Pursuant to the Ocean Act of 2008, projects subject to the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan and its implementing regulations (301 CMR 28.00 et seq.) shall be subject to an Ocean Development Mitigation Fee, as established by the Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA). The Ocean Act also created an Ocean Resources and Waterways Trust Fund which was established to receive payments associated with the fee as well as other appropriations, grants, or investment income.

To date, there have been three deposits to the Ocean Resources and Waterways Trust (“trust”). The first payment was $1,000,000 directed to the trust as a result of supplemental mitigation related to benthic impacts associated with construction of the Hubline natural gas pipeline project in Massachusetts Bay. The second was $42,650 associated with a MA Department of Environmental Protection permit violation associated with unpermitted fill for the Hubline natural gas pipeline project (rock cover used to bury the pipeline). The third deposit for $20,000 was the ocean development mitigation fee determined by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary for the Comcast/NSTAR communications/electric cable project between Falmouth and Tisbury. There have been six projects supported by the trust for a total of $442,701 expended as of September 2016. The EEA Secretary serves as trustee of the Trust. To direct the administration and management of the Trust, EEA has developed Ocean Resources and Waterways Trust Implementation Guidelines, which are contained in Appendix 7 of the 2015 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan.

Year

Expended Amount

Project

2010

$ 120,300

Sediment and infauna analysis to ground-truth seafloor maps and identify regions with statistically similar sediment types and infaunal communities. Project area included ocean area off of South Shore and northern Cape Cod Bay.

2010

$ 15,469

High-definition video camera to ground truth seafloor and sediment maps and support habitat classification and fisheries management.

2011

$ 143,733

Sediment and infauna analysis to ground-truth seafloor maps and identify regions with statistically similar sediment types and infaunal communities. Project area included southern Cape Cod Bay, Buzzards Bay, and south of Islands.

2012-2013

$ 41,228

Acquisition of seafloor imagery and analysis of benthos in the Massachusetts Wind Energy Area south of the Martha’s Vineyard.

2012-2013

$ 117,568

Sediment and infauna analysis to ground-truth seafloor maps and identify regions with statistically similar sediment types and infaunal communities. Project area included state waters of Massachusetts Bay from Boston harbor area north to New Hampshire border.

2014

$ 4,403

Acquisition and data processing of North Atlantic right whale, humpback whale, and fin whale densities in and around Massachusetts waters to convert observations to sightings per unit effort for each species in a five minute by five minute grid and technical guidance to develop maps from these data.