November 2014

Welcome to CZ-Mail, the monthly electronic newsletter from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM). Each issue provides information on major CZM initiatives, available tools and publications, upcoming workshops and events, grants, contracting opportunities, job openings, coastal legislation, and other news of interest to people working on coastal issues. Additional information about CZM's programs, publications, and other coastal topics can be found on the CZM website. To subscribe to CZ-Mail, send a blank email to join-env-cz-mail@listserv.state.ma.us. Also, please feel free to share CZ-Mail with colleagues and friends—and if you have any suggestions for future editions, or would like make a change to your CZ-Mail subscription, please email your request to CZ-Mail@state.ma.us. For daily updates from CZM, please follow us on Twitter.

All links on this web page were current and working on the date of publication.

2014 Draft Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan

In September, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) released the Draft Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, September 2014 (2014 draft ocean plan) for public review, hearings, and a 60-day public comment period. The 2014 draft ocean plan is 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. See www.mass.gov/eea/2014-draft-ocean-plan for commenting instructions and an online copy of the draft plan and www.mass.gov/eea/mop for information on the review and update process and links to ocean plan data and documents.

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.

MassDEP Adopts New Wetlands and Water Quality Regulation Amendments

In October, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), as part of its Regulation Reform Initiative, promulgated revised Wetlands Protection Act and 401 Water Quality Certificate regulations. These changes follow the amendments to the Waterways regulations that took effect in May 2014. The regulation amendments, which were developed with extensive input from advisory committees and the public, are intended to save applicants, Conservation Commissions, and MassDEP time and resources while maintaining fundamental environmental protections. Changes that may affect properties and projects along the Massachusetts coast include new exemptions for minor activities in the buffer zone and renewable energy access limited projects, provisions for stormwater management structures, allowances for combined applications and permits and new ecological restoration projects and test projects, and new definitions, such as velocity zone, special flood hazard area, primary frontal dune, and dredged material, as well as modifications to existing definitions, such as salt marsh and wildlife habitat. For additional details on the changes, see A Summary of the Revisions to MassDEP’s Wetlands, Waterways, and Water Quality Certification Regulations Effective October 24, 2014 pdf format of WL, WW, and WQC Regulatory Revisions Summary
file size 1MB. For a full copy of these newly effective regulations, see MassDEP’s Water Resources Regulations & Standards. Information about future regulation revision workshops can be found on the MassDEP Wetlands Circuit Rider Program web page.

CZ-Tip - Turn to the Coast for Holiday Cooking Inspiration

Whether you live to eat or eat to live, 'tis the season to give thanks for the bounty of local seafood and locally grown produce. Impress your friends and family this year with great recipes using Massachusetts seafood and other local ingredients with this CZ-Tip: Recipes from Coastal New England.

Grants/Funding/Proposal Opportunities

Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities - EPA is seeking applications to the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program from communities to receive technical assistance to implement smart growth development approaches. EPA is offering this technical assistance to help communities across the country adopt sustainable growth strategies. The program aims to increase resilience to natural disasters and strengthen the economy while protecting human health and the environment. Communities may apply for assistance on one or more of the following topics: bikeshare planning, equitable development, infill development for distressed cities, sustainable strategies for small cities and rural areas, flood resilience for riverine and coastal communities. Applications are due by November 20.

BoatUS Grassroots Grants - The BoatUS Foundation is seeking applications for the 2014 Grassroots Grants. Up to $10,000 is available to local volunteer organizations to promote education on safe and clean boating. Applications are due by January 15, 2015.

2015 Massachusetts Recreational Trails Program Grants - The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is currently seeking applications for the Recreational Trails Program, which provides grants from $2,000 to $50,000 for a variety of trail protection, construction, and stewardship projects throughout Massachusetts. DCR is also accepting applications for Statewide Trails Education Grants, which provide funding for statewide trail education initiatives. For more information on these grant programs, contact Amanda Lewis at amanda.lewis@state.ma.us. Applications are due by February 1, 2015.

Reminder - These opportunities, listed in the last CZ-Mail, are still available:

  • Marine Debris Funding Opportunity - NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, in cooperation with the NOAA Restoration Center, is seeking proposals to fund grass-roots, community-based activities that improve living marine resource habitats through the removal of marine debris. The estimated total award amount is $2 million, with a maximum of $350,000 and a minimum of $15,000 per project. For more information, see Grants.gov. Applications are due by November 17.
  • Ecological Effects of Sea Level Rise - NOAA is seeking proposals for the 2015 Ecological Effects of Sea Level Rise (EESLR) Program. Grants will fund projects that improve the management of regional and local ecosystem effects of sea level rise and coastal inundation through targeted research on key technologies, natural and nature-based infrastructure, physical and biological processes, and model evaluation. The program expects to fund up to five, two to three year projects at $150,000 to $200,000 per year each. For details, go to Grants.Gov. Applications are due by November 18.

Products/Publications

Water and Wastewater Utility Guidance - EPA has released Flood Resilience: A Basic Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities, a guide that outlines a simple, 4-step assessment process to help water and wastewater utilities determine flooding threats and identify practical mitigation options to protect critical assets. The guide was developed for small and medium drinking water and wastewater utilities that are particularly vulnerable to flooding, which can damage pumps, disconnect chemical tanks, break distribution lines, and disrupt power supply.

Climate Change Indicators Report - EPA has released the third edition of Climate Change Indicators in the United States, a report that presents 30 indicators describing trends related to the causes and effects of climate change. The report describes the significance of these trends and the possible consequences for people, the environment, and society.

Urban Implications of Sea Level Rise - On October 1, the Urban Land Institute Boston/New England released The Urban Implications of Living with Water, a report that examines the short-, mid-, and long-term steps that Boston and surrounding communities can take to adapt urban centers to rising sea levels.

Global Ocean Health Index - The 2014 Ocean Health Index has been released. The world’s oceans have been given a grade of 67 or a “D.” Key problems cited were overfishing, pollution, climate change, and lack of protections. This annual report card evaluates the condition of marine ecosystems according to 10 human goals, which represent the key ecological, social, and economic benefits that a healthy ocean provides.

Public and Private Sector Responses to Sea Level Rise - The Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO) has published two reports on sea level rise related risks in the public and private sector. The reports are entitled Sea Level Rise Adaptation in the Public Sector: Challenges, Solutions and Opportunities and Rising Above the Seas: SECing Materiality Through the Corporate Lens.

Coastal Services Magazine - The latest issue of Coastal Services, a NOAA Office for Coastal Management magazine, features articles about the first approved project under the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, coastal resilience in Louisiana, estuarine-smart kids in Florida, and other coastal news and notes.

WHOI Newsletter - The September 2014 issue of the WHOI newsletter, a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) monthly e-newsletter, features articles on an ancient shipwreck offshore of Greece, a WHOI grant to study climate change adaptation solutions for coastal communities, and other ocean science news, research, and events at WHOI.

Stellwagen Bank E-Notes - The Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary has released the October 2014 edition of Stellwagen Bank E-Notes, a newsletter that provides the latest information about sanctuary research, education, and resource conservation. This issue includes articles on the top 10 Halloween-related sanctuary species, a recent Northeast Fisheries Science Center cod assessment, and other sanctuary stories, news, and notes.

Marine Protected Area Newsletter - The September/October 2014 issue of MPA News features articles on a new marine protected area (MPA) where all commercial extraction is banned, leadership challenges at the Great Barrier Reef, and other MPA news and notes.

Right Whale News - The September 2014 issue of Right Whale News, a quarterly independent newsletter dedicated to the conservation and recovery of the North Atlantic right whale, features articles on right whale sightings in Cape Cod Bay, ocean wind energy, a calendar of events, and other right whale news and notes.

Web-Based and Mobile-User Resources

Salt Marshes in the Plum Island Estuary - Researchers from the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole are studying how the salt marshes in the Plum Island Estuary in northern Massachusetts are holding up as the climate warms, sea level rises, and coastal development stresses the ecological integrity. This National Science Foundation funded project has produced a video as part of the “Science Nation” video series.

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. Available opportunities for public comment from other agencies and organizations are provided below.

Reminder - These public comment opportunities, listed in the last CZ-Mail, are still open:

  • Cape Cod Section 208 Plan Draft - The Cape Cod Commission is seeking public comments on the Draft §208 Water Quality Management Plan Update. In 2013, to address nitrogen and phosphorous pollution in Cape Cod coastal waters, the Cape Cod Commission began a planning process to develop a §208 Water Quality Management Plan for Cape Cod. This plan is a multifaceted approach to build a regional consensus for local and financially responsible wastewater solutions. The 218-page draft includes background, analysis, recommendations, and documents. The focus is on nutrient impacts, primarily caused by nitrogen in wastewater, on the Cape’s estuaries. For more information, see the Plan website. Comments are due by November 20.
  • Draft Stormwater General Permit for Small Massachusetts Municipalities - EPA is seeking public comment for the draft general permit for small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) in Massachusetts. The draft permit combines the two previously issued draft permits for Massachusetts—the 2010 draft North Coastal Watershed permit and the 2010 draft Interstate, Merrimack, and South Coastal Watersheds permit. This permit requires regulated small MS4s to develop, implement, and enforce a stormwater management program designed to control pollutants to the maximum extent practicable, protect water quality, and satisfy appropriate requirements of the federal Clean Water Act. On November 19, EPA will hold a public hearing will be held in Leominster. For more information, including links to the draft permit, see the EPA website. Comments are due by December 29.

Calendar

Green Infrastructure Webcasts - EPA’s Green Infrastructure Program Webcast Series features bimonthly webcasts geared toward public officials and practitioners just beginning to implement green infrastructure, as well as those looking to enhance established programs. The next webcasts are, Innovative Financing for Green Infrastructure on November 4 and Green Infrastructure for Localized Flood Management on December 2.

NSRWA Annual Meeting - On November 7, the North and South Rivers Watershed Association (NSRWA) will hold its 44th Annual Meeting at the South Shore Natural Science Center in Norwell. The meeting will include bylaws changes, awards, and Keynote Speaker Brad Chase from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, who will present The Health of Our Herring River Fishery.

State of Wellfleet Harbor Conference - On November 8, the 12th annual Wellfleet Harbor Conference will be held at Wellfleet Elementary School. The goal of this free conference is to distribute information about current and ongoing research, monitoring projects, and issues related to Wellfleet Harbor and its watershed.

Great Marsh Sea Level Rise Symposium - On November 13, the Great Marsh Coalition will hold the 2014 Great Marsh Symposium: Case Studies in Local Adaptation in The Essex Room at Woodman’s of Essex. This full-day workshop is for coastal decision makers and practitioners from the region to explore, share, and discuss various ongoing case studies that address adaptation efforts to mitigate sea level rise impacts in the Great Marsh—the largest continuous stretch of salt marsh in New England, extending from Cape Ann to New Hampshire. Pre-registration is required by November 7 as space is limited. Registration is $15. Coffee and lunch will be provided. To register, see the symposium registration web page. For more information, contact CZM’s Kathryn Glenn at kathryn.glenn@state.ma.us.

Sea Level Rise in Coastal Cities Conference - From November 13-14, Boston University will host Sea Level Rise and the Future of Coastal Cities, a conference that will examine how cities are planning for and adapting to rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and changing coastlines. Mayors, scientists, city and federal officials, urban planners, and developers will come together to discuss the known and emerging threats.

Working Waterfront and Waterways Symposium - From November 16-19, the 2015 National Working Waterfronts & Waterways Symposium will be held in Tampa, Florida. The goal of this triennial symposium is to increase the capacity of saltwater and freshwater coastal communities and stakeholders to make informed decisions, balance diverse uses, ensure access, and plan for the future of working waterfronts. The symposium will feature concurrent sessions, plenary sessions, posters, and a strategic planning meeting.

Biodiversity and Global Warming Conference - From November 21-23, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate will hold a conference entitled Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming at Tufts University in Medford. Join climate experts, advocates, farmers, scientists, and policymakers to discuss the potential of the biosphere to address emissions and remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Sea Grant Science Symposium - On December 10, the 13th annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium, Staying Afloat: Adapting Waterfront Business to Rising Seas and Extreme Storms, will be held in Newport, Rhode Island. This one-day conference will focus on minimizing impacts to waterfront business in the face of increasing threats from extreme storms and rising seas. Join private sector, government, and community members to examine the planning, engineering, and design-based climate adaptation options, as well as trade-offs to keep in mind as a business owner or waterfront district decision maker.

Shellfish Restoration Conference - From December 10-13, the 16th International Conference on Shellfish Restoration, Restoration in an Ever-Changing World, will be held in Charleston, South Carolina. The 2014 conference will focus on three overall themes: restoration of shellfish ecosystems; rehabilitation/enhancement of shellfish populations; and protection and improvement of water quality for shellfish survival, growth, and harvest.

Tuesday Tweets - Every other Tuesday through December, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History will hold Tuesday Tweets, birdwatching walks with Gretchen Moran Towers. Whether experienced or a beginner, bring binoculars, wear appropriate footwear, and come prepared to watch, study, and enjoy feathered friends in their natural habitats.

Walks and Talks on Cape Cod - Through the fall, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History will hold a series of walks, lectures, and events with local naturalists. Topics to be covered include birdwatching, sharks, and nature, along with the Wednesday Walk series with Connie Boyce. For details, see the museum calendar.

Cape Cod Field Schools - Through November, Mass Audubon's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is offering a variety of 2-, 3-, and 4-day field courses for adults that focus on the unique coastal environment and wildlife of Cape Cod. Cape Cod Field Schools emphasize active, outdoor, "in-the-field" experiences and are taught by professional naturalists and scientists.

Walks, Lectures, and Events on Cape Cod - Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary in Barnstable offer a variety of educational programs for children and adults, including naturalist-led bird walks and nature adventures for preschoolers. For more information, search the Wellfleet Bay’s calendar of programs, classes, and activities or the Long Pasture’s calendar of programs, classes, and activities.

Ipswich River Wildlife Programs and Activities - Mass Audubon’s Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary provides numerous nature walks, talks, and adventures. See the program catalog for event and schedule information.

Walks in Harwich - The Harwich Conservation Trust has posted its schedule of walks through the fall. All walks are free and open to the public. See the Trust's website for details.

Reminders - The following calendar items posted in the last CZ-Mail are still to come:

  • Restoration and Coastal Management Summit - From November 1-6, Restore America’s Estuaries and the Coastal Society will hold Summit 2014: Inspiring Action, Creating Resilience—the 7th National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration and 24th Biennial Meeting of the Coastal Society—in Washington, DC. The 2014 summit will bring together restoration and coastal management communities for an integrated discussion to explore issues, solutions, and lessons learned.
  • North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium Annual Meeting - From November 5-6, the Annual Meeting of the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium will be held at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford. The 2014 annual meeting agenda will include two days of presentations on research, management, conservation, and education.
  • Ocean GIS Forum - From November 5-7, the Esri Ocean GIS Forum, Understanding and Managing Our Oceans, will be held in Redlands, California. The forum will present ways GIS technology can help people better understand the ocean, sustainably use its resources, and intelligently plan for the future.
  • Ocean Literacy Summit - From November 6-7, the 2014 New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative Ocean Literacy Summit, The Oceans and Humans Are Inextricably Interconnected, will be held in Woods Hole. The fifth biennial conference will seek to advance ocean literacy across New England by exploring the incredibly complex and varied issues facing people and the ocean.
  • Youth Ocean Conservation Summit - On November 8, the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit will be held at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. Youth participants attending this summit will learn from marine scientists and conservationists about current threats facing marine ecosystems, will work with mentors to develop action plans for ocean conservation projects, and take part in workshops designed to give them the skills necessary to successfully implement these projects.
  • Massachusetts Trails Conference - On November 8, the Department of Conservation and Recreation in partnership with the Massachusetts Recreational Trail Advisory Board will hold the 2014 Massachusetts Trails Conference in Leominster. This year's conference will feature 16 sessions, hands-on outdoor workshops, and field trips.
  • CitiesAlive Conference - From November 12-15, the CitiesAlive: 12th Annual Green Roof & Wall Conference will take place in Nashville, Tennessee. Join sustainable building professionals and speakers from across the design, development, planning, and utility sectors for tours, training and plenary sessions, and a trade show to promote living architecture in support of urban resiliency to natural hazards, including hurricanes, fires, floods, and food shortages.
  • Northeast Regional Planning Body Meeting - From November 13-14, the fifth Northeast Regional Planning Body (RPB) Meeting will be held in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The Northeast RPB includes representatives from the six New England states, 10 federally recognized tribes, 10 federal agencies, and the New England Fishery Management Council. Its mandate is to create a New England Ocean Plan and oversee its implementation.
  • StormCon 2015—Call for Papers - From August 2-6, 2015, StormCon 2015, the North American Surface Water Quality Conference and Exposition, will be held in Austin, Texas. Conference organizers are seeking presentations in six program tracks: best management practice case studies, green infrastructure, stormwater program management, water quality monitoring, and industrial stormwater management. See the Call for Papers, which are due by November 19.

Other Items of Interest

Upcoming National Flood Insurance Program Changes - On April 15, 2015, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will implement changes that may impact flood insurance policies for many properties in mapped flood zones. These changes include premium increases for non-primary residences and severe repetitive loss properties, new rates for substantially damaged/improved structures, new procedures for properties newly mapped into a special flood hazard area, premium surcharges, revised deductibles, and other changes. For more information, see the “Cover Memo and All Attachments” on the NFIP website.

Marine Debris Art Contest - NOAA's Marine Debris Program is seeking entries for the annual Keep the Sea Free of Debris Art Contest. The contest is for students in grades K-8 who are encouraged to show how marine debris impacts them and what they are doing about it. The winning artwork will be showcased in the next NOAA Marine Debris Calendar. The entry deadline is November 17.