News

Draft Coastal Erosion Commission Report Released for Public Comment - On January 7, the Massachusetts Coastal Erosion Commission released its draft report for public comment. 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 the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), CZM led and staffed the commission. Since it convened in March 2014, the commission held five meetings, reviewed the work and findings of similar state- and national-level commissions on coastal shoreline and floodplain management, convened five regional public workshops, and created three working groups. The draft 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). As noticed in the January 7 and January 21 Environmental Monitor, the report is available for a 90-day public comment period. Five regional public hearings have been scheduled for February and March. The schedule for the remaining four hearings is:

  • South Shore - March 5, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Marshfield Senior Center, 230 Webster Street, Marshfield.
  • North Shore - March 9, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Ipswich Town Hall 2nd Floor Selectmen’s Meeting Room, 25 Green Street, Ipswich.
  • South Coast - March 19, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Buzzards Bay Coalition, Croll Conference Room, 114 Front Street, New Bedford, MA 02740. NOTE: This meeting was rescheduled from February 5.
  • Cape Cod and Islands - March 25, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Barnstable Town Hall Hearing Room, 367 Main Street, Hyannis. NOTE: This meeting was rescheduled from February 12.

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.

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.

Jobs

There are currently no employment opportunities at CZM. Please check back later or 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.

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.

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 were held in February and March to solicit input on the draft report. For more information, see the Coastal Erosion Commission Report web page. Submit comments to erosion-commission@state.ma.us by April 7.

Calendar

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

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