Healthy Estuaries Grant Program 

The MassBays Healthy Estuaries Grant Program provides funding and technical assistance to coastal communities from Salisbury to Provincetown for initiatives in Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay. With funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Section 320 of the Clean Water Act, MassBays will fund work that will lead to implementation of the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan, previously released for public review. The final CCMP, due December 31, 2015, will guide MassBays' work through 2023 to address a wide range of environmental issues, and improve ecosystem conditions across the region. 

The Healthy Estuaries Grant Program is a revision of MassBays' previous Research and Planning Grant Program. This grant program fills the funding gap between development of a concept for improving estuarine conditions and its implementation.By directing funding to planning, assessment, and prioritization steps, MassBays can advance well thought-out and resilient restoration and resource management projects. 

Working toward our vision of sustainable estuarine ecosystems that support the life and communities dependent upon then, MassBays grant funds are dedicated to supporting local progress on protecting, restoring, and enhancing estuarine habitats (e.g. seagrass beds, salt marshes, beaches) and informing management efforts to reduce stressors (e.g. wastewater, stormwater, habitat fragmentation).  

MassBays Awards Healthy Estuary Grants

On April 22, the Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton announced $97,828 in federal grant money to help towns and organizations improve ecosystem health in Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay. These Healthy Estuaries grants were awarded by the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program (MassBays) through CZM with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The grants are being matched by $99,112 in municipal and private contributions and focus on supporting MassBays mission to protect, restore, and enhance the estuarine resources of the region. The following five grants were awarded:

  • Center for Coastal Studies - $31,986 to conduct an extensive assessment of contaminants of emerging concern in Cape Cod Bay estuaries to evaluate ecological health risks and provide a more complete understanding of how land use patterns affect water quality beyond nutrient contamination.
  • MIT Sea Grant College Program - $28,500 to conduct surveys to identify specific river herring habitat preferences and resource use that will inform ongoing restoration efforts to convert cranberry bogs to natural wetland and restore fish passage in Fresh Pond in Plymouth.
  • The Association to Preserve Cape Cod - $15,010 to prioritize restoration projects and identify two top-priority projects to develop for planning and construction, including submission of proposals for funding.
  • Town of Braintree - $16,000 to conduct comprehensive wetland delineation and develop a sediment management plan for the restoration of a fish passage to the 180-acre Great Pond Reservation.
  • Town of Wellfleet - $8,640 to use an existing hydrodynamic tide-height model to assess various culvert configurations for the Mayo Creek Restoration.

For more information, see the EEA Press Release.

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Research and Planning Grant Program

The MassBays Research and Planning Grant Program was conducted from 2010 to 2014 and supported research, planning, and local capacity building initiatives in the MassBays region. Funded projects aided the implementation of the MassBays Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan, MassBays' guiding document. Although there are many funding sources which provide support for implementing restoration work, funding for the planning phases of restoration projects is not always easy to find. MassBays' Research and Planning Grant Program filled the gap between restoration concept and implementation. By providing a funding source for in-depth research and planning, this program helped ensure the advancement of future restoration projects along the MassBays coast.

Projects Funded by the MassBays Research and Planning Grant Program (2010-2014)

Between 2010 and  2014, MassBays awarded over $450,000 for 26 projects to towns and organizations to conduct projects that identified causes of coastal habitat degradation; developed management plans and recommendations to address coastal water pollution; designed conceptual improvements to stormwater infrastructure and built local capacity to protect coastal resources including salt marsh, shellfish beds and anadromous fish runs. The projects funded through the MassBays Research and Planning Grant Program resulted in recommendations and products which address priority management issues in Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay.  

Read about the projects and view the final reports on our Previously Funded Projects page. Or for a brief overview of the 26 projects funded through this program, read the EEA press releases for each of the grant years. 

               2011 pdf format of 2011
                    2012 pdf format of 2012
                    2013 pdf format of 2013
                    2014 pdf format of 2014

Contact Information

For questions about the MassBays Grant Programs, contact:

Prassede Vella
Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program
251 Causeway Street, Suite 800
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 626-1217