Change in MBP Leadership
Jay Baker, Executive Director

MBP Welcomes New Director
In March, the MBP welcomed Jay Baker as the new Executive Director of the program. No stranger to the MBP, Jay’s previous employment with the MBP’s host, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), spans a decade, and he participated in a number of MBP initiatives during that time. While at CZM, Jay served in various roles including leading and coordinating the Water Quality and Habitat program, Coastal Nonpoint Program, and Invasive Species Program. He also worked for two years as a Wildlife Biologist with The Trustees of Reservations. A native of New Jersey, but a Red Sox fan at heart, he has a B.S. in Biology from Gordon College and an Masters in Environmental Management with a coastal concentration from Duke University. He lives with his wife, daughter, and a large retriever in Newburyport, and delights in salt water fly-fishing in his spare time.

MBP’s Extends Thanks to Outgoing Director
MBP wishes outgoing Director, Jan Smith, all the best in his new position as CZM's Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Manager. Jan led the MBP for 12 years, and was instrumental in numerous MBP and partner accomplishments, including the development and implementation of coastwide rapid assessment surveys for marine invasive's in Massachusetts, work pioneering methods and tools for wetland condition assessment, and furthering important policy efforts such as the development of state stormwater management standards. Jan is no stranger to CZM having worked in several positions with the agency prior to joining the MBP. We thank Jan for his dedicated service to the MBP and look forward to continued collaboration with him on various efforts.

MBP Updates

Spring Intern Wraps Up
MBP is extremely grateful to Josh Daskin, an intern from Brandeis University, who recently wrapped up a four-month internship with the program. Josh earned academic credit for his work with the MBP, and has made meaningful contributions to the State of the Bays report that is currently under development. He also compiled an inventory of climate adaptation resources relevant to the work of the program. A biology major/chemistry minor, Josh spent last summer interning with the Dauphin Island Marine Lab in Alabama. This summer he will be conducting field work with The Nature Conservancy in Michigan before heading to Australia as a Fulbright Scholar to undertake a year of research on fungal disease in amphibians. Congratulations and good luck Josh!

Program Completes Triennial Evaluation
In November, MBP received notification that it had successfully wrapped up its triennial program evaluation, a requirement of all National Estuary Programs (NEP) to ensure continued federal funding. The overall review process involves documentation of program implementation and effectiveness. In July, EPA conducted a three-day site visit, during which MBP hosted a team of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff and peer reviewers from other NEPs. Reviewers met with MBP, CZM, and EEA staff, and viewed implementation projects in the Salem Sound and Upper North Shore regions. The evaluation report included an overview of the program, key accomplishments over the last three years, and suggested recommendations to be addressed in the next three-year cycle.

MBP Boasts Over $3.7 Million in Leveraged Funds for 2008
In Federal FY08, the MBP leveraged a total of $3,765,018 in funds supporting the implementation of the MBP Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan . Leveraged funding is financial support that is garnered from sources other than EPA's annual National Estuary Program grant. Contributing leveraged funds to the MBP in 2008 were federal and state agencies (29% each), local sources (24%), and private sources (18%). MPB played a primary role in leveraging 71% of these funds, a significant role in leveraging 18%, and a supporting role in leveraging the remaining 10%. The following chart depicts the breakdown of these funds by MBP priority action categories. 

Percentages of 2008 Leveraged Funding

Update on MBP’s Climate Ready Estuaries Pilot Project
For much of the past year, along with five other NEPs, the Massachusetts Bays Program has been host to a pilot project of the EPA Climate Ready Estuaries initiative. MBP is currently working with EPA to undertake an assessment of the vulnerability of salt marsh ecosystems to the impacts of climate change. Conceptual models have been developed depicting potential climate-related stressors and their impact on the salt marsh. These will be critiqued by scientific peers over the summer through an expert elicitation process to further define the sensitivity of the system to the projected impacts. The results of the assessment will help to inform management decisions about coastal habitat protection and restoration.
Aerial View of Plum Island


State of the Bays Report in the Works
It has been five years since the last State of the Bays report was produced for the MBP region. Efforts are underway to produce an updated report by the end of the year, and the submissions have been flying in. In addition to reporting on the program’s 16 environmental indicators of the health of Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays, the report will also spotlight the work of each of the MBP’s four active regions and several other topics of interest.

National Coastal Assessment
Beginning in 2000, the MBP and CZM partnered with EPA to design and conduct sampling of Massachusetts’ embayments under EPA's National Coastal Assessment Program . This program is a national effort that engages all coastal states and the Great Lakes region in monitoring to detect contaminants in sediment and living organisms. The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries is contributing by providing fish samples from their annual trawl surveys. The original annual sampling program was completed in 2006, and several national syntheses were produced. The MBP is continuing its partnership with EPA and is participating in the design of the next scheduled sampling in 2010.

The MBP is evaluating data from the National Coastal Assessment sampling conducted during the period of 2000-2005 as a means to better understand contaminants in the Massachusetts Bays system. Traditionally, it has been assumed that the transport and fate of metal contaminants are correlated with the transport and deposition of fine-grained sediments. Indeed, U.S. Geological Survey has used the presence of silver in sediment and water columns as a tracer of wastewater dispersion in the Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays. However, recent analysis by MBP suggests that the presence of organic material in the sediment may also play a role in deciding the fate of these contaminants, thus suggesting that chemical equilibrium is a factor as well as fine particle transport. The chart below shows areas where silver has been found in Cape Cod Bay surface sediments collected during the National Coastal Assessment. Additional research and analysis is needed, but this raises interesting questions related to natural ecosystems impacts and expectations of recovery from mitigation of contaminated systems. For more information about this analysis, contact the MBP’s Marine Monitoring Scientist, Christian Krahforst.

Gulfwatch is a contaminant monitoring program that is sponsored by the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment . Blue mussels are collected annually by scientists and environmental managers from selected sites along the rim of the Gulf of Maine from the Canadian Provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick all the way down through Massachusetts. The MBP is synthesizing Gulfwatch data to evaluate whether contaminant exposure to organisms have decreased, exhibited no change, or increased since monitoring began in 1992. Contaminants monitored include trace metals (e.g., copper, zinc, lead, cadmium) and organic compounds (e.g., pesticides, poly aromatic hydrocarbons, and PCBs.) Some preliminary results suggest that DDT, an organic pesticide that has been banned in the U.S. since 1972, is still increasing at selected locations in the Gulf of Maine. These results will be the focus of a peer-reviewed publication, currently being drafted for submission this autumn. This will compare contaminant levels found in the Gulf of Maine to levels found in other parts of the United States as reported by the NOAA Status & Trends Mussel Watch Program.

Chart of Silver Deposits in Cape Cod Bay Surface Sediments

Updates from the Regions

Outfall Pipe

Who Pays for Stormwater Management?
Several of MBP’s regional programs have been working to educate municipal officials and staff about options to finance stormwater programs at the community level. While existing fee assessments bring in funds to pay for drinking water and sewer infrastructure, stormwater systems have not typically benefitted from this sort of recurring income, although annual municipal stormwater management costs can be significant. Several communities in Massachusetts are taking steps to address this, either through the formation of a stormwater utility or some other form of stormwater fee assessment. With funds from the Massachusetts Environment Trust , the Association to Preserve Cape Cod and other partners held a workshop on January 13th that was attended by almost 50 participants. A two-part workshop series was held in April on the North Shore focusing first on stormwater regulations and then on financing mechanisms. The North Shore events were sponsored by Salem Sound Coastwatch, Eight Towns and the Great Marsh , and the Horsley Witten Group , which also contributed expertise to the Cape Cod effort.

According to the workshop presenters, the first step that a municipality should take in determining how to move forward with stormwater utility planning is to conduct a “Does it Make Sense” study. Following the workshop on Cape Cod, and with continued support from the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, the town of Yarmouth is currently in the process of conducting such an exercise to investigate the feasibility and practicality of setting up a stormwater utility. The MBP is in a position to support additional communities wishing to initiate this important first step.

Herring Run Monitoring on Cape Cod
Spring is here, and with it will come the river herring, running upstream to spawn in our streams and ponds. Last year, MBP’s program on Cape Cod had volunteer count programs in Brewster and Orleans. This year, they are adding new sites in Sandwich, Wellfleet, Chatham, and Harwich. Additionally, a fish ladder is being installed at Upper Shawme Pond in Sandwich to improve herring access to spawning grounds. Volunteer counts of river herring are more important than ever. The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries has extended the moratorium on herring catch through 2011 because river herring have still not recovered in numbers, and fisheries managers need more time to understand why they have not rebounded. For more information on herring run monitoring on Cape Cod, please contact the Association to Preserve Cape Cod . Your counts count!

Furlong Park to Get a Face Lift
MBP’s regional partner, Salem Sound Coastwatch, has been instrumental in the acquisition of a $500,000 grant to refurbish Furlong Park, situated along the North River in Salem. Having recently completed the Open Space and Recreation Plan, the City of Salem became eligible to apply for the state’s competitive Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities grant. Funds will be used to improve access to the park and to the river, address erosion problems at the site, and upgrade recreational amenities. 

Furlong Park Salem Oblique
 
Eight Towns & the Bay 2009 Speaker Series Launched
On March 16th, the Eight Towns & the Bay Committee kicked off this year’s speaker series with a talk on the formation and evolution of Plum Island. Delivering the presentation was Chris Hein, a PhD candidate in the Department of Earth Sciences at Boston University. Held at the Newbury Elementary School, the event was well attended by approximately 125 people. The Committee aims to have 3-4 speakers per year, the next of which will be Erika Spanger-Siefgried from the Union of Concerned Scientists, who will speak on climate change impacts to New England. These events are open to the public. To be added to the mailing list for event announcement, please contact Peter Phippen. The Eight Towns & the Bay Committee has been actively recruiting members and welcomes new representatives from Amesbury, Rowley, Gloucester, and Salisbury.
Sign for Drake Raingarden, Pembroke MA

Raingardens Flourish on the South Shore
Most of the towns served by the MBP’s south shore coordinator now have a demonstration rain garden to boast. The North and South Rivers Watershed Association (NSWRA) has been working for the past three years to install eleven raingardens at public sites such as schools and libraries, where it is hoped that the public will learn about their function and values. Raingardens are constructed in locations that receive stormwater runoff diverted from a rooftop or paved area. The benefits to the environment are numerous: the garden’s plants benefit from extra watering during rainstorms, the plants filter stormwater pollutants before they percolates into the ground or into nearby streams, and the root system binds the soil, thus preventing erosion and sediment from entering nearby waterways. Attractive signs identify these demonstration raingardens, which will hopefully serve as an inspiration to citizens to install them at home or elsewhere.

Eight Towns & the Bay 2009 Speaker Series Launched
On March 16th, the Eight Towns & the Bay Committee kicked off this year’s speaker series with a talk on the formation and evolution of Plum Island. Delivering the presentation was Chris Hein, a PhD candidate in the Department of Earth Sciences at Boston University. Held at the Newbury Elementary School, the event was well attended by approximately 125 people. The Committee aims to have 3-4 speakers per year, the next of which will be Erika Spanger-Siefgried from the Union of Concerned Scientists, who will speak on climate change impacts to New England. These events are open to the public. To be added to the mailing list for event announcement, please contact Peter Phippen. The Eight Towns & the Bay Committee has been actively recruiting members and welcomes new representatives from Amesbury, Rowley, Gloucester, and Salisbury.

Barnstable County Coastal Resources Committee (CRC) Reconvened
In 2008, following a hiatus of several years, the CRC reconvened with a new mission. The CRC is the Local Governance Committee of the MBP on Cape Cod. It is also Barnstable County’s advisory committee on coastal issues. The CRC is composed of a member from each town on Cape Cod as well as representatives from local, regional, and state agencies that deal with coastal issues. In addition to serving as a liaison between towns and the County, the CRC hopes to provide a regular series of outreach workshops on coastal issues of interest. The first two workshops focused on the state ocean planning process and stormwater financing. Future workshops will cover shellfish uptake of nitrogen and other topics of interest.

Produced in June 2009
Updated 07/2/09

Related Offices


The Massachusetts Bays Program is a cooperative venture of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts - Deval L. Patrick, Governor; Timothy P. Murray, Lieutenant Governor
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs - Richard K. Sullivan Jr., Secretary
Office of Coastal Zone Management - Bruce K. Carlisle, Director
Massachusetts Bays Program - Pamela A. DiBona, Executive Director