Each year, coastal communities in Massachusetts experience coastal storm damages to property, infrastructure, and natural resources, along with associated economic disruptions. These impacts are projected to worsen and broaden with the effects of climate change. Coastal structures including seawalls and revetments have been constructed to control erosion and flooding with the eventual loss of fronting beaches and neighboring properties. Natural approaches can provide coastal storm damage protection and enhance natural resources. To help communities address these issues, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) is administering the Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience Pilot Grants Program through its StormSmart Coasts program . This grant program provides financial and technical resources to advance the understanding and implementation of natural approaches to mitigating coastal erosion and flooding problems. Grants will support the planning, feasibility assessment, design, permitting, construction, and monitoring/evaluation of green infrastructure projects that implement natural or living shoreline approaches.


The 2015 Request for Responses (RFR) is now OPEN.
To view the RFR, visit the COMMBUYS website.
Proposals are due by October 10.


For summary information on this grant program, see:


Who is eligible to apply for grants?

The Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience Pilot Grants Program is open to the 78 municipalities located within the Massachusetts coastal zone (see CZM coastal communities for a full list) and certified 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations with vulnerable coastal property that is open and accessible to the public.

What types of projects are eligible for grants?

Projects must implement one (or more) of the living shoreline techniques below that provide coastal storm damage protection and enhance natural resources.

  1. Beach, berm, and dune building, enhancement, or restoration with compatible sediment and native vegetation - Beaches, berms, and dunes provide natural buffers to coastal storm waves, tides, and sea level rise, and serve as critical habitat for wildlife. Sediment eroded during large storms typically gets deposited in protective offshore bars that cause waves to break farther away from vulnerable property and infrastructure. Deposited sediment then returns to the beach system over the summer season.
  2. Bio-engineering with coir rolls, natural fiber blankets, and other organic, biodegradable materials combined with planting/re-vegetation - Bio-engineering approaches with native vegetation trap and stabilize sand on beaches, dunes, and coastal banks providing increased protection against storms and erosion.
  3. Natural oyster or mussel reef creation, enhancement, or restoration - Shellfish reefs provide valuable habitat and serve as natural barriers that help reduce the amount of wave energy that reaches the shoreline.
  4. Fringing salt marsh creation or restoration - Planted fringing tidal marshes without structures can reduce beach and coastal bank erosion by dissipating wave energy. The width and elevation of the marsh are critical to the success of the project.
  5. Natural enhancement of existing coastal structures - Sediment placed over revetments and other coastal structures can serve as a more natural erosion buffer and decrease scour that results from structures.

Similar nonstructural, green infrastructure for coastal resilience and projects that include natural enhancement or covering of existing coastal structures will also be considered.

Proposals must also address one (or more) of the following stages of coastal green infrastructure projects:

  • Feasibility assessment and siting - Work to assess and determine whether green infrastructure or living shoreline stabilization is suitable for a particular coastal area or site. Includes evaluation of erosion rates and trends, flooding impacts, sea level rise, and other efforts to analyze and assess site conditions such as elevations, coastal storm exposure, wave regimes, sediment types, existing habitat types, and vulnerable development.
  • Design and permitting - Work to engineer and design the project, including plans for site preparation and installation as well as project monitoring for effectiveness. Work to prepare and secure all federal, state, and local permits and authorizations for proposed activities.
  • Construction, installation, and monitoring - Work to prepare site, construct and install the coastal green infrastructure technique(s) and monitor and evaluate the projects to assess project efficacy and inform and improve future efforts.

For additional information and descriptions of successful grant projects, see the EEA press release and the project descriptions pdf format of Green Infrastructure Grant Awards
for the first round of grants awarded in 2014.

What information is available to support the development of effective proposals?

CZM encourages applicants to review the following information when developing a proposal for this grant program:

What is the deadline for proposals (and other important dates)?

Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on October 10, 2014. Questions may be directed in writing to Brad Washburn by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 24, 2014. All questions and answers will be posted on the COMMBUYS website. Awards are estimated to be announced by November 26, 2014, with contract negotiations to begin immediately thereafter. Projects must be completed on or before June 30, 2015, or June 30, 2016, depending on the specific project.

How much can I ask for?

CZM expects to award up to $1.5 million in grants and applicants may request up to $750,000 in funding. Applicants must provide at least 25% of the total project cost. The 25% match may be cash or in-kind contributions or a combination of the two.

What should a grant proposal include?

The Request for Responses (RFR) is available on the COMMBUYS website. The RFR requires the following to be included in the grant application:

  1. A description of the severity of the erosion or flooding issue(s) or problem(s), current and potential threats and impacts to coastal infrastructure and natural resources, and need for assistance.
  2. A detailed description of the proposed green infrastructure project and stages of work to be funded; how the project will improve coastal resilience immediately at, adjacent to, and beyond the project site; and how the proposed project will benefit the public and public interests.
  3. Description of how the proposed project takes future conditions into consideration, including projected sea level rise scenario(s).
  4. Description of the transferability of proposed project including details of education and outreach plan.
  5. Detailed time-line with anticipated completion dates for the project.
  6. Detailed budget and explanation of how the funding and other support provided by project partners will ensure success of the project. Documentation that the proposed 25% in-kind and cash match has not been used for other projects.
  7. The name of a qualified individual who will serve as the local project manager and point of contact, along with resumes for the local project manager and other staff who will work on the project.
  8. Support letters from all relevant local boards, departments, commissions, and other partners with a commitment for these entities to participate, as necessary, in the project.

Contact Information

Brad Washburn
Assistant Director
Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management
251 Causeway Street, Suite 800
Boston, MA 02114
bradford.washburn@state.ma.us
617-626-1203