A Blueprint for the Bays

MassBays Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan guides the implementation of MassBays' mission.

All National Estuary Programs (NEPs) are required under Clean Water Act §320 to produce a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) with community input and in partnership with decisionmakers. According to the law, a CCMP:

recommends priority corrective actions and compliance schedules addressing point and nonpoint sources of pollution to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the estuary, including restoration and maintenance of water quality, a balanced indigenous population of shellfish, fish, and wildlife, and recreational activities in the estuary, and assure that the designated uses of the estuary are protected

    2018 Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan

    Public Review Underway

    MassBays is seeking your input on our 10-year Comprehensive Plan for the Bays. Please take a look at the goals and actions we’ll be taking up over the next 10 years to improve habitat and water quality along the 1100 miles of coastline that form MassBays’ planning area. Then let us know:

    • Does MassBays’ plan reflect your own priorities?
    • How do MassBays’ planned actions align with your own organization’s or agency’s plans?
    • How can MassBays help you expand habitat and improve water quality in your area?

    Can’t get enough talk about the Bays? Join us at one of the meetings below to hear more about the plan and provide your input in person:

    November 8, 2018
    Boston Harbor Ecosystem Network Meeting
    New England Aquarium’s Harborside Learning Lab
    Boston MA

    Network meeting begins at 1pm; discussion of MassBays’ plan will begin at 3pm.

    Click here to register

    Other regional meetings to be announced as they are scheduled.

    A Brief Background

    Beginning in 2014, MassBays initiated a CCMP revision process to:

    • Implement our mission of  protecting, restoring, and enhancing the estuarine ecosystems of Ipswich Bay, Massachusetts Bay, and Cape Cod Bay.
    • Identify realistic ecological and programmatic goals, and means for measuring progress toward those goals.
    • List strategic actions and activities to be undertaken over the next 8 to 10 years.
    • Set out frameworks for MassBays-wide monitoring, effective outreach to multiple audiences, and financial sustainability.
    • Define MassBays’ contribution to regional (Gulf of Maine/New England/Northeast) monitoring efforts.

    MassBays will submit a final revised CCMP to EPA’s National Estuary Program by the end of 2018 that reflects community input from across the planning area and priorities set by the Management Committee. The revision process included: 

    In 2016, EPA published new guidelines for developing CCMPs and MassBays moved to respond to changes in the required scope. In March 2017 the Management Committee approved an updated suite of goals and strategies.

    Additional Resources for 2018 Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan

    1996: The first CCMP

    MassBays’ first CCMP was published in 1996. At that time, a primary concern was upgrading wastewater treatment and reducing combined sewer overflows. Since that time, and with successful improvement of water quality, other significant issues have emerged – climate change impacts (increased stormwater volumes, sea level rise, changes in biodiversity due to increased temperature), and shifts in population and land development – which will be addressed in the 2018 CCMP.

    2003: The update

    In 2000, MassBays produced a progress report for the 1996 CCMP, identifying many completed projects. Subsequently, and building upon the original CCMP, MassBays developed a companion piece that could be reviewed alongside the original plan. The 2003 addendum document identified new action items and two new action plans.

    Additional Resources for 2003: The update

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