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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 community understanding of coastal storm and climate impacts, evaluate 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.

NEW: The Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Coastal Resilience Grant Request for Responses (RFR) is now available. Please see COMMBUYS to download the RFR and other application materials. Electronic application submissions are due by 4:00 p.m. on July 11.

NEW: The Question and Answer period for the Coastal Resilience Grants is open until 4:00 p.m. on June 13. Please submit questions to patricia.bowie@mass.gov. Answers to all questions will be posted on the COMMBUYS website after June 13.

NEW: Coastal Resilience Pre-RFR Webinar - On March 16, CZM hosted an informational webinar on the Coastal Resilience Grant Program to review the goals and requirements of the grants, eligibility, evaluation criteria, and highlight a variety of successful projects that CZM supported in previous grant rounds. A link to the recording of the webinar and the PowerPoint presentation are available below:

FY2023 Grants Awarded - On September 19, EEA and CZM announced Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Coastal Resilience Grant awards. The funding was awarded to Barnstable, Boston, Brewster, Chatham, Chilmark, Cohasset, Duxbury Beach Reservation, Gosnold, House of Seven Gables Settlement Association, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marblehead, Marshfield, Mass Audubon, Mattapoisett, Nahant, New Bedford, Orleans, Plymouth, Provincetown, Salem, Scituate, Wareham, Wellfleet and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Additional municipal partners on these projects include Braintree, Chilmark, Dennis, Duxbury, Eastham, Falmouth, Truro and Winthrop. Please see the EEA Press Release for more information.

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 hat own vulnerable coastal property that is open and accessible to the public, and federally recognized and state acknowledged Massachusetts Tribes.

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 (e.g. sea level rise and precipitation). Vulnerability assessments should build on Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program and other assessments and set the stage for implementation of actions.
  2. Public Outreach - Projects that increase community understanding of coastal storm and climate impacts and build effective partnerships to develop support for implementation of proactive climate adaptation actions. Outreach projects that promote engagement in local adaptation efforts are most competitive. Creative outreach and communication products that are accessible to all residents 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 facilitate retreat of vulnerable development and infrastructure and reduce future development in hazardous areas are highly encouraged. Projects that result in formal local adoption are most competitive.
  4. Redesigns and Retrofits - Engineering and construction projects that upgrade or adapt vulnerable public facilities and infrastructure (e.g., seawalls, port and harbor infrastructure, 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 current erosion and flooding impacts of public facilities and infrastructure and be able to adapt as sea level rises (e.g., build up or shift landward).

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 FY24 Coastal Resilience Grant application period is now open. The Request for Responses is available on COMMBUYS. Applications are due by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 11. Questions on the RFR must be submitted in writing to patricia.bowie@mass.gov by 4:00 p.m. on June 13. Projects awarded funding must be completed by June 30, 2024, or June 30, 2025, if selected for an extended contract.

What is the level of funding?

In FY24, applicants may request up to $2,000,000 in funding per project. Applicants are encouraged to provide at least 25% of the total project cost, but match is not required. Match may be cash or in-kind contributions or a combination of the two provided by the applicant and direct project partners.

What do proposals typically include?

Specific proposal requirements are provided in the RFR, which is available on COMMBUYS. 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 encouraged to match at least 25% of the total project cost with in-kind services and/or cash, but it is not required.
  • 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

Please contact the following CZM staff and Regional Coordinators with any general questions (please note that email is the better contact option):

Patricia Bowie
Coastal Resiliency Specialist
Phone: (617) 626-1186

Kathryn Glenn
North Shore Regional Coordinator
Phone: (978) 281-3972

Joanna Yelen
Boston Harbor Regional Coordinator

Jason Burtner
South Shore Regional Coordinator
Phone: (781) 546-6012

Stephen McKenna
Cape Cod & Islands Regional Coordinator
Phone: (508) 375-6856

Sam Haines
South Coastal Regional Coordinator
Phone: (774) 377-6001

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