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 the EEA press release and 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.
Coastal Erosion Commission Report - The Massachusetts Coastal Erosion Commission is seeking public comment on its draft report, released on on January 7, 2015. The commission was established by the FY 2014 Budget Bill 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 EEA, CZM chaired and staffed the commission. Following on its first meeting in March, the commission established three working groups and held a series of five regional workshops to introduce the commission and its charge, present information related to coastal erosion and shoreline management approaches, seek public and stakeholder feedback, and communicate the commission’s process and next steps. Five regional public hearings will be held in February and March to solicit input on the draft report (see calendar below). For more information, see the Coastal Erosion Commission Report web page. Submit comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 7.
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). For more information on this year’s Coastal Community Resilience Grants, see the EEA press release.
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. For more information on this year’s Green Infrastructure Grants, see the EEA press release.
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. For more information on this year’s grants, see the EEA CPR Grants Press Release.
New CZM Fact Sheet to Help Coastal Property Owners with the Permitting Process - To protect public safety, coastal development, and natural resources, Massachusetts has enacted regulations that set minimum construction standards for building projects, including all new buildings, repair of storm-damaged properties, additions, septic systems, seawalls, decks, and a variety of other projects in coastal areas. In addition, when building or rebuilding after a storm, coastal property owners can go beyond minimum regulatory standards—using the best available techniques to minimize future property damage, significantly reduce flood insurance rates, and preserve the capacity of natural landforms to buffer storm waves and flooding. CZM’s new fact sheet, StormSmart Coasts: Who to Contact and What to Do before Building or Rebuilding, provides information for coastal property owners on applicable regulations and agency contacts, an overview of the most common permits needed, and recommendations for StormSmart building techniques to better protect coastal property.
Storm Team Activated for Early November Northeaster - On November 2, CZM activated portions of the Coastal Storm Damage Assessment Team to assess damage from a northeaster forecasted to have severe impacts on the coast. More than 60 reports were submitted on the impact to communities north of Cape Ann, from Hull to Plymouth on the South Shore, from Sandwich to Dennis and in Chatham on Cape Cod, and on Nantucket. Impacts reported in these areas included widespread beach, dune, and bank erosion; widespread minor overwash over beaches, dunes, and seawalls; pockets of moderate overwash of barrier beaches in Scituate, Plymouth, and Sandwich; erosion threatening dwellings in Newburyport, Newbury, Scituate, and Sandwich; impassable roads due to overwash and flooding in Hull, Scituate, and Plymouth; damage to several beach access structures; and flooding of parking lots in Dennis.
Thank You COASTSWEEP Volunteers! - CZM offers out heartfelt thanks to the thousands of volunteers who turned out for the 27th annual COASTSWEEP, the statewide coastal cleanup sponsored by CZM. Cleanups were held throughout September and October and results are still flowing in. Data have been compiled from two-thirds of the cleanups so far, showing that 2,353 volunteers covered over 103 miles of coastline and removed 7,026 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 feed.
EEA Awards Grants to Restore Water Quality in Southern New England - In October, EEA announced nearly $730,000 in funding to help improve water quality in Buzzards Bay and its watershed. Part of a broader U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) effort to address common water quality problems in the region, the grants will be used to reduce nutrient pollution from fertilizers, septic systems, and other sources to both fresh and saltwater systems. The grants are administered through the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program in Massachusetts and Narragansett Bay Estuary Program in Rhode Island. The new grant program is part of the Southern New England Coastal Watershed Restoration Program, a partnership of public and private groups working to protect, enhance, and restore southern New England waters. The following projects were funded in the Buzzards Bay region:
- University of Massachusetts, Amherst - $98,346 to develop management practices to control phosphorus in the discharges of cranberry bog harvest floodwaters.
- Town of Fairhaven - $90,000 to evaluate several modifications to Fairhaven’s wastewater treatment processes that will reduce nitrogen concentrations at the Water Pollution Control Facility to a level that will meet new requirements.
- Town of Wareham, Wareham Water Pollution Control Facility - $75,000 to further reduce nitrogen discharges from the Wareham Water Pollution Control Facility to the Wareham River estuary through the installation of state-of-the-art nitrogen monitoring equipment and process controls.
- Buzzards Bay Coalition - $50,000 to develop sewer plans and create a legal entity to enable homes in the Cedar Point area to tie into a neighborhood-scale private wastewater treatment facility, which will eliminate Title 5 systems and cesspools that are degrading water quality.
- Buzzards Bay Coalition - $165,213 to study the release of nitrogen and phosphorus from cranberry bogs to better understand nutrient loadings.
- Town of Falmouth - $250,000 to create and implement a grant incentive program to encourage homeowners to replace at least 20 conventional septic systems with nitrogen removing systems or eco toilets within 300 feet of West Falmouth Harbor, and to monitor their performance.
For more information on this effort in Buzzards Bay, see the Coastal Watershed Restoration Program Funding for 2014 web page.
Spatial Data for 2014 Draft Ocean Plan Now in MORIS - The spatial data presented in Volume 1 of the Draft Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, September 2014 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 a Geographic Information System (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.
CZM Grant Funds Design Competition for Response to Sea Level Rise in Boston - On October 29, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh launched Boston Living with Water, a design competition for ideas on responding to sea level rise in Boston. Funded in part through CZM’s Coastal Community Resilience Grant Program, this two-stage competition seeks submissions that incorporate concepts and strategies, including Living with Water Design principles that will increase Boston’s sustainability and climate change resiliency. Selected finalists will further advance location-specific solutions to coastal flood dangers and rising sea levels that are beautiful and replicable. For complete competition details, see the Boston Living with Water website.
Massachusetts Ocean Plan Process Praised Following First Approved Project - The October/November/December 2014 issue of Coastal Services, a magazine from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management, features an article on the first project approved under the 2009 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan. Permitted in 2013, the Comcast / NSTAR project combines electrical and fiber-optic technology into a single, underwater cable running 4.6 miles across Vineyard Sound. The project was designed with a goal to avoid sensitive marine habitats identified by the ocean plan. Once completed, the cable bundle will be buried and will avoid areas important to sea life, such as eelgrass beds and rock piles. The planning process prescribed in the ocean plan resulted in lower project costs and less review and permitting time. The case study, conducted by SeaPlan, indicates that this project is an example of how ocean planning can lead to better economic and environmental results. For details, see Massachusetts Ocean Plan Gets High Marks Following First Approved Project.
Massachusetts Receives Funds to Characterize Beaches - Geoscientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Massachusetts Geological Survey, in partnership with CZM, have received a $200,000 award from the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to characterize sediment types and document the existing beach and dune profiles at 22 public beaches along the Massachusetts coast over the next two years. This project will establish baseline characteristics (grain size statistics and elevation profiles) and provide the data needed for future shoreline management planning. The beaches being assessed in year one are in Cuttyhunk, Falmouth, Nantucket, Oak Bluffs, and Westport. Year two will assess beaches in Hull, Marshfield, Nahant, Newbury, Newburyport, Plymouth, Revere, Rockport, Salisbury, Sandwich, Scituate, and Winthrop.
New Federal Office for Coastal Zone Management - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management—the federal agency that administers the National Coastal Zone Management Program, which includes CZM—has merged with the Coastal Services Center to create the new Office for Coastal Management. While the basic missions of these organizations remain intact, the merger is intended to generate new efficiencies and improve effectiveness of program implementation. In addition to the National Coastal Zone Management Program, the major initiatives of this new NOAA office are Digital Coast, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, and the Coral Reef Conservation Program.
MassBays and CZM Awarded $149,000 to Study Tide Gates - In August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) awarded a $149,000 grant to CZM and the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program (MassBays) to document the location and condition of tide gates within the 47 coastal embayments of Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays. Tide gates that are not properly managed, or abandoned, can adversely affect both coastal ecosystems and neighboring infrastructure. Efforts to improve the situation are hindered by lack of up-to-date information about how many tide gates exist and their location, condition, and operating regime (if any). Funding from this NOAA competitive grant program will be used to create a tide gate inventory that will provide the basis for determining potential and existing impacts on salt marsh systems and initiate, inform, and prioritize management for both ecological benefit and hazard mitigation. MassBays and CZM are set to begin the project in October, which will include a website that highlights the effort.
National Coastal Condition Assessment - The Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program (MassBays) is seeking proposals for a contractor to conduct water quality and sediment monitoring along the entire Massachusetts coast. This monitoring is for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2015 National Coastal Condition Assessment, a nationwide monitoring effort that takes place every five years and MassBays is managing the current effort. The selected contractor will collect water column and benthic grab samples from 52 stations along the Massachusetts coast the summer of 2015. All training and most supplies will be provided and sample analysis will be conducted by EPA. For more information, to view the Request for Responses, and download required forms, see the COMMBUYS website. Applications are due by February 20.
Also, see COMMBUYS - the Commonwealth's electronic procurement system for other state opportunities.
Current CZ-Mail (CZM's monthly electronic newsletter) - Year in Review - 2014
CZ-Tip: Twitter for People Working on Coastal Issues - December 2014
CZ-Tip: Recipes from Coastal New England - November 2014
CZ-Tip: Boat Winterizing—Keep It Green - October 2014
Report on the 2013 Rapid Assessment Survey of Marine Species at New England Bays and Harbors file size 53MB - July 2014
Sea Level Rise: Understanding and Applying Trends and Future Scenarios for Analysis and Planning file size 3MB - December 2013
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.
Beverly Designated Port Area Boundary Review - As noticed in the January 7 Environmental Monitor, CZM is seeking public comments on the Boundary Review of the Beverly Harbor Designated Port Area, Beverly MA. The purpose of the boundary review was to determine whether the Designated Port Area (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 , CZM is responsible for mapping, interpreting, and periodic review of DPA boundaries. On January 22, CZM will convene a public hearing in Beverly on the DPA boundary review. The meeting will be held at: 3rd Floor Council Chambers, Beverly City Hall, 191 Cabot Street, Beverly. Submit comments on the draft report by February 6 to: Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, Kathryn Glenn, North Shore Regional Coordinator, 251 Causeway Street, Suite 800, Boston MA 02114.
Coastal Erosion Commission Report - The Massachusetts Coastal Erosion Commission is seeking public comment on its draft report, released on January 7, 2015. The commission was established by the FY 2014 Budget Bill 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 EEA, CZM chaired and staffed the commission. Following on its first meeting in March, the commission established three working groups and held a series of five regional workshops to introduce the commission and its charge, present information related to coastal erosion and shoreline management approaches, seek public and stakeholder feedback, and communicate the commission’s process and next steps. Five regional public hearings will be held in February and March to solicit input on the draft report (see calendar below). For more information, see the Coastal Erosion Commission Report web page. Submit comments to email@example.com by April 7.
Coastal Erosion Commission Report - The Massachusetts Coastal Erosion Commission is seeking public comment on its draft report, released on January 7, 2015. The commission has scheduled five regional public hearings to solicit input on the draft report. The dates and locations are:
- South Coast Region - February 5, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Buzzards Bay Coalition Croll Conference Room, 114 Front Street, New Bedford, MA 02740.
- Cape Cod and Islands Region - February 12, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Barnstable Town Hall Hearing Room, 367 Main Street, Hyannis, MA 02601.
- Boston Harbor Region - February 24, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, 100 Cambridge Street, 2nd Floor Rooms C and D, Boston, MA 02114.
- South Shore Region - March 5, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Marshfield Senior Center, 230 Webster Street, Marshfield, MA 02050.
- North Shore Region - March 9, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Ipswich Town Hall 2nd Floor Selectmen’s Meeting Room, 25 Green Street, Ipswich, MA 01938.
Also, check out the CZM Coastal Calendar for more CZM-related events.