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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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 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:
- CZM Grant Viewer - This interactive map provides information on the Coastal Resilience grants, as well as these grants: CZM’s Coastal Pollutant Remediation (CPR) Grants, Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program grants, and the MassBays National Estuary Program's Healthy Estuaries Grants. Pop-up boxes provide details on each grant award and information can be sorted by grant program, category (including Construction - Living Shoreline or Stormwater Infrastructure, Design & Permitting, Habitat Restoration, and Vulnerability Assessment), and year that mapped data are available.
- Massachusetts Climate Change Clearinghouse - This website provides access to climate change data, maps, websites, tools, and documents relevant to climate change adaptation across Massachusetts.
- Massachusetts Integrated State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan - This 2018 plan comprehensively integrates climate change impacts and adaptation strategies with hazard mitigation planning by assessing risk and vulnerability within state agencies, communities, and across the Commonwealth.
- 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 2017 interactive viewer displays community facilities and infrastructure along the Massachusetts coast that are vulnerable to coastal flooding from sea level rise and storm surge. Applicants are encouraged to utilize the viewer and technical report to support the assessment of potential future vulnerability of a particular area and development of proposed projects.
- Sea Level Rise: Understanding and Applying Trends and Future Scenarios for Analysis and Planning (PDF, 3 MB) - This 2013 document provides background information on local and global sea level rise trends, summarizes sea level rise projections, and provides general guidance on the selection and application of sea level rise scenarios for coastal vulnerability assessments, planning, and decision making for areas that may be at present or future risk from the effects of sea level rise. Applicants should specify which scenario(s) they are using in their proposed projects.
- 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 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. Applicants are encouraged to review the website and familiarize themselves with tools, resources, pilot projects, and other support and guidance available to communities.
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.
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):
Coastal Resiliency Specialist
Phone: (617) 626-1186
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