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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

    2019 Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan

    Revised Plan Submitted

    With input from regional partners and our Management Committee, MassBays submitted a 10-year Comprehensive Plan for the Bays to EPA for review in January 2019. We're currently responding to comments from the agency. Take a look at our 2019 Draft Revised CCMP and Draft Appendices 2019; we're also sharing a powerpoint presentation summarizing EPA comments and our responses.

    The full CCMP comes down to this Table of MassBays Strategies, Actions, and Activities 2019-2029: it lists planned Actions and Activities under each Strategy, along with the expected measures and outputs, and potential partners for carrying out this work.

    MassBays has also worked with local stakeholders and our own Management Committee to generate a list of short-term priorities as we work under an Interim CCMP. We seek partners for initiatives that generate new data, analyze existing data, and help to spread the word about the importance of coastal ecosystems.


    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 submitted a draft revised CCMP to EPA’s National Estuary Program in January 2019 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. Staff brought these 2018 CCMP Goals and Actions to regional partners and stakeholders for input through June 2018. 

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    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.

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