technical reports (Science and Technology, Legal and Regulatory, and Erosion Impacts).

Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Awards Announced - On December 3, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) announced $400,000 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 Fairhaven, Fall River, Kingston, Medford, Milton, and Salem. Projects include local efforts to assess, design, and implement controls for runoff pollution from roadways and parking areas and design of facilities to pump out boat waste. 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 $144,627 from municipal sources, further extending the power of the grant program. For more information, see the EEA press release.

Land Protection and Habitat Grants Awarded for Buzzards Bay Watershed - On November 20, EEA announced $147,000 in federal grant money to help towns in the Buzzards Bay watershed protect important habitat and drinking water resources. These land protection and habitat grants are being awarded by the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program through CZM with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Five grants have been awarded to the towns of Dartmouth, Mattapoisett (2), Rochester, and Wareham to appraise or purchase tracts of land that will be protected in perpetuity. The grants, which are being matched by $87,225 in municipal and private contributions, focus on permanently protecting or restoring wetlands or upland areas to protect habitat, wildlife, and water quality, as well as to promote conservation and outdoor recreation. For more information, see the EEA Press Release.

Massachusetts Receives an "A" on Climate Change Preparedness Report Card - Climate Central has launched States at Risk: America’s Preparedness Report Card, the first-ever quantitative assessment that summarizes the changing nature of key threats linked to climate change and the corresponding levels of preparedness for related risks in each of the 50 states. The goal of the Report Card is to help states improve preparedness by recognizing climate-change risks, building an action plan, and implementing this plan. Massachusetts was one of five states that received a grade of “A.” CZM’s work through its StormSmart Coasts program, information on its Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (MORIS) tool, projects supported by the Coastal Community Resilience Grants Program (which provides municipalities with financial and technical resources), and the Sea Level Rise: Understanding and Applying Trends and Future Scenarios for Analysis and Planning guidance pdf format of Sea Level Rise Guidance
file size 3MB were all identified as key actions taken by the Commonwealth to prepare for a changing climate.

Thank You COASTSWEEP Volunteers! - CZM offers our heartfelt thanks to the thousands of volunteers who turned out for the 2015 COASTSWEEP, the annual statewide coastal cleanup sponsored by CZM. Cleanups were held from September to mid-November and results are still flowing in. Data have been compiled from most of the cleanups so far, showing that 2,455 volunteers cleaned 119 locations, covered over 142 miles of coastline and removed 12,522 pounds of trash. The final tally, which will continue to grow as the rest of the cleanups are tabulated, will be reported in the January CZ-Mail. While this year's cleanups are now complete, stay tuned to marine debris issues year round on COASTSWEEP's Facebook page or by following the Twitter or Instagram feeds.

CZM Receives Grant to Monitor and Assess Climate Change Impacts to Tidal Marshes - CZM has received a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant to develop a program to monitor and assess climate change impacts to tidal marshes. This project will build on current work by CZM and partners that includes modeling coastal wetland response to sea level rise, with an eye toward identifying barriers to and opportunities for marsh migration, and developing a network of sentinel sites to track changes in vegetation communities in the tidal marsh-upland ecotone (a transition zone between two ecosystems). The new project will expand sentinel site monitoring to include a land cover change analysis program that tracks changes in the spatial extents of tidal marsh microhabitats (e.g., vegetation communities, pannes, pools, creeks, and ditches) using automated and/or semi-automated image analysis techniques, high-resolution imagery, and lidar. It will also expand on-the-ground efforts to monitor biological and physical changes on the marsh interior and seaward extent at all sentinel sites over time. Together, these projects form a holistic program that will inform development, application, and monitoring of site-specific climate change adaptation strategies. Additionally, this grant provides support for a project to demonstrate a salt marsh assessment approach for Cape Cod and the Islands using the Conservation Assessment and Prioritization System (CAPS) framework developed by University of Massachusetts Amherst, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and CZM. Visit CZM's Conservation Assessment and Prioritization System for Coastal Wetlands web page for more information on CAPS. The new climate change and CAPS projects will begin in January 2016 and run through 2017 and September 2018, respectively.

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

There are no CZM solicitations available at this time. Please check back later or 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.

Public Review of the Designation of the First Underwater Archaeological Preserve off the Massachusetts Coast - At its public meeting on January 28, the Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources voted to designate the White Squall site as the first Underwater Archaeological Preserve in Massachusetts waters. Under Massachusetts General Law, the Board can designate underwater archaeological sites of substantial historical and/or archaeological value as Underwater Archaeological Preserves. The shipwreck site of the White Squall, a bark-rigged sailing craft made of iron built in 1864 and lost in 1867, is located in the Atlantic Ocean off Cahoons Hollow, Wellfleet, and adjacent to the Cape Cod National Seashore. See the White Squall nomination form pdf format of white-squall-nomination-jan2016.pdf
for additional details. Under the Board’s procedures for nominating and approving Underwater Archaeological Preserves pdf format of preserve-nomination-process-jan-2016.pdf
, a 90-day public review process began on January 29. The Board has scheduled a public meeting on Thursday, March 31, to allow for public testimony on the nomination. Those wishing to provide verbal and written testimony are encouraged to attend. Written comments may also be submitted by email to victor.mastone@state.ma.us or in writing to the Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources, 251 Causeway Street, Suite 800, Boston, MA 02114. Written comments will be accepted through the close of business on Friday, April 29. After reviewing public comments, the Board will take its public vote on the designation approval at its regularly scheduled meeting on May 26.

Calendar

North Shore Resiliency Workshop - On February 18, CZM will partner with staff from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Salem Sound Coastwatch, NOAA Northeast Regional Office, 8 Towns and the Great Marsh, and the Saugus River Watershed Association to present a North Shore Resiliency Workshop at the Peabody Institute Library in Danvers. This workshop is for planners, conservation commissions, public works directors, engineers, municipal officials, and nonprofits who want to learn more about how to engage their communities in successful coastal resiliency planning and implementation. NOAA will be on hand to share their web-based tools, such as the Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper. Kathryn Glenn, CZM’s North Shore Regional Coordinator, will discuss lessons learned from CZM’s Coastal Resilience Grants and designing for successful resiliency projects. Information about potential sources of funding for coastal resiliency efforts will also be covered. This session is free and open to the public.

Coastal Construction Workshops - In March, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and CZM will co-sponsor a pair of one-day workshops on important state codes, regulations, and best practices for building and retrofitting homes and other buildings in coastal areas, to be held in Plymouth on March 9 and Gloucester on March 31. The morning will feature a discussion of best practices for the design of structures to withstand storm impacts such as erosion and flooding, as well as a session to provide guidance for town officials on interpreting the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program Maps and Studies to identify the most vulnerable areas. The afternoon will include sessions on available funding, State Building Code requirements, and reducing vulnerability in Land Subject to Coastal Storm Flowage under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act. All participants must register through the MEMA Training website for either the Plymouth workshop on March 9 or Gloucester workshop on March 31. (Please note: It is not necessary to enter the last four digits of your Social Security Number as part of the registration process. Enter 9999 or any four digits.)

Grant Writing Workshops - In March and April, the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program and MassDEP have teamed up with Bay State Roads to present Proposals for Cleaner Water: A Grant Writing Workshop for municipal and nonprofit staff. The Commonwealth provides multiple opportunities to apply for funds to help with water resource management. These one-day workshops will provide some fundamental rules and best practices for developing competitive proposals to bring new money to local projects. The workshops will be held on March 22 in Taunton, March 30 in Lawrence, and April 7 in Sturbridge. Registration is required.

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