MassBays works primarily in the near-shore, estuarine systems of the region, in light of the strong leadership of Massachusetts’ watershed associations, and the significant and effective investment the Commonwealth has made in ocean planning. To support this work and as an alternative to a coastal delineation that uses municipal boundaries, MassBays uses ecosystem-based landward and seaward boundaries to define the MassBays planning area. Using these boundaries and geospatially available data, a glimpse into the relative ecological condition of estuaries within Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays was assessed. 

Estuary Delineation and Assessment Viewer
The Estuary Delineation and Assessment Report pdf format of MassBays Estuary Delineation and Assessment Report
file size 20MB (EDA) identifies 47 embayments within Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay. The EDA’s results are available here as a set of interactive maps that document resources and stressors in each of the embayments. The estuary assessment metrics were selected to focus on water quality conditions, estuarine habitat protection and restoration, and improvement of habitat continuity. Resource indicators assessed were tidal flats, shorebird habitat, anadromous fish runs, salt marsh, eelgrass beds, shellfish habitat, and shorebird nesting sites. Stressor indicators included impervious area, stormwater discharge, land use change, population density, 303(d) impairments, fish barriers (impoundments), wastewater discharge, designated shellfish growing area classification, and stream crossings.

As MassBays moves forward, and with additional parameters and analyses, the EDA will serve as a baseline for tracking changes in estuarine conditions over time.

Using the Viewer: 
To view a static map with all the stressors and resources visible, click on an embayment in the Google map below and click on the Embayment Map link in the pop-up window. 

Acrobat Layers Image

To download and manipulate a multi-layered map, click on an embayment in the Google map below, right click on the Embayment Map link and save the link to your computer. Open the saved document with pdf viewer software (e.g. Adobe Acrobat Reader). The saved pdf file includes stressor and resource layers which can be turned "on" or "off" via the layers tool (example shown at right) at the upper left of the page.