The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) has published and/or funded the following materials on coastal habitat, which are categorized below and then listed alphabetically by title. (Note: Any views or opinions presented in publications prepared for CZM are solely those of the author[s] and do not necessarily represent those of the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Please see our website policies.) See CZM Publications for the full list of materials published by CZM.

General Habitat

  • Charting the Course: A Blueprint for the Future of Aquatic Habitat Restoration in Massachusetts - This 2008 report provides the findings and recommendations of the Aquatic Habitat Restoration Task Force, which was chaired and staffed by CZM.
  • Coastlines Winter 2004/2005 pdf format of Coastlines 2004-2005
file size 32MB - This edition of CZM’s magazine focuses on coastal habitats in Massachusetts.
  • Coastlines 2008 pdf format of Coastal Recreation
file size 8MB - This edition of CZM’s magazine covers the land/air/sea connection and the impacts of land-based activities on coastal and marine habitats.
  • Ecosystems and Resources of the Massachusetts Coast pdf format of ecosystem-resources.pdf
file size 10MB - This CZM publication from 1975 gives an excellent overview of the ecosystems and geological processes of coastal Massachusetts.
  • Gulf of Maine Marine Habitat Primer - Written by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal Services Center Fellow hosted by CZM, this publication of the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment provides an overview of the Gulf of Maine’s coastal and offshore habitats for resource managers and other coastal decision-makers.
  • Habitat Classification Feasibility Study for Coastal and Marine Environments in Massachusetts pdf format of ma-habitat-classification-study.pdf
file size 1MB - This 2007 report summarizes and evaluates four habitat classification studies to determine the most suitable framework or combination of frameworks for classifying coastal and marine habitats in Massachusetts.
  • The Marine Resources of the Parker River-Plum Island Sound Estuary: An Update after 30 Years pdf format of marine-resources-preb.pdf
file size 19MB - This 2000 report developed for CZM by Robert Buchsbaum of Massachusetts Audubon Society and Tim Purinton of the Parker River Clean Water Association and Massachusetts Audubon Society updates the 1968 Parker River-Plum Island Sound monograph produced by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF). The original monograph was based on one year of field study on the physical characteristics, water quality, and fish and shellfish resources of the estuary. The 2000 report also contains historical information on the fisheries supported by the estuary.
  • Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management Policy Guide - October 2011 - The Policy Guide is the official statement of Massachusetts coastal program policies and legal authorities and includes the habitat policies that govern CZM’s habitat program and project review.
  • Strategic Plan for Mapping Massachusetts Benthic Marine Habitats pdf format of Plan for Mapping Massachusetts Benthic Marine Habitats
file size 1MB - This “evolving draft” plan gives a brief overview of the numerous types of equipment that are used to collect benthic habitat data, recommendations on which types of equipment are most suited for mapping in various water depths, a detailed protocol for groundtruth sampling/data classification and analysis, and recommendations for conducting benthic habitat mapping in Massachusetts.

Areas of Critical Environmental Concern


Salt Marsh


  • Managing Seaweed Accumulations on Recreational Beaches pdf format of Seaweed Management Guidance
file size 2MB - This guidance published by CZM in 2013 was developed to help local officials and beach managers effectively address seaweed accumulations on recreational beaches while protecting coastal resources. It focuses on how seaweed is a natural and important part of the marine ecosystem, but when accumulations occur on recreational beaches, conflicts can arise that need to be addressed.
  • Non-Native Seaweed in Massachusetts pdf format of non-native-seaweed-fact-sheet.pdf
file size 1MB - Published by CZM in 2013, this fact sheet summarizes information on invasive seaweed species in Massachusetts, their ecology, and potential impacts to the marine ecosystem and economy.
  • Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) Assessment Gloucester Harbor, Massachusetts pdf format of efh-gloucester-dmmp-01-04.pdf
file size 1MB - Prepared by the Maguire Group Inc. under contract to CZM as part of the dredged material management planning process, this 2001 publication was prepared for use in determining the potential impact of pending or future projects within Gloucester Harbor on the existing fisheries resources.
  • Gloucester Harbor Characterization Report: Environmental History, Human Influences, and Status of Marine Resources pdf format of gloucester-harbor-characterization.pdf
file size 1MB - This 2004 report describes human and natural resources, discusses the environmental history of development and human influences, characterizes current understanding of environmental quality, examines lobster fishing and lobster population structure, investigates fish community structure, and describes seafloor habitat in Gloucester Harbor.
  • Massachusetts Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan pdf format of Massachusetts Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan
file size 2MB - This plan, prepared by CZM in 2002 on behalf of the Massachusetts Aquatic Invasive Species Working Group, outlines a five-year strategy to manage threats from aquatic invaders.