Massachusetts coastal communities face significant risks from coastal storms, flooding, erosion, and sea level rise—challenges that are exacerbated by climate change. To help address these issues, CZM administers the Coastal Resilience Grant Program to provide financial and technical support for local and regional efforts to increase community understanding of coastal storm and climate impacts, evaluate vulnerabilities, conduct adaptation planning, redesign and retrofit vulnerable public facilities and infrastructure, and restore shorelines to enhance natural resources and provide storm damage protection. Managed through CZM’s StormSmart Coasts program, grants are available for a range of coastal resilience approaches—from planning, public outreach, feasibility assessment, and analysis of shoreline vulnerability to design, permitting, construction, and monitoring.
NEW: Upcoming Coastal Resilience Grants - Pre-Application Support Available from CZM - CZM anticipates the release of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 Request for Responses (RFR) for the Coastal Resilience Grant Program in the spring. Up until the RFR is released, CZM can discuss project ideas and eligibility for the grants with potential applicants. See the contact information below to connect with CZM.
FY2024 Grants Awarded - On October 2, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and CZM announced Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Coastal Resilience Grant awards. The funding was awarded to Barnstable, Beverly, Braintree, Chatham (2), Cohasset (2), Duxbury, Duxbury Beach Reservation, Hingham, Hull, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marshfield, Nahant, Nantucket, Oak Bluffs, Salem, Scituate, and Yarmouth. Please see the CZM Press Release for more information.
Who is eligible and what types of projects are funded?
The Coastal Resilience Grant Program is open to the 78 municipalities located within the Massachusetts coastal zone, certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that own vulnerable coastal property that is open and accessible to the public, and federally recognized and state acknowledged Massachusetts Tribes.
Eligible projects must fall under one (or more) of the following five categories:
- Detailed Vulnerability and Risk Assessment - Projects that evaluate vulnerable public facilities and infrastructure using best available techniques, data, and climate projections (e.g., sea level rise and precipitation). Vulnerability assessments should build on Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program and other assessments and set the stage for implementation of actions.
- Public Outreach - Projects that increase community understanding of coastal storm and climate impacts and build effective partnerships to develop support for implementation of proactive climate adaptation actions. Outreach projects that promote engagement in local adaptation efforts are most competitive. Creative outreach and communication products that are accessible to all residents are encouraged.
- Proactive Planning - Projects to develop, amend, and implement community-based resilience plans, local ordinances, bylaws, standards, zoning, and other planning tools or management measures to reduce the exposure of existing and future development and infrastructure to coastal storm damages and climate impacts. Projects that facilitate retreat of vulnerable development and infrastructure and reduce future development in hazardous areas are highly encouraged. Projects that result in formal local adoption are most competitive.
- Redesigns and Retrofits - Engineering and construction projects that upgrade or adapt vulnerable public facilities and infrastructure (e.g., seawalls, port and harbor infrastructure, wastewater treatment plants, pump stations, and critical municipal roadways/evacuation routes) to withstand flooding and erosion over the design life given higher tides, greater storm surges, and more intense precipitation. Projects that relocate public facilities and infrastructure outside of hazardous areas, where feasible, are strongly encouraged.
- Shoreline Restoration - Projects that evaluate suitability, design, permit, construct, and/or monitor non-structural approaches that restore or enhance natural systems to provide erosion and flood protection services provided by public beaches, dunes, coastal banks, salt marshes, shellfish, and other habitat types. Projects must specifically address current erosion and flooding impacts of public facilities and infrastructure and be able to adapt as sea level rises (e.g., build up or shift landward).
What projects have been funded?
- Featured Coastal Resilience Grant Projects - This web page provides links to summaries of a variety of Coastal Resilience Grant projects to highlight the range of projects eligible for funding and to demonstrate some of the lessons learned through project implementation.
- FY 2024 Project Summaries (PDF, 106 KB)
- FY 2023 Project Summaries (PDF, 122 KB)
- FY 2022 Project Summaries (PDF, 197 KB)
- FY 2021 Project Summaries (PDF, 189 KB)
- FY 2020 Project Summaries (PDF, 177 KB)
- FY 2019 Project Summaries (PDF, 154 KB)
- FY 2018 Project Summaries (PDF, 135 KB)
- FY 2017 Project Summaries (PDF, 131 KB)
- FY 2016 Project Summaries (PDF, 115 KB)
- FY 2015 Project Summaries (PDF, 134 KB)
- FY 2014 Project Summaries (PDF, 134 KB)
What resources are available to help identify issues and develop resilience strategies?
CZM encourages applicants to review the following information when developing a proposal for this grant program:
- Coastal Resilience Grant Program Webinar - This webinar recording reviews the goals and requirements of the grant program, eligibility, evaluation criteria, and highlights a variety of successful projects that CZM has supported.
- CZM Grant Viewer - This interactive map provides information on Coastal Resilience Grant projects. Pop-up boxes provide details on each grant award and information can be sorted by grant program, category (such as construction type, design & permitting, habitat restoration, and more), and year that mapped data are available.
- EEA Climate Grant Viewer - This viewer shows MVP Planning and Action grants as well as other grant programs offered through EEA that work to build local resilience. To find climate vulnerability assessments, select the MVP Grant Program section of the viewer, choose the Planning Grants tab, and then click on a community to open a pop-up box with a link to “More info.”
- MassGIS Environmental Justice Viewer - This interactive map identifies Environmental Justice populations (i.e., low income, minority, and English isolation) throughout Massachusetts.
- CZM Coast Guide Online - This online map includes public access sites that are owned by government agencies and non-profit organizations along the coast.
- Massachusetts Climate Change Clearinghouse - This website provides access to climate change adaptation resources and a map viewer, which includes sea level rise projections and Massachusetts Coast Flood Risk Model (MC-FRM) layers. Applicants should review sea level rise projections and MC-FRM layers and specify which scenarios are being utilized.
- 2023 ResilientMass Plan - This 2023 plan is an innovative State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan and identifies strategies and specific, measurable actions state agencies can take to address risks to the human health and safety, communities, critical assets and infrastructure, natural resources, governance, and economy of the Commonwealth. This plan aims to ensure the Commonwealth is prepared to withstand, rapidly recover from, adapt to, and mitigate natural hazard events. The 2023 ResilientMass plan is the 5 year update to the 2018 State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan (SHMCAP) and integrates data, information, and findings of the 2022 Massachusetts Climate Change Assessment.
- Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report - This 2011 report provides a broad overview of climate change impacts and includes a coastal chapter with a range of potential strategies to address sea level rise and coastal storms.
- Massachusetts Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Viewer - This interactive viewer displays community facilities and infrastructure along the Massachusetts coast that are vulnerable to coastal flooding from sea level rise and storm surge.
- StormSmart Properties fact sheets - These fact sheets provide information on a range of measures that can effectively reduce erosion and storm damage while minimizing impacts to shoreline systems. The techniques currently covered are:
- Artificial dunes and dune nourishment
- Controlling overland runoff to reduce coastal erosion
- Planting vegetation to reduce erosion and storm damage
- Bioengineering - coir rolls on coastal banks
- Bioengineering - natural fiber blankets on coastal banks
- Sand fencing
- Repair and reconstruction of seawalls and revetments
- StormSmart Coasts - This website includes additional information on assessing the vulnerability of coastal properties to erosion and flooding, tools for local officials to improve coastal floodplain management, options for coastal property owners to effectively reduce erosion and storm damage while minimizing impacts to shoreline systems, information on landscaping options for controlling erosion and storm damage, interactive maps of erosion along the Massachusetts coast, and more.
What is the proposal deadline (and other important dates)?
The FY24 Coastal Resilience Grant application period is now closed. This grant program is an annual funding opportunity and is typically announced every spring. Once the RFR is posted on the COMMBUYS website, applicants usually have six weeks to prepare and submit applications. Projects awarded funding must be completed by the end of the fiscal year (June 30), or the following fiscal year, depending on the proposal and EEA's funding decisions.
What is the level of funding?
In FY24, applicants could request up to $2,000,000 in funding per project. Applicants are encouraged to provide at least 25% of the total project cost, but match is not required. Match may be cash or in-kind contributions or a combination of the two provided by the applicant and direct project partners.
What do proposals typically include?
Specific proposal requirements will be provided in the RF. Previous RFRs have included the following proposal requirements:
- A brief description of community’s current vulnerability and approach to management of erosion and flooding hazards including any climate adaptation efforts.
- A description of the issue(s) or problem(s) and the need for assistance.
- A detailed description of the proposed project that identifies the project type, as well as the selected sea level rise scenario(s), if applicable, and how the project will benefit the public and public interests.
- A description of the transferability of the proposed project (i.e., how the project approach, techniques, and products can be used by other coastal communities facing similar issues).
- A detailed timeline with anticipated completion dates for the project.
- A detailed budget and explanation of how the funding and technical assistance provided by CZM and other project partners will ensure success of the project. Applicants are encouraged to match at least 25% of the total project cost with in-kind services and/or cash, but it is not required.
- The name of a qualified individual who will serve as the local project manager and point of contact, along with resumes for the local project manager and other staff who will work on the project.
- Support letters from all relevant local boards, departments, commissions, and other partners that include their commitment to participate in the project as necessary.
For more information or general programmatic questions, please contact the grant program staff. CZM can also provide feedback on potential projects prior to the release of the next RFR. Please contact the grant program staff and the CZM Regional Coordinator for your community for project technical assistance (email is the preferred contact method):
Grant Program Staff:
Coastal Resiliency Specialist
Phone: (617) 626-1186
Coastal Resilience Grant Specialist
Phone: (617) 626-1537
CZM Regional Coordinators:
North Shore Regional Coordinator
Phone: (978) 281-3972
Boston Harbor Regional Coordinator
Phone: (617) 626-1234
South Shore Regional Coordinator
Phone: (781) 546-6012
Cape Cod & Islands Regional Coordinator
Phone: (508) 375-6856
South Coastal Regional Coordinator
Phone: (774) 377-6001