The Massachusetts Bays Program (MBP) developed the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) to identify the work that needed to be done to maintain and improve the ecological integrity of the Massachusetts Bays. When the CCMP was originally drafted, MBP worked with approximately 300 individuals representing numerous agencies, organizations and municipalities to identify action plans and who would be responsible to carry them out.

After four years in development, the CCMP was completed in 1996. The CCMP contained approximately 400 pages organized into eleven chapters. Chapter five, the centerpiece of the Management Plan, describes seventy-two action items categorized into fifteen major action plans for protecting and preserving the Bays' resources.

The action plans articulate a number of recommended steps to take to restore and protect the Massachusetts Bays ecosystem. The action plans address the following areas of concern:

  1. Protecting Public Health
  2. Protecting and Enhancing Shellfish Resources
  3. Protecting and Enhancing Coastal Habitat
  4. Reducing and Preventing Stormwater Pollution
  5. Reducing and Preventing Toxic Pollution
  6. Reducing and Preventing Oil Pollution
  7. Managing Municipal Wastewater
  8. Managing Boat Wastes and Marina Pollution
  9. Managing Dredging and Dredged Materials Disposal
  10. Reducing Beach Debris and Marine Floatables
  11. Protecting Nitrogen-Sensitive Embayments
  12. Enhancing Public Access and the Working Waterfront
  13. Planning for a Shifting Shoreline
  14. Managing Local Land Use and Growth
  15. Enhancing Public Education and Participation

In 1998, MBP held a Visioning Workshop to establish program priorities. At the workshop, which was attended by MBP staff and members of the Management Conference, the group prioritized the seventy-two CCMP action items. The group agreed that MBP should focus on the five action plans that contained the majority of the "urgent" action items. These priority action plans included Action Plans 2 (Shellfish), 3 (Habitat), 4 (Stormwater), 16 (Marine Invasive Species), and 17 (Marine Monitoring).   

Many of the tasks that were described in the original CCMP have since been completed or are currently underway. In 2003, MBP revised and updated the CCMP. Many of the priority action items have been revised to include the implementation process that has evolved for those plans. The revised CCMP also includes the following new action plans:

  16. Preventing Marine Invasive Species
  17. Marine Monitoring

MBP is always seeking input and support for the CCMP from agencies, organizations and municipalities that are working on coastal environmental protection.