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Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Grants

Find information on this new grant opportunity from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM).

The new Coastal Habitat and Water Quality (CHWQ) Grants provide financial resources for projects that assess and treat stormwater impacts and support comprehensive habitat restoration planning and implementation activities. Municipalities within the Massachusetts coastal watershed are eligible to apply, along with certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, regional planning agencies, and stormwater collaboratives in partnership with municipalities.

Eligible project activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Efforts to assess, identify, and characterize nonpoint source (NPS) pollution impacts from stormwater runoff to coastal waterbodies.
  • Design and construction of stormwater structural Best Management Practices (BMPs).
  • Capacity-building activities—including trainings for municipal staff, bylaw development, and case studies—that support future implementation of green stormwater infrastructure (practices that mimic natural processes to treat contaminants in runoff prior to reaching local waterbodies).
  • Development of habitat restoration plans, including data collection and synthesis, natural resource assessments, and restoration prioritization work.
  • Implementation of activities included in a habitat restoration plan completed under previous CHWQ funding, including planning, design, permitting, and construction of priority restoration actions identified in an approved comprehensive restoration plan.
  • Public outreach as a component of a larger project.

NEW: 2023 Grants Awarded - On September 29, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) announced $2,126,159 in funding through the Coastal Habitat and Water Quality (CHWQ) Grants for projects that assess and treat stormwater impacts and support comprehensive habitat restoration planning and implementation activities in Massachusetts. The 2023 CHWQ grant recipients are the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, Charles River Watershed Association, Mattapoisett Land Trust, North and South Rivers Watershed Association, Salem Sound Coastwatch and the communities of Falmouth, Kingston, Swansea, and Yarmouth. See the CZM Press Release.

Guidance Documents

Applicants are strongly encouraged to review these resources to inform a proposal to the Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Grants as applicable.

  • Climate Change Impacts to Coastal Stormwater BMPs - Stormwater BMPs in coastal areas are subject to flooding, storm damage, and salt and wind exposure—impacts that are exacerbated by sea level rise, higher groundwater levels, and increased frequency and intensity of storm and precipitation events due to climate change. In 2015, CZM and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection contracted Horsley Witten Group, Inc. (with support from the Woods Hole Group) to assess potential impacts to coastal BMPs due to climate change, evaluate existing coastal BMPs, and develop a set of recommendations for coastal communities. The Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Stormwater BMPs and Recommended BMP Design Considerations in Coastal Communities report provides results of this project and is intended to help municipalities address the unique challenges of siting, designing, and constructing BMPs on the coast.
  • Operation, Maintenance, and Performance Evaluation - In 2005, CZM contracted with the Horsley Witten Group, Inc. to conduct field inspections of stormwater BMPs. Horsley Witten evaluated the maintenance history and condition of each installed BMP and made an overall assessment of its functionality. Coastal Pollutant Remediation Program Stormwater BMP Operation, Maintenance, and Performance Evaluation (PDF, 390 KB) is a summary report that details the findings of these inspections and includes a set of recommendations for improving maintenance, construction, and design of stormwater BMPs. Applicants for CHWQ Grants for stormwater remediation projects must review and incorporate these recommendations as applicable.
  • Environmental Justice - Environmental justice (EJ) is based on the principle that all people have a right to live in and enjoy a clean and healthful environment, be protected from pollution, and be included in decision-making. Applicants should describe how the proposed project actives will benefit environmental justice communities, including siting, design, and implementation of BMPs, development of restoration plans, inclusion of stakeholders, formation of partnerships, and education and outreach for meaningful engagement. For more information on Environmental Justice, including maps of EJ populations please visit www.mass.gov/environmental-justice
  • Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Program (CPR) - While CHWQ Grants are broader in scope than CPR Grants, the CPR Grant Program page provides examples of previously funded projects focused on nonpoint source pollution remediation.

What projects have been funded?

Who can help me apply for a CHWQ Grant?

CZM can help potential applicants develop project ideas up until the RFR for the grant year is released. After the RFR is released, questions specific to the RFR can be submitted to CZM in writing until the close of the question-and-answer period, which will be approximately two weeks.

Please contact the following CZM staff and Regional Coordinators with any questions (please note that email is the better contact option):

Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management

Adrienne Pappal
Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Manager
Phone: (617) 626-1218

Lexie Neffinger
Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Specialist
Phone: (617) 626-1272

Kathryn Glenn
North Shore Regional Coordinator
Phone: (978) 281-3972

Joanna Yelen
Boston Harbor Regional Coordinator
Phone: (617) 626-1234

Jason Burtner
South Shore Regional Coordinator
Phone: (781) 546-6012

Stephen McKenna
Cape Cod & Islands Regional Coordinator
Phone: (508) 375-6856

Sam Haines
South Coastal Regional Coordinator
Phone: (774) 377-6001

In addition to providing assistance with developing project ideas, the Massachusetts Bays and Buzzards Bay National Estuary Programs can also help applicants with grant applications.

Massachusetts Bays and Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program Contacts (please note that email is the better contact option)

Upper North Shore
Hanna Mogensen
Merrimack Valley Planning Commission
Phone: (978) 374-0519 x16
Fax: (978) 372-4890

Lower North Shore
Barbara Warren
Salem Sound Coastwatch
Phone: (978) 741-7900
Fax: (978) 741-0458

Metro Boston
Diana Chin
Northeastern University Marine Science Center
Phone: (781) 581-7370
Fax: (781) 581-6076

South Shore
Sara Grady
North and South Rivers Watershed Association
Phone: (781) 659-8168

Cape Cod
Jo Ann Muramoto
Association to Preserve Cape Cod
Phone: (508) 362-4226 x16
Fax: (508) 362-3136

Buzzards Bay
Joe Costa
Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program
Phone: (774) 377-6000

Contact Information

For more information about the CHWQ Grant Program, contact:

(please note that email is the better contact option)

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