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

Eligible project activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Efforts to assess, identify, and characterize 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.
  • Development of habitat restoration plans, including data collection and synthesis, natural resource assessments, and restoration prioritization leading to the development of a comprehensive plan.
  • Advancement of priority land acquisition planning activities for the purposes of restoration, buffer protection, and/or future marsh migration.

Applications should also describe past or planned public outreach, supporting meaningful participation and engagement in the development or implementation of project activities to increase participatory decision-making in the categories above to be competitive.

NEW: Upcoming Grant Round - CZM anticipates the release of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 Request for Responses (RFR) this spring. Until the RFR is released, CZM can discuss project ideas and eligibility for CHWQ Grants with potential applicants. See contact information at the bottom of this page. When the grant round officially opens, a link to the RFR will be posted on this web page. For questions, please email Adrienne Pappal at adrienne.pappal@mass.gov or any of the contacts below. To receive an email announcement that the RFR is posted, please complete and submit this online form.

New: CHWQ Pre-RFR Webinar - On April 10, CZM hosted an informational webinar on the Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Grants to review the goals and requirements of the grant, logistics, and timeline. Links to recordings of the webinar and the presentation slides are available below.

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.

  • Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management Grant Viewer - The Grant Viewer provides examples of projects funded by CZM from 2014 to present. Projects listed include those from the Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant (CPR) (formerly available), the Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Grants (CHWQ) (includes activities previously funded through CPR), and the Coastal Resilience Grant Program (CR).
  • 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

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:

Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management

Adrienne Pappal
Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Manager
Phone: (617) 890-9116 please note that this is a new phone number

Kathleen Mason
Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Specialist
Phone: (617) 890-9493 please note that this is a new phone number

Lexie Neffinger
Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Specialist
Phone: (617) 890-9119 please note that this is a new phone number

Kathryn Glenn
North Shore Regional Coordinator
Phone: (617) 947-9169 please note that this is a new phone number

Joanna Yelen
Boston Harbor Regional Coordinator
Phone: (617) 845-7962 please note that this is a new phone number

Jason Burtner
South Shore Regional Coordinator
Phone: (617) 694-1767 please note that this is a new phone number

Stephen McKenna
Cape Cod & Islands Regional Coordinator
Phone: (617) 872-1680 please note that this is a new phone number

Sam Haines
South Coastal Regional Coordinator
Phone: (617) 694-8235 please note that this is a new phone number

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

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
Alex Mansfield
North and South Rivers Watershed Association
Phone: (781) 659-8168 x103

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
Office: (774) 377-6000
Mobile: (617) 872-5045

Contact Information

For more information about the CHWQ Grant Program, contact:

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