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 efforts to increase awareness and understanding of climate impacts, identify and map vulnerabilities, conduct adaptation planning, redesign vulnerable public facilities and infrastructure, and implement non-structural (or green infrastructure) approaches that 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.


Pre-RFR Information Sessions to Be Held for Coastal Resilience Grants - CZM anticipates the release of the Fiscal Year 2020 Requests for Responses (RFRs) for the Coastal Resilience Grant Program, as well as the Coastal Pollutant Remediation (CPR) Grant Program, this spring. In advance of the RFR releases, CZM will host four information sessions to discuss the goals and requirements of the two grant programs, answer questions, and provide feedback on potential project ideas:

  • March 19, 8:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m., Salem State University, Petrowski Room, Marsh Hall, 71 B Loring Avenue, Salem. This information session is part of an Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and CZM Grants Workshop.
  • March 21, 10:00 a.m.-noon, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs - Conference Room A, 100 Cambridge Street, Boston. Please bring a picture id and allow time to pass through security.
  • March 22, 10:00 a.m.-noon, Harbor View Conference Room, Barnstable County Complex, 3195 Main Street, Route 6A, Barnstable.
  • April 3, 10:00 a.m.-noon, Wareham Public Library - Meeting Room, 59 Marion Road, Wareham.

Most Recent Coastal Community Resilience Grant Awards - On August 1, 2018, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) announced more than $3.2 million in funding through CZM’s Coastal Resilience Grant Program to advance local efforts to reduce risks associated with coastal storms, flooding, erosion, and sea level rise. Grants were awarded to Dennis, Duxbury Beach Reservation, Inc., Eastham, Essex, Falmouth, Gloucester, Kingston, Marshfield, Mattapoisett, New Bedford, Northeastern University, Salem, Scituate, Wareham, Weymouth, and Winthrop. See the EEA Press Release.

CZM Grant Viewer - This interactive map provides information on the Coastal Resilience Grants, as well as these grants awarded by CZM, the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program (BBNEP), and the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program (MassBays): CZM’s Coastal Pollutant Remediation (CPR) Grants, BBNEP grants and funding, and the MassBays 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.

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 with vulnerable coastal property that is open and accessible to the public are also eligible for funding for natural storm-damage protection (or green infrastructure) projects (project category #5 below).

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

  1. Vulnerability and Risk Assessment - Projects that map and evaluate vulnerable community facilities and infrastructure using best available techniques and climate projections. Proposals to model flooding and erosion from future coastal storms, taking into account sea level rise, waves, and natural systems, and evaluate the socioeconomic impacts of coastal storms are strongly encouraged. Communities interested in assessing other extreme weather, natural, and climate-related hazards, are encouraged to apply to the Commonwealth’s new Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program.
  2. Public Education and Communication - Projects that increase public understanding of climate impacts and develop support for management measures and other actions to address coastal impacts. Creative communication products that provide ongoing benefits and can be adopted by other communities are strongly encouraged.
  3. Local Bylaws, Adaptation Plans, and Other Management Measures - Projects to develop, amend, and implement community-based resilience plans, local ordinances, bylaws, standards, and other management measures to reduce 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 existing community facilities and infrastructure (e.g., coastal structures, wastewater treatment plants, pump stations, and critical roadways/evacuation routes)  to function properly given higher tides, greater storm surges, and more intense precipitation. Projects that evaluate and implement removal or relocation of facilities and infrastructure outside of hazardous areas, where feasible, are strongly encouraged.
  5. Natural Storm-Damage Protection Techniques - Coastal green infrastructure projects that evaluate, design, permit, implement, and monitor non-structural approaches to enhance or create natural 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 strongly 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 FY19 Coastal Resilience Grant application period is now closed. Applications were due on May 25 and awards were announced on August 1. Projects awarded funding for FY19 must be completed by June 30, 2019.

What is the level of funding?

Available grant funds and project limits will be provided when a Request for Responses (RFR) is released. In FY19, CZM awarded over $3.2 million in grants with applicants able to request up to $500,000 in funding. 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 are included in the RFR once it is available. Proposal requirements typically include the following:

  • 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. If applicable, the proposal should also explain which sea level rise scenario from Sea Level Rise: Understanding and Applying Trends and Future Scenarios for Analysis and Planning (PDF, 3 MB) will be used for the project.
  • 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 can help potential applicants develop project ideas up until the RFR for the grant year is released. After the RFR is released, questions can be submitted to CZM in writing until the close of the question and answer period (which will be approximately three weeks).

Please contact the following CZM staff and Regional Coordinators with any questions:

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

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

Erikk Hokenson
Boston Harbor Regional Coordinator
Phone: (617) 626-1234

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

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

David Janik
South Coastal Regional Coordinator
Phone: (508) 291-3625 x12