The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) StormSmart Coasts program provides information, strategies, and tools to help communities and people working and living on the coast to address the challenges of erosion, flooding, storms, sea level rise, and other climate change impacts. The program also promotes effective management of coastal landforms, such as beaches and dunes. Major StormSmart Coasts initiatives include:
- StormSmart Properties (Tools for Homeowners) - Strategies for property owners to reduce coastal erosion and storm damage while minimizing impacts to the shoreline and neighboring properties.
- StormSmart Communities (Tools for Local Officials) - Resources for local officials to improve erosion and floodplain management along the coast, including information on the No Adverse Impact approach to coastal land management, local pilot projects, and technical assistance on topics from flood mapping to infrastructure siting.
- Applying the Massachusetts Coastal Wetlands Regulations - This guidance document, published in August 2017, was developed by CZM and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to help Conservation Commissions evaluate projects proposed in coastal resource areas for their potential to impact the storm damage prevention and flood control interests of the Wetlands Protection Act. It gives Commissions tools, data, and information to delineate the coastal resource areas, determine resource area functions, assess potential project impacts, and evaluate whether the project meets or can be conditioned to meet the performance standards and includes step-by-step instructions, checklists, and example scenarios.
- Coastal Resilience Grant Program - Grants to municipalities and nonprofit organizations to advance innovative local efforts to address coastal flooding, erosion, and sea level rise impacts through communication and public outreach initiatives, vulnerability assessments, planning activities, engineering projects, and natural storm damage protection.
- Massachusetts Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Viewer - A tool providing interactive maps of potential coastal flooding of public facilities and infrastructure based on: sea level rise scenarios, Federal Emergency Management Agency coastal flood zones, and hurricane surge models. Examples of mapped facilities include: electrical generation facilities, fire stations, hospitals, police stations, town/city halls, and wastewater treatment plants.
- Assessing Vulnerability of Coastal Properties - Resources to identify areas of the Massachusetts coast most vulnerable to erosion and flooding, including shoreline change data, Flood Insurance Rate Maps, and maps depicting coastal inundation with sea level rise and hurricanes.
- Shoreline Change Project - Documented erosion and accretion along the Massachusetts coast, complete with an interactive map showing how the shoreline of Massachusetts has shifted between the mid-1800s and 2009.
- Coastal Landscaping - Landscaping options for controlling erosion and preventing storm damage.
- Barrier Beach Management - An inventory of the state’s barrier beaches and guidelines for beach managers.
- Inventories of Seawalls and Other Coastal Structures - Reports prepared for CZM and the Department of Conservation and Recreation from 2006 to 2013 that provide an inventory of locations for seawalls, revetments, groins, jetties, and other coastal structures, as well as condition ratings and estimated repair or reconstruction costs for the publically owned structures.
- Massachusetts Coastal Erosion Commission - CZM chaired and staffed this commission, which was established in 2014 and charged with assessing levels and impacts of coastal erosion in the Commonwealth and developing strategies and recommendations to address these impacts. A Final Coastal Erosion Commission Report was released on December 3, 2015.
- Massachusetts Coastal Hazards Commission - A comprehensive report and recommendations developed from 2006-2007 by the Commission, which was staffed by CZM and charged with reviewing existing coastal hazards practices and policies and drafting recommendations to improve coastal hazards management coastwide; the report served as a foundation for the StormSmart Coasts program.
- Publications - "How to" fact sheets, guidance documents, and other StormSmart materials published by CZM and partners for local officials and homeowners.
The successful launch of the Massachusetts StormSmart Coasts initiative in 2008 led to the development of a national network in 2009. A growing partnership of coastal decision makers supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal Services Center, Northeast Regional Ocean Council, Gulf of Mexico Alliance, and others represents the StormSmart Coasts Network. The StormSmart Coasts National Network website provides local decision makers with information on erosion, flooding, storms, and sea level rise and helps them connect and collaborate.