An estuary is a partially enclosed body of water, and its surrounding coastal habitats, where saltwater from the ocean mixes with fresh water from rivers or streams. Estuaries are vital to both ecological health and the economy, as they provide habitat for many kinds of marine life and commercially important species such as oysters. They also serve as recreational areas and transportation centers.
In addition to the reports prepared for the Massachusetts Estuaries Project, MassDEP and external groups prepared a number of associated reports.
Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Harwich Embayment Systems
Results of a project designed to assist the Town of Harwich in efforts to manage nitrogen loads as part of its environmental management strategy. May 2010.
Massachusetts Estuaries Project Interim Report on Site-Specific Nitrogen Thresholds for Southeastern Massachusetts Embayments: Critical Indicators
Report on key water-quality indicators for nitrogen loading in the state's southeastern estuaries.
Nitrogen Modeling to Support Watershed Management: Comparison of Approaches and Sensitivity Analysis
This report is aimed at ensuring that the proper assessment, modeling, and management approaches are applied to address the health of estuarine ecosystems.
Monitoring marine benthic habitat: Guidance and Quality Assurance Project Plan
To ensure quality marine benthic habitat data collection for baseline or post-TMDL implementation monitoring, MassDEP developed guidance, a Quality Assurance Project Plan, and standard operating procedures for the field and the laboratory. These documents are appropriate for use along the entire Massachusetts coastline.
- Marine Benthic Macrofaunal Monitoring Guidance
- Marine Benthic Monitoring Quality Assurance Project Plan
- Marine Benthic Monitoring Field Standard Operating Procedures
- Marine Benthic Monitoring Laboratory Standard Operating Procedures
- Pilot Program in West Falmouth Harbor Using Marine Benthic Guidance and QAPP
- Pilot Program in Pleasant Bay Using Marine Benthic Guidance and QAPP
Embayment Restoration and Guidance for Implementation Strategies
Pathways to achieving healthy estuaries and recommendations for attaining them, with a focus on nitrogen reduction.
Embayment Restoration and Guidance for Implementation Strategies Appendices
Technical and reference materials and case studies for the Embayment Restoration Guidance.
Other organizations involved in estuary protection and research
US Environmental Protection Agency