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Coastal Resilience Grant Program

Find information on these Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) grants to advance local efforts to address coastal flooding, erosion, and sea level rise.

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 awareness and understanding of climate impacts, identify and map 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.

CONTACTING CZM DURING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK: All CZM offices are currently closed for in-person services. Please see COVID-19: Status of Executive Branch Office Locations for updates on this closure. During this time, CZM staff are working remotely and are available to assist with coastal management issues. Please note that email is the better contact option at this time.

NEW: The Fiscal Year 2021 Request for Responses (RFR) is now closed. Applications were due on June 11 and awards are expected to be announced this summer.

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 are also eligible for funding for shoreline restoration projects as well as public education and communication efforts and proactive planning (project categories #2, 3, and 5 below).

Eligible projects must fall under one (or more) of the following five categories:

  1. Detailed Vulnerability and Risk Assessment - Projects that evaluate vulnerable public facilities and infrastructure using best available techniques, data, and climate projections. Proposals to model flooding and erosion impacts from future coastal storms, taking into account sea level rise, waves, and natural systems, and evaluate the socioeconomic impacts are encouraged. Communities interested in assessing other extreme weather, natural, and climate-related hazards, are encouraged to apply to the Commonwealth’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program.
  2. Public Education and Communication - Projects that increase public understanding of climate impacts and develop support for implementation of proactive climate adaptation actions. Creative communication products that provide ongoing benefits and can be adopted by other communities and non-profit organizations are encouraged.
  3. 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 result in formal local adoption are strongly encouraged.
  4. Redesigns and Retrofits - Engineering and construction projects that produce designs and plans, and retrofit vulnerable municipally-owned facilities and infrastructure (e.g., seawalls, 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.
  5. 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 documented erosion and flooding issues that impact community facilities and infrastructure.

What projects have been funded?

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:

What is the proposal deadline (and other important dates)?

The FY21 Coastal Resilience Grant application period is now closed. Applications were due to CZM on June 11. Awards are anticipated to be announced this summer. Projects awarded funding for FY21 must be completed by June 30, 2021—or through a pilot opportunity this year, projects may be selected for an extended contract end date up to June 30, 2022 (FY22), depending on the proposal and EEA’s funding decisions.

What is the level of funding?

In FY21, CZM expects to award up to $3 million in total funding for projects. Applicants are able to request up to $1 million in funding per project. Applicants are required to provide at least 25% of the total project cost. The 25% local match could be cash or in-kind contributions or a combination of the two.

What do proposals typically include?

Specific proposal requirements will be provided once an RFR is available. 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 other support provided by CZM or other project partners will ensure success of the project. Applicants are required to match at least 25% of the total project cost with in-kind services and/or cash not committed for other project funding.
  • 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.

Contact Information

CZM staff is able to provide feedback on project ideas until the next RFR is posted. Please contact the following CZM staff and Regional Coordinators with any questions (please note that email is the better contact option):

Patricia Bowie
Coastal Resiliency Specialist
patricia.bowie@mass.gov
Phone: (617) 626-1186

Kathryn Glenn
North Shore Regional Coordinator
kathryn.glenn@mass.gov
Phone: (978) 281-3972

Erikk Hokenson
Boston Harbor Regional Coordinator
erikk.hokenson@mass.gov
Phone: (617) 626-1234

Jason Burtner
South Shore Regional Coordinator
jason.burtner@mass.gov
Phone: (781) 546-6012

Stephen McKenna
Cape Cod & Islands Regional Coordinator
stephen.mckenna@mass.gov
Phone: (508) 375-6856

David Janik
South Coastal Regional Coordinator
david.janik@mass.gov
Phone: (774) 377-6001

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