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Welcome to the year-in-review edition of CZ-Mail, which highlights many of the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) accomplishments in 2009, provides news and information about our programs and regions, and discusses the notable achievements of our partners. CZM would like to thank all of the people and organizations that contribute their time, effort, and passion to working on issues important to the Massachusetts coast. It has been a pleasure to work with you over the past year, and we look forward to a positive and productive 2010.
The next regular edition of CZ-Mail will be in February. Additional information about CZM's programs, publications, and other coastal topics can be found on the CZM website, and daily CZM updates are posted on Twitter. To subscribe to CZ-Mail, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free to share CZ-Mail with colleagues and friends—and if you have any suggestions for future editions, would like your name added to the mailing list, or would like your name removed, please email your request to CZ-Mail@state.ma.us.
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Ocean planning was CZM's focus in 2009. Much time was spent developing, revising, and finalizing a first-in-the-nation comprehensive ocean plan, which will manage development in the Commonwealth's coastal waters. This effort was led by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and CZM and culminated with the promulgation of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan on December 31. Also in 2009, the StormSmart Coasts program, CZM's initiative to protect people and property in coastal floodplains from erosion, flooding, and storm damage, began its implementation phase with five pilot projects underway. In addition, coastal managers from across the globe gathered in Boston for CZ09, the bi-annual, international conference on coastal management. These and other CZM highlights for 2009 are provided below.
The Oceans Act was enacted on May 28, 2008—requiring the EEA Secretary to develop a comprehensive ocean management plan, with a draft plan by June 30, 2009, and a final plan promulgated by December 31, 2009. After a year and a half of intensive policy development, scientific analysis, mapping, public participation, and writing, revision, and comment incorporation, the final Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan has been completed. The plan translates the policy direction and specific requirements of the Oceans Act into a comprehensive management approach that can be implemented through existing state programs and regulations. The plan also includes prioritized science and research tasks necessary to advance ocean management in Massachusetts. For a copy of Volume 1 and 2 of the plan, see the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan website. See the Ocean Management section below for additional details.
Throughout 2009, EEA and CZM were called upon to provide input into national ocean policy efforts. In March, the EEA Secretary testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee on Energy Development on the Outer Continental Shelf and the Future of Our Oceans. The Secretary highlighted the value of coastal and ocean areas for energy development and provided an overview of the work being done in Massachusetts to develop an integrated ocean management plan. See the Secretary's full testimony (PDF, 156 KB). In June, Assistant EEA Secretary for Oceans and Coastal Zone Management/CZM Director Deerin Babb-Brott provided testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in a subcommittee hearing on The Blue Economy: The Role of the Oceans in Our Nation's Economic Future. Director Babb-Brott used the Massachusetts ocean planning process as a timely, real-world example for the need for more proactive planning and management of estuarine and marine resources. See Director Babb-Brott's full testimony (PDF, 185 KB). Also in June, President Obama issued a memorandum calling for a new national policy for oceans, coasts, and the Great Lakes. An Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force was created and charged with developing recommendations, a framework for policy coordination, an implementation strategy that identifies and prioritizes the objectives of the national policy, and a recommended framework for coastal and marine spatial planning. In its efforts to develop the interim report, the Task Force—led by the Council on Environmental Quality—sought the input of federal, state, tribal, and regional representatives, scientists, legal and policy experts, and the public. In September, CZM Director Babb-Brott provided testimony as part of an expert panel during the Ocean Policy Task Force Public Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island. Also in September, CZM Assistant Director, Bruce Carlisle, and Ocean Services Manager, John Weber, provided presentations to the Task Force, offering insight and perspectives from the Commonwealth's experience in developing the draft ocean management plan. The Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force released its interim report on National ocean policy in September and its interim marine spatial planning framework in December. For details, including a comment opportunity, see the Ocean Management program section below.
In 2009, through the StormSmart Coasts Program, CZM advanced efforts to improve management of coastal shorelines and floodplains with several new initiatives, including five innovative pilot community projects, unique tools for visualizing inundation scenarios, "hands-on" mapping workshops, and a new network of local officials. In its first two years of assisting local officials in addressing the expected impacts of erosion, storms, floods, sea level rise, and climate change, StormSmart Coasts served as a model for other states and regions as well as a national initiative. This past year, CZM worked directly with coastal cities and towns to implement StormSmart Coasts tools, working hand-in-hand with the communities and partners to tailor projects specifically to their needs. Through cooperative efforts, collaborative problem solving, and sharing results, the products of these pilot projects are evident. The communities of Boston, Hull, Falmouth, Oak Bluffs, and the regional team of Kingston, Duxbury, and Plymouth are working on new approaches (such as a freeboard incentive program to encourage the elevation of building heights above existing levels) to reduce storm impacts to public safety and economic, recreation, and natural resources. For details, see the Shoreline and Floodplain Management program section below.
Formed under the Global Warming Solutions Act, the Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee (CCAAC) is charged by the state Legislature with evaluating strategies for adapting to the predicted effects of climate change. These effects include increased sea levels, warming temperatures, and increased incidences of floods and droughts. The CCAC is made up of experts from business, academia, and nonprofit organizations. Work in six subcommittees formed the basis for the report: Local Economy, Natural Resources and Habitat, Human Health and Welfare, Key Infrastructure, Land Use, and Coastal Zone and Ocean. CZM led the Coastal Zone and Ocean Subcommittee, chaired by Assistant Director Bruce Carlisle, and served on each of the other subcommittees. The final report will contain a summary of predicted changes to key parameters, general assessments of vulnerabilities, and recommendations for strategies to alleviate current and future impacts of a changing climate.
In March, the BSC Group and project partners, CZM and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), were presented with the 2009 American Council of Engineering Companies Gold Award for outstanding professional design excellence for the Massachusetts Chapter 91/Historical Shoreline Mapping Project. The goal of this four-year project was to develop a GIS-based mapping product grounded in the best available historical plans and shoreline information that would facilitate accurate depictions of historical tidal boundaries as defined by the Chapter 91 Waterways Regulations (310 CMR 9.00). The completed project provides MassDEP's Waterways Program, which is authorized by the Legislature to regulate activities on public trust lands and waters, with presumptive jurisdictional line as well as a comprehensive and searchable digital database of over 2,500 historical plans and maps produced as early as the late 17th century. These plans and maps can be used by MassDEP and the public to determine if Chapter 91 jurisdiction applies to a particular property. In addition to providing greater predictability, efficiency, and consistency in the determination of tidelands jurisdiction for landowners participating in a Chapter 91 licensing process, the cartographic database and digital scans will provide a valuable source of historical information for scientists, historians, archeologists, engineers, and other professionals working along the coasts.
As a complement to the work by CZM and Massachusetts communities to designate No Discharge Areas (NDA) that prohibit any discharge of boat waste, legislation was enacted in January that gives the director of the Massachusetts Environmental Police, and all that serve under him, the ability to issue an administrative penalty of up to $2,000 per infraction for violations of NDA regulations. This enforcement authority applies to environmental police officers, harbormasters, fish and game wardens, and police officers assigned to patrol the waters of the Commonwealth. Specifically, the law states that no person shall discharge any sewage, whether treated or not, from a marine sanitation device into any waters of the Commonwealth designated by the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs as an NDA. Roughly 70 percent of the Commonwealth's waters have been designated as no discharge. For more information, see the complete text of the new law.
In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the state's proposal to designate the coastal waters of Revere, Saugus, Lynn, Nahant, and Swampscott as a No Discharge Area. This ban on discharge of all boat sewage would also apply to the state waters of the Saugus and Pines Rivers. In November, at the annual meeting of the Saugus River Watershed Council, CZM was honored to receive the Council's River Steward award, in recognition of CZM's role in facilitating the Lower North Shore NDA designation. For more on NDA activities along the coast, see CZM's NDA website.
In June, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that the Great Neck Conservation Partnership Project in Wareham will receive almost $2 million in Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) funding. Working closely with CZM and other project partners—including Mass Audubon, the Wareham Land Trust, the town of Wareham, and the Coalition for Buzzards Bay—the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) formally submitted the project's grant application requesting $1,986,750. These funds will help purchase a conservation restriction on approximately 95 acres of land owned by the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts—building on existing and leveraging additional protection of much of the approximately 170+ acres surrounding the property. Almost all of the project area is designated by the Commonwealth's Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program as Priority Habitat for Rare Species and BioMap-Supporting Natural Landscape. The 260 acres protected through this project feature 1.37 miles of shoreline habitat, 19 acres of salt marsh, more than two acres of beach, tens of acres of freshwater wetland habitat, and many acres of developable upland forest. The CELCP funds secure a rare opportunity to permanently protect these coastal lands with their public access opportunities and valuable ecological resources from the development that is rapidly consuming remaining coastal areas in this region. The Great Neck Conservation Partnership Project continues the high standards set by previous CELCP projects funded by NOAA in Massachusetts.
In September, construction began on the Straits Pond wetland restoration project to reconstruct and enlarge a deteriorating culvert under Route 228 at the borders of Hull, Cohasset, and Hingham (at the spot known locally as West Corner). This project, the largest tidal restoration project to date in Massachusetts, will restore 94 acres of tidal pond habitat and improve tidal flow to a critically impaired estuary, which is part of the Weir River Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). In addition to repairing this deficient transportation infrastructure, the project will also eliminate seasonal infestations of midges, which can inhabit such degraded systems. Project partners include the Department of Fish and Game's Division of Ecological Restoration, CZM, DCR's ACEC Program, the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program, the Massachusetts Highway Department, NOAA, the Conservation Law Foundation/Restore America's Estuaries program, the towns of Hull, Cohasset, and Hingham, and the Straits Pond and Weir River Watershed Associations. Project construction will take about one year.
In July, Coastal Zone 2009 (CZ09), the bi-annual, international conference on coastal management, was held in Boston. The EEA Secretary welcomed conference participants at the opening plenary, which featured NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco; Laura Davis, Associate Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Interior; and Suzanne Schwartz, Acting Director of EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds. CZM Director Deerin Babb-Brott moderated the local plenary, which included a panel on the draft Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan—with state Senator Robert O'Leary (Cape and Islands); Jack Wiggin, Director of the Urban Harbor Institute; Rich Delaney, Director of the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies and chair of the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership governing board; and Paul Diodati, Director of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. CZM had a strong presence at this five-day event, making presentations, moderating sessions, leading field trips, and networking with peers from around the globe. CZM staff gave talks and facilitated sessions on the following wide-ranging topics: the draft ocean management plan, smart growth and CZM's StormSmart Coasts program, remote sensing, climate change adaptation, working waterfronts, education and outreach, harbor planning, no discharge areas, marine spatial data, regional sediment management, and water quality.
In October, CZM hosted senior executives from the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) and provincial meteorological agencies to discuss climate change risks, management, and the StormSmart Coasts Program. CZM and partners from the U.S. Geological Survey, National Weather Service, University of Massachusetts Boston, and other state agencies presented overviews of risk analysis, planning, and emergency management in the Commonwealth. The meeting was requested by CMA as part of a three-week visit with government agencies and meteorological associations across the country.
CZM's mission is to balance the impact of human activities with the protection of coastal and marine resources through planning, public involvement, education, research, and sound resource management. To achieve these goals, as well as to meet the needs of municipal officials, property owners, educators, and others in the coastal community, CZM maintains a range of programs. The 2009 accomplishments for each of these program areas are listed below.
Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan - Work on the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan continued throughout 2009—with the Oceans Act of 2008 requiring the completion of a draft plan by June 30 and the promulgation of a final plan by December 31. In January, the Science Advisory Council (SAC) reviewed the first draft of the baseline assessment and the agency work group reports. This review set the stage for the SAC to assist EEA in developing the science framework, a key component of the ocean management plan that will provide a strategy for addressing scientific questions and data needs to help inform ocean management in the years to come. The Ocean Advisory Commission (OAC) also met in January to provide input on the conceptual framework and associated goals and objectives for the ocean management plan. EEA held two public meetings in February to enable stakeholders to review technical materials (data included in the work group reports). These meetings were well attended and met EEA's goal to provide an opportunity for the public to comment on the data—a foundation of the plan. Also, much effort was spent in February on two other main tasks: 1) exploring a methodology to identify "special, sensitive, or unique marine and estuarine life and habitats," as required in the Oceans Act; and 2) refining the goals and outcomes for the ocean management plan. In March, the OAC met and discussed the plan goals, strategies to achieve those goals, and proposed outcomes. The SAC also met in March to review the plan goals, strategies, and outcomes, as well as to discuss the approach for the science framework. Efforts continued in March to identify "special, sensitive, or unique marine and estuarine life and habitats." In April, the SAC continued its discussion of an approach to evaluating the ecological importance of ocean waters. In May, EEA hosted two OAC public workshops to present preliminary spatial analysis results and conceptual management measures for implementing the ocean management plan. The OAC and the SAC also met in May to further refine management measures and the science framework. On June 30, the draft Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan was released for public review and comment. In September, five public hearings were held in Boston, New Bedford, Barnstable, Gloucester, and Tisbury to encourage public comments on the draft plan. Approximately 300 people attended these hearings and provided comments for the record. In addition, the OAC and the SAC met in September to discuss the draft plan. Through the fall, EEA and the agencies reviewed comments received and worked on appropriate changes to the draft plan. In October and November, EEA presented the draft plan at various public forums coast-wide to facilitate public review in advance of the November 23 public comment deadline. EEA and its agencies reviewed the more than 200 comments received and developed appropriate changes to the draft plan. The final Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan was released on December 31. See the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan website for links to the two-volume final plan and all maps and figures.
National Ocean Policy Task Force Interim Report - In June, President Obama issued a memorandum calling for a new national policy for oceans, coasts, and the Great Lakes. An Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force was created and was charged with developing recommendations within 90 days, including a framework for policy coordination and an implementation strategy that identifies and prioritizes the objectives of the national policy. The Task Force was also charged with developing a recommended framework for coastal and marine spatial planning within 180 days. In its efforts to develop the interim report, the Task Force—led by the Council on Environmental Quality—sought the input of federal, state, tribal, and regional representatives, scientists, legal and policy experts, and the public. On December 14, the Task Force issued the Interim Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning Framework in response to the President's memorandum. The framework is intended to offer a comprehensive approach to managing ocean and coastal resources and sets out a process for developing regional ocean management plans nationwide.
Gulf of Maine Council - This year, the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment celebrated its 20th anniversary. The Council is preparing for a June 2010 event to recognize this successful U.S.-Canadian partnership of government and nongovernment organizations working to maintain and enhance environmental quality in the Gulf of Maine. A State of the Gulf of Maine Report will be released at the event and will present an evaluation of priority issues including climate change impacts on ecosystems, invasive species, and microbial pathogens and toxins. Data compiled by the Council's Ecosystem Indicator Partnership will support this effort.
Northeast Regional Ocean Council - In 2009, the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC) continued to engage state and federal partners to protect and promote a balanced use of shared ocean and coastal resources. Due to the strength of the NROC standing committees, advances were made in 2009 on regional issues related to ocean and coastal ecosystem health, coastal hazards resilience, and ocean energy planning and management. In June, NROC convened a marine spatial planning workshop to define regional needs, roles, and actions. In 2010, NROC will continue to provide a forum for state, federal, and nonprofit partners to coordinate and advance regional projects.
Seafloor Mapping Initiative - CZM and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) published the third in a series of seafloor mapping reports this year. High-Resolution Geologic Mapping of the Inner Continental Shelf: Cape Ann to Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts contains geographic information system (GIS) data and maps, technical explanations of data collection and processing, and a discussion of the seafloor geology and topography from Cape Ann to Salisbury. The two previous reports, Nahant to Gloucester and Boston Harbor, were in released in 2006, and data from two additional areas—Hull to Duxbury and Northern Cape Cod Bay—are currently in the publication process. Data collection continued through the summer for additional areas of the Massachusetts coast. In July, CZM and USGS completed a cruise aboard the R/V Megan Miller in Buzzards Bay, which enabled collection of more than 135 square miles of geophysical (swath bathymetry, sidescan sonar backscatter, and seismic reflection) data from the seafloor. Additional surveys are planned for summer 2010. Since 2003, this CZM-USGS cooperative program has mapped 650 square miles of the Commonwealth's coastal ocean. For additional information and results from current mapping, see the project website. For details about Massachusetts seafloor mapping efforts, see CZM's Seafloor Mapping Program website.
StormSmart Coasts Implementation Phase - In 2009, CZM started the implementation of the StormSmart Coasts program with five selected pilot projects—Boston, Falmouth, Hull, Oak Bluffs, and the three-town team of Duxbury, Kingston, and Plymouth. In January, the program held the first Coastal Advisory Group meeting, bringing together more than 30 officials from the selected communities to discuss the work ahead and clearly identify the primary goals of each project. Expected outcomes include a model pre-disaster hazard mitigation plan that incorporates sea level rise and other climate change impacts; outreach materials that target key audiences including homeowners and developers; development review guidance; and model improvements to floodplain regulations. Federal and state agencies, regional planning agencies, and other technical experts are also involved as project partners.
Inundation Visualization 3D Models - The town of Hull served as the study area for the development of inundation visualization models. Two essential data sources—high-resolution LIDAR and recently modeled flood elevations—provide excellent coverage of Hull. Much of Hull's land area and numerous critical facilities, including an electric power plant, wastewater treatment plant and pump stations, stormwater pump station, post office, two schools (one serves as an emergency shelter), and a senior center, reside in the 100-year floodplain, which has a history of storm damage. Hull was selected by CZM as a StormSmart Coasts pilot community for 2009-2010 and requested technical assistance with educational materials for local officials to develop support for a freeboard standard for the coastal 100-year floodplain (see next item). The inundation visualization models enabled CZM to provide this technical assistance to Hull and will facilitate the development of similar products for other coastal communities and regional planning agencies.
Hull's Innovative Freeboard Incentive Program Approved - The town of Hull also took an innovative step forward on encouraging safer building practices without passing new regulations. The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved immediate implementation of an innovative incentive program to encourage builders to "freeboard," or elevate existing and new buildings above predicted floodwaters. The program offers applicants a $500 credit to be used toward building-permit fees if the builder elevates the structure at least two feet above the highest federal or state requirement. As one of the five pilot projects selected for implementing coastal floodplain and sea level rise management tools and strategies through the StormSmart Coasts Program, CZM assisted Hull in the development of this approach.
Coastal Hazards Mapping Workshops - In 2009, CZM held five workshops entitled, Coastal Hazards Mapping Workshop for Local Officials: Preparing for Current and Future Impacts with Available Tools. Workshops held on the North Shore, South Shore, South Coast, Cape Cod, and Martha's Vineyard were attended by approximately 200 local officials. Designed for municipal officials and staff, workshop presentations described current flood mapping efforts—including Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and Sea Lake and Overland Surge from Hurricanes (SLOSH) Maps. Presentations also provided details on how to evaluate other coastal threats not covered by these maps using tools such as tide gauge records and inundation visualizations. Discussions focused on applying these tools at the local level and additional information needs. The workshops were co-sponsored by the DCR's Hazards Mitigation Program. The North Shore workshop was co-sponsored by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). The Cape Cod workshop was co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Coastal Training Program (CTP).
Climate Change Adaptation Outreach Efforts - This year, CZM conducted several outreach efforts to introduce coastal communities to climate change and the adaptation strategies to minimize anticipated future impacts. CZM partnered with MAPC and the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program on the forum, North Shore Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Workshop: Is Your Community Prepared?, for communities on the North Shore. In May, CZM, Michael Baker Jr., Inc., and the towns of Plymouth, Kingston, and Duxbury held the lecture No Adverse Impacts: Best Management Practices for Coastal Communities, which introduced the no adverse impact philosophy and explained how communities can implement this improved floodplain management strategy today to prepare for climate change in the future.
National StormSmart Coasts Network Launches Pilot Websites - Building on the successful Massachusetts StormSmart Coasts initiative, the StormSmart Coasts Network—a partnership between NOAA's Coastal Storms Program, the NOAA RiskWise Partnership, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Coastal Community Resilience Team, and others—has launched the new national StormSmart Coasts Network website. Massachusetts and Mississippi are the first pilot states on the site, which is dedicated to helping coastal decision makers address the challenges of storms, flooding, sea level rise, and climate change. This network of state and local websites serves as a place to find and share the best resources and tools available on these topics. Each state site includes six main sections: Before the Storm, During the Storm, After the Storm, Funding, Your Community, and an interactive forum. Websites for the remaining New England and Gulf of Mexico states will follow in 2010.
CPR Grant Program Concludes Another Successful Year - Through the Coastal Pollutant Remediation (CPR) Grant Program, CZM and EEA awarded $414,000 in 2009 to coastal communities to reduce nonpoint source pollution. Projects were funded to design and install progressive stormwater remediation practices, including bioretention cells, pervious pavers, and wetlands retention basins. Fiscal Year 2009 CPR recipients are:
For details about the grant program, including a complete review of all of this year's projects, see the CPR web page.
EPA General Permits - In 2009, CZM's coastal water quality and clean marina programs provided technical assistance to EPA and coastal constituents on three EPA general permits: Multi-Sector General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity (MSGP), Recreational Vessel General Permit (RVGP), and Commercial Vessel General Permit (CVGP). These permits affect vessels and vessel repair, storage, and docking facilities. In 2006, CZM commented on the then-draft MSGP, suggesting that benchmark testing requirements be identical and include copper for both the marina and boat repair industrial sectors. These changes were incorporated into the final 2008 EPA permit through the MassDEP §401 certification process. In April 2009, the first round of benchmark testing was due and CZM worked with trade associations, consultants, and facility staff to explain the new permit monitoring requirements and make suggestions for compliance. In 2008, CZM commented on the then-draft RVGP and CVGP. In its comments on the RVGP, CZM suggested that EPA and MassDEP place restrictions on hull cleaning to ensure that toxic anti-fouling paint chips and effluent cannot be washed into nearby waters. CZM also commented that toxic cleaners should be prohibited from graywater discharges (wastewater from sinks, showers, dishwashers, etc.—not from toilets). Though the RVGP is currently still in draft form, CZM has been working with EPA and recreational boater associations to develop BMPs and ensure a smooth transition to the new permitting system. In its comments on the CVGP, CZM suggested that "underwater ship husbandry," including the removal of fouling organisms, not occur within state waters and that ships engaged in coastwise trade engage in ballast water exchange to help prevent the spread of invasive species. CZM also suggested that graywater discharges be prohibited within state waters unless levels of bacteria and chlorine meet state water quality standards. CZM's suggestions on the CVGP were incorporated into the final EPA permit through MassDEP's §401 certification. CZM has been working with Massport, the Passenger Vessel Association, engineering firms, shipping agencies, and individual ship captains to explain the new permit and how captains can comply by eliminating the discharge of graywater in Massachusetts or by ensuring that their graywater meets the standard of 14 fecal coliform colonies per 100 ml of water. Preventing discharges of bacteria-laden ballast water is one more step toward protecting coastal waters, beaches, and shellfish beds and complements statewide efforts to eliminate boat sewage discharges, treat wastewater and stormwater, and eliminate combined sewer overflows.
Boaters' Guide to Tides and Pumpout Facilities - CZM and the Division of Marine Fisheries produced the 2009 Boaters' Guide to Tides and Pumpout Facilities. The wallet-sized pamphlet, printed on waterproof paper, contains information on the locations of pumpout facilities along the Massachusetts coastline and a June-September tide chart. Approximately 30,000 copies were distributed. For a complete list of coastal pumpout facilities, see the CZM website.
COASTSWEEP 2009 - COASTSWEEP celebrated its 22nd anniversary this year. Part of an international effort organized by the Ocean Conservancy, COASTSWEEP is the statewide annual beach cleanup sponsored by CZM and the Urban Harbors Institute (UHI) of UMass Boston. On September 19, EEA Undersecretary for Environment Philip Griffiths and CZM's COASTSWEEP Coordinator Robin Lacey welcomed 200 dedicated volunteers to kick off the 2009 COASTSWEEP at the Nantasket Beach in Hull. Together these volunteers collected more than 3,000 pounds of debris. Although results from the 2009 cleanups are still coming in, preliminary reports show that approximately 2,100 COASTSWEEP volunteers cleaned more than 112 miles of coastline, river bank, marsh, seafloor, and lakeshore in Massachusetts—collecting 22,638 pounds of debris from 89 locations. CZM and UHI would like to thank all of the dedicated volunteers that participated in COASTSWEEP 2009 and our sponsors for their generous support. This year's sponsors included Bank of America, Massachusetts Marine Trades Association, Weston Solutions, and Tronex. For more information about this year's efforts, see the COASTSWEEP website. If you are interested in getting involved in future COASTSWEEP cleanups, email email@example.com.
NEW: Coastal Habitat Grants - CZM is seeking proposals for the Coastal Habitat Grants Program. Up to $102,000 are available to support pro-active efforts to implement demonstrable steps and actions to further coastal habitat protection, restoration, and assessment within the Massachusetts coastal zone, including outreach and education activities. Cities, towns, and other public entities; academic institutions; watershed associations or similar nonprofits; and other private organizations are eligible to apply for grants up to $25,000. A 25% non-federal match of the total project cost is required. Priorities for Fiscal Year 2010 Coastal Habitat Grants are: habitat feasibility studies and design activities, water quality, pre- and post-restoration activities, and invasive species. Applications are due by February 8 and projects must be completed by December 31.
Spatial Data for Draft Ocean Management Plan in MORIS - The spatial information that was incorporated into the draft Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan is available in the Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (MORIS), CZM's online mapping tool. MORIS presents all the data layers featured in the draft plan maps and each layer is symbolized to match the PDF version of the maps. In MORIS, users have the ability to read the metadata (data that describe other data) that accompanies each layer and combine data layers with other CZM and Massachusetts Office of Geographic and Environmental Information (MassGIS) data. Also, the layers can be downloaded as industry standard ESRI shapefiles for use in a GIS. Data for the final Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan will be added to MORIS in early 2010.
CZM and MassGIS Data on NASA Site - CZM and MassGIS now have a GIS data portal on the NASA Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) metadata site. Much CZM and MassGIS metadata are posted here in a format searchable by title, author, and keywords. GCMD records include a brief textual description of the data, a Google map showing the extent of the data, citation information, and a link to where the data can be viewed or downloaded. CZM and MassGIS data listed can also be viewed through MORIS, CZM's online mapping tool.
Offshore LNG Proposals - CZM continued its review of the proposed Weavers Cove Energy Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Offshore Berthing project. The project proposes to construct and operate an unloading facility in Mount Hope Bay, with a 4.25-mile submarine transfer pipeline. CZM provided project comments on the second Draft Environmental Impact Report as part of the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) process. Comments addressed several issues, including additional alternative siting analysis, impacts to existing water-dependent uses of Mount Hope Bay and the Taunton River, impacts to aquatic organisms, dredging impacts, and monitoring. Review will continue upon the submission of the second Final Environmental Impact Report.
Renewable Energy Projects - CZM completed its review of the Cape Wind Energy project's federal consistency certification and issued a concurrence in January. The project needs final approval by the U.S. Minerals Management Service before construction can commence. CZM also participated in the first pre-application meeting presented by the town of Edgartown for their proposed tidal energy project. The project, to be located in Muskeget Channel between Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, will employ horizontal helical turbines to generate energy from the tidal flow in the channel. CZM will continue its review as this project progresses through the permitting process. CZM completed its federal consistency review of the proposed Wind Technology Testing Center to be located in Boston, issuing a concurrence in September. The facility will be capable of testing wind turbine blades up to 300 feet in length, placing Massachusetts at the forefront of turbine blade testing technology.
Dredging and Beach Nourishment Projects - During 2009, CZM reviewed a number of major dredging proposals submitted as part of the MEPA process. These projects included Yarmouth, Edgartown/Oak Bluffs, Harwich, and Marshfield. CZM reviewed and approved the dredging of the Cape Cod Canal East Mooring Basin by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Approximately 75,000 cubic yards of sand will be removed from several shoal areas in the canal, with the sand to be used as capping material for the Boston Harbor confined aquatic disposal (CAD) cell. CZM also reviewed, commented on, and approved the dredging of the federal navigation channel at the entrance of the Merrimack River. This project will result in 160,000 cubic yards of sand being dredged from the entrance to Newburyport Harbor and placed on the beaches at Plum Island and Salisbury to help address significant erosion problems. The sand will be pumped onto a 2,500-foot stretch of beach in Newbury and a 1,400-foot stretch in Salisbury. The erosion in Newbury has already claimed one residence and threatens over 20 more. The nourishment activity is scheduled to begin in January.
Programmatic Permits - In December, CZM concurred with the Massachusetts Highway Department's (now the Massachusetts Department of Transportation) federal consistency certificate for their statewide Highway Bridge Replacement Programmatic Individual Permit. The goal of the permit is to create a standardized and expedited review and approval process for qualifying structures given the increased project load with the anticipated stimulus infrastructure funding. CZM also started the federal consistency review for the proposed reissuance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Programmatic General Permit (PGP) in November. The PGP focuses on projects with minimal individual and cumulative effects on the aquatic environment. The existing PGP expires on January 20, 2010.
Ballast Water Discharge Standards - In December, CZM reviewed the U.S. Coast Guard's Proposed Rule for Standards for Living Organisms in Ships' Ballast Water Discharged to U.S. Waters. CZM provided comments on the proposed rule as it relates to Coastal Zone Management Act compliance, invasive species introductions, biological impacts, alternatives analyses, modeling, and enforcement.
Boston Logan Airport Runway Safety Improvements - In July, CZM provided comments on the proposed project to improve the runway safety areas at the end of runways 22R and 33L at Logan Airport. The project is a requirement of the Federal Aviation Administration's safety improvement program. The improvements consist of some combination of inclined safety areas and the installation of Engineered Materials Arresting System (EMAS) beds, one of which is proposed to be installed on a pile-supported pier extending into Boston Harbor. CZM continues to participate in an inter-agency working group reviewing the project.
Port and Harbor Planning Activities - A number of communities are in the process or have completed work on existing or new harbor plans in 2009. On the North Shore, the city of Lynn is nearing completion of the development of the first Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP) for Lynn Harbor, with expectations to submit a final plan for approval in early 2010. The city of Gloucester MHP and Designated Port Area (DPA) Master Plan was approved by EEA in mid-December. The new plan reflects the goals and vision of the community while continuing to support and enhance the marine industrial nature of the Gloucester DPA. See the full EEA decision (PDF, 401 KB). In Boston Harbor, EEA issued decisions on two city of Boston MHP Amendments. CZM provided the city with harbor planning technical assistance throughout each process. In March, the East Boston MHP Amendment (Part II) was approved, which contained substitutions and offsets for two projects along the East Boston waterfront. The public benefits associated with the plan include enhanced public access, historic interpretive exhibits, and civic/cultural spaces. See the full EEA decision (PDF, 279 KB). In September, the South Boston MHP Amendment was approved, which contained substitutions and offsets for a 12-acre area along the Fort Point Channel. The public benefits associated with the plan include enhanced public access, expansive new open spaces, and features such as transient boating facilities, public art, and other civic/cultural amenities that will help draw people to the Fort Point Channel area and implement the city's Watersheet Activation Plan. See the full MHP decision (PDF, 590 KB). On the South Shore, CZM continued to provide ongoing technical review to the town of Scituate through draft harbor plan review and interagency consultation. On the Cape Cod & Islands, Nantucket has just completed its first MPH for Nantucket and Madaket Harbors, and the plan was approved on December 20. This plan builds on the Nantucket Harbor Action Plan from 1993, and focuses on protection of natural resources and water quality, improvement of public access, and protection of historic, water-dependent uses. Provincetown has begun work to renew their existing MHP. The town has set this as a priority, and the goal is to submit a final draft for renewal by June, 2010. On the South Coast, New Bedford and Fairhaven have completed a draft harbor plan, which is a renewal of the original 2002 plan. In November, a public hearing on the draft harbor plan renewal was held and the communities are currently in the consultation process with CZM. Draft plan approval should occur in the first half of 2010. For more information about CZM's harbor planning efforts, contact CZM's Regional Coordinators.
Designated Port Areas - In 2009, CZM formed a technical advisory committee to help review the Commonwealth's Designated Port Area policies and tools to ensure that they are up-to-date and reflect a prudent balance between preserving critical marine industrial assets while affording municipalities flexibility in commerce and economic development that is harmonious with the principles of the working waterfront. The recommended DPA policy and regulatory changes should be finalized in early 2010.
Great Neck Project Awarded 2009 Funding - As mentioned in the CZM 2009 highlights, NOAA announced in June that the Great Neck Conservation Partnership Project in Wareham will receive almost $2 million in Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) funding. These funds will help purchase a conservation restriction on approximately 95 acres of land.
2010 Nominations - CZM's CELCP worked closely with various project partners for two priority projects nominated to NOAA for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 CELCP funding. The Magnolia Hill Conservation Project in Gloucester was seeking $3 million to help protect 109 acres of conservation land. The Nasketucket Bay Land Protection Project located in Fairhaven and Mattapoisett was seeking $2.8 million to help protect 286 acres of conservation land. While these excellent projects were ranked by NOAA as 18th and 23rd for nationwide CELCP projects, they do not appear to be ranked high enough to receive FY10 CELCP funds.
NEW: 2011 Nominations - In December, CZM issued a CELCP Request for Responses Pre-Announcement letter to alert communities of an anticipated notice of federal funding availability from NOAA for 2011 CELCP funds. CZM expects proposals to be due by the middle of March, with the final nomination package due to NOAA by early April. To discuss potential project ideas with CZM, contact David Janik at (508) 291-3625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marine Invader Monitoring and Information Collaborative - During the summer of 2009, volunteers from CZM's Marine Invader Monitoring and Information Collaborative (MIMIC) continued to collect important data about the distribution of marine invasive species in New England waters. Established in 2006, MIMIC seeks to understand distributional patterns of marine invasive species, enable timely data collection to inform managers and rapid response efforts, and provide education on marine invasive species and how to control their spread. In 2009, nearly 100 volunteers from 10 partner groups were trained to monitor for priority marine invasive species at 65 sites in Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Highlights included the first sighting of the invasive tunicate, Didemnum vexillum, at floating docks in Boston Harbor and the Boston Harbor Islands. This species is highly aggressive and has been expanding its range since first discovered in Maine in the 1980s. Data layers representing the distribution of this species and 12 other priority marine invaders are now available to view through the Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System. To view the marine invasive species data layers, see the MORIS website. Once you launch MORIS, the data layers can be found in the "2008 Monitoring" folder, under the "Marine Invasive Species" folder, in the "Biological Data" folder. Data from the 2009 monitoring season will be available in the first half of 2010.
CZM Emergency Management in 2009 - CZM's Joe Pelczarski serves as EEA's representative to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). For emergency events, he coordinates EEA's communications and response activities from the MEMA Emergency Operations Center in Framingham. Several coastal storm events in 2009 were monitored but none required the activation of the state's Emergency Operation Center. In other efforts, CZM participated in: the Massachusetts Flood Task Force to examine flood planning and preparedness in the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Recovery Alliance created to coordinate planning for recovery after a disaster, and training on the National Response Framework and National Incident Management System. CZM staff also participated in updating the Continuity of Operations (COOP) and Continuity of Government (COG) Planning for EEA to reflect the expanded Secretariat that now includes energy. For more information on emergency management, see the MEMA website.
Wetlands Restoration Program Moved to Fish and Game - In July, CZM's Wetlands Restoration Program (WRP) merged with the Riverways Program to create a new Division of Ecological Restoration within the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game (DFG). This new division will be focused on pro-active ecological restoration of coastal and inland aquatic systems—an important step in the advancement of restoration efforts in the Commonwealth and beyond, as it will be the first state division of its kind in the nation. WRP joined CZM in 2003 and made significant progress in advancing CZM's programmatic interests in the restoration of coastal wetlands. WRP is currently working with partners to develop more than 40 active priority projects in the coastal zone and is committed to supporting and advancing those projects toward implementation.
Archaeological Site Work - Fieldwork opportunities were frequent in 2009 for the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources (BUAR). In February, in collaboration with UMass Boston, BUAR conducted a ground-penetrating radar survey of ice-covered Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester to collect data necessary to reconstruct the now submerged ancient lake shore. BUAR has also been working with several groups of recreational divers to create volunteer diver programs. In June, these volunteer divers undertook a photo and video documentation of three Native American mishoons (dugout canoes) in Lake Quinsigamond. Coastal storms can uncover previously hidden shipwrecks, and in September, BUAR performed a preliminary investigation of a newly exposed shipwreck at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. The shipwreck is still unidentified. For more information about underwater archaeology in the Commonwealth, see the BUAR website.
BUAR Received National Park Service Grant - This summer, BUAR was awarded a National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program Grant for the 1775 Battle of Chelsea Creek. Overshadowed by the battles at Concord, Lexington, and Bunker Hill, the Battle of Chelsea Creek (or Noddles Island) was the first naval engagement of the Revolutionary War—and an American victory. The objective of this grant is to precisely locate British and American military operations and their associated archaeological resources, including the remains of the HMS Diana, through archival research and field documentation to assist in the identification, delineation, and interpretation of the battlefield. The $48,300 grant will be used for interns to undertake the research and to provide outreach to Chelsea, Revere, and East Boston.
Marine Archaeology Celebrated in October - October was Massachusetts Archaeology Month and BUAR participated in the Archaeological Institute of America's Archaeology Fair at the Boston Museum of Science—a two-day fair directed to school groups and the general public. BUAR activities included a mock "dig" of a shipwreck and exhibits. BUAR Director, Victor Mastone, was assisted by board member Marcie Bilinski, volunteer Sharon Mastone, and Boston University undergraduate students, Jocelyn Slocum and Maria Sandvig.
CZM works closely with communities to ensure that local decision-making is based on sound coastal management principles. CZM serves as a liaison between federal and state programs and municipal authorities, coordinates regional environmental management initiatives, performs federal consistency review, and provides technical assistance. CZM's regions are North Shore, Boston Harbor, South Shore, Cape Cod & Islands, and South Coastal. The 2009 accomplishments for each region are provided below.
No Discharge Areas - In March, the coastal waters of Revere, Saugus, Lynn, Nahant, and Swampscott were designated as the Lower North Shore No Discharge Area (see item under CZM 2009 Highlights above for details). In 2009, CZM staff also continued to work with regional staff of the Eight Towns and the Bay Committee to finalize preparation of the NDA application for the Upper North Shore region, which includes 16 communities from Gloucester to Salisbury and up the Merrimack River to Lawrence. The data collection and draft application for this region is complete, and outreach to communities is underway. CZM expects to submit an application to EPA in the spring, to facilitate designation for the 2010 boating season. For more on NDA activities along the coast, see CZM's NDA website.
Technical Assistance - In 2009, CZM staff continued to work with the cities of Lynn and Gloucester to develop or update Municipal Harbor Plans to promote and facilitate water-dependent uses of these harbors. North Shore regional staff also worked with MassDEP, Nuka Research, U.S. Coast Guard, and NOAA's Hazardous Materials Response Branch, in cooperation with local officials, other state and federal agencies, local nonprofits, and the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program, to develop 32 Geographic Response Plans (GRPs) for sites along the North Shore coastline of Massachusetts from Salisbury to Revere. GRPs are oil spill response plans tailored to protect a specific sensitive area from impacts following a spill by showing responders where sensitive areas are located and where to place oil spill protection resources. For more information on these sites, see North Shore GRP Project website. CZM staff participated in the Merrimack River Beach Alliance, a group of federal, state, and local stakeholders that met to facilitate beach nourishment activities for a severely eroded area on Plum Island beach. Permitting is complete and the project is expected to begin in early 2010. CZM continues to coordinate the very popular North Shore Regional Conservation Commission and Health Agents Networks: providing regular training for North Shore Conservation Commissions, Boards of Health, and their staff; facilitating coordination between the cities and towns and state agencies; and supplying an avenue for discussion of new regulatory and policy tools. In October, CZM's North Shore Regional Coordinator joined MassDEP staff to co-instruct a class in Environmental Law and Policy at Brandeis University.
Battery Wharf Museum - In July, the Battery Wharf Museum opened as part of the Fairmont Battery Wharf complex. The museum presents exhibits on maritime and U.S. Coast Guard history, and includes a 24-hour observation deck on the second floor with views of Boston Harbor. The new museum complements Battery Wharf's existing Harborwalk, which features interpretive signage, binoculars, and a water taxi facility. This Special Public Destination Facility was required by the City's Harborpark MHP. The final design and layout were approved through the Chapter 91 licensing process with input from CZM.
Technical Assistance - This year, CZM worked with the Boston Redevelopment Authority on initial discussions related to Boston's Municipal Harbor Plan renewal. CZM participated on a Technical Working Group to discuss impacts and mitigation measures for salt marsh and eelgrass resources associated with the Logan Airport Runway Safety Area enhancement project in East Boston. CZM also attended several meetings with the Lower Mystic River Steering Committee to provide technical assistance on issues relating to DPAs.
Parker Avenue Cut Restoration Project - In May, work was completed on the Parker Avenue Cut Restoration Project in Cohasset. This project revitalized and reestablished an historical tidal estuarine connection between Cohasset Harbor and the Gulf River Estuary.
Green Harbor River Restoration Project - In December, work was completed on the Green Harbor River Restoration Project in Marshfield. The project included the replacement of a wooden flapper style tide gate with a "fish friendly" adjustable sluice gate. CZM will continue to work with the town of Marshfield and other state and federal agency partners on an adaptive management process that will incrementally increase tidal flow to the river and balance the tidal and ecological restoration and flood prevention goals of this project.
Scituate Coastal Inundation and Visualization Project - In 2009, CZM continued to work with project partners including NOAA, the National Weather Service, the Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System, UMass Boston, DCR, and the town of Scituate on a project that seeks to better communicate flood and storm damage risk to hazard-prone areas within Scituate through storm surge modeling, flooding visualization imagery, tidal elevation monitoring, post-storm flood and storm damage impact documentation, and other methods. Priority tasks for 2009 included the development and implementation of a standardized web-based storm and flood damage reporting process.
Technical Assistance - CZM provided technical, grant writing, monitoring, and coordination assistance to a number of regionally significant wetland restoration and stewardship projects this year. These efforts included preliminary designs for shore-side vessel pumpout facilities in Hingham and Scituate; water quality monitoring in Bartlett Pond in Plymouth; development and presentation of a public informational meeting for the Musquashcut Pond Restoration Project in Scituate; development of a comprehensive tide level and water quality monitoring report for Inner Little Harbor in Cohasset; help to the towns of Duxbury and Plymouth on the successful completion of CPR-funded stormwater mitigation projects; assistance regarding the potential for beneficial reuse of dredge material for proposed wetland restoration project in Duxbury; and support to the StormSmart Coasts program on a variety of storm damage and flood prevention issues for StormSmart pilot communities.
Pleasant Bay NDA - In October, CZM received a draft application from the Pleasant Bay Resource Management Alliance to designate Pleasant Bay and Chatham Harbor as a No Discharge Area. The NDA would cover all of the 9,000-acre Pleasant Bay Area of Critical Environmental Concern as well as the contiguous Chatham Harbor system seaward to the 1987 inlet. The banning of sewage discharges to the Pleasant Bay system complements the comprehensive wastewater planning efforts of the adjacent towns and their various selected strategies for improving the bay's water quality. The application states that out of the roughly 2,200 vessels using Pleasant Bay, only 253 need pumpout services and that the facilities provided by Nauset Marina East, the Harwich pumpout boat, and a new pumpout trailer at the Chatham town landing in Ryder's Cove will provide adequate coverage. The application has support from the Harwich, Brewster, Chatham, and Orleans Boards of Selectmen; the Orleans Shellfish/Waterways Advisory Committee; the Chatham Waterways Advisory Committee; the Friends of Pleasant Bay; and the Orleans Pond Coalition. It will be reviewed by CZM staff so that a recommendation for designation by EEA and approval by the EPA Region 1 can happen by summer 2010.
Technical Assistance - CZM provided technical assistance to communities in the Cape Cod & Islands region for a variety of municipal projects involving dredging, stormwater remediation, erosion and sediment management, and wetland restoration. CZM Cape Cod & Islands staff continues to work with representatives from state environmental agencies and from the Barnstable County Dredge Advisory Committee to develop a new approach to the application of Time-of-Year (TOY) restrictions for municipal dredge projects in the region. CZM staff also assisted the Pleasant Bay Coastal Processes work group on a variety of management issues related to the "new inlet" on the Chatham barrier beach. Recent work includes a bathymetric study of the navigation channels within the bay, a shoreline assessment, and ongoing tide studies. CZM continues to provide technical assistance to local conservation commissions and facilitate the Cape Conservation Commission Network. Finally, CZM Cape Cod & Islands regional staff conducted public outreach and education on local coastal issues through regular guest lectures at Cape Cod Community College and Massachusetts Maritime Academy and presentations at the Cape Cod National Seashore, the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions Annual Conference, and the international Coastal Zone Management Conference in July.
Technical Assistance - In 2009, CZM provided South Coastal communities with a workshop on coastal hazards and sea-level rise to help them better identify and map areas at risk. This workshop focused particularly on the new FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps as well as on Sea Lake and Overland Surge from Hurricanes maps and the new LIDAR contour mapping. Responding to a request from Legislators on the State House Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, CZM assisted with a presentation at a Climate Change Workshop in the Mt. Hope Bay Region. CZM continued to work closely with the city of New Bedford, town of Fairhaven, MassDEP, EPA, and other state and federal agencies on navigational dredging activities in New Bedford Harbor. A third phase of dredging was completed in 2009, and planning for Phase 4 and a third Confined Disposal Facility was started. CZM continued to meet with Buzzards Bay Action Committee member communities at their monthly meetings to keep them abreast of important events and initiatives, including the CZM CPR grant program, boat pumpout opportunities, the ocean planning initiative, and other efforts. CZM continued to work with other state and federal agencies on the Shoreline and Aquatic Resources Technical Working Groups of the Natural Resource Damages Assessment team to help quantify damages and identify potential restoration opportunities related to the 2003 Bouchard oil spill in Buzzards Bay, particularly to Ram Island. Finally, CZM continued to be a resource for municipalities, other agencies, and the public on coastal issues and concerns within the region.
CZM administers two National Estuary Programs (NEPs), the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program and the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program (MassBays). The Buzzards Bay NEP works to protect and restore water quality and living resources in Buzzards Bay and its watershed. MassBays works to protect and enhance the coastal health and heritage of Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays. Each program's highlights from 2009 are included below.
Buzzards Bay Grants - This year, the Buzzards Bay NEP continued its core mission to provide grants and technical assistance to Buzzards Bay municipalities. The program began the year by initiating six municipal environmental grants totaling $131,000 that were announced at the end of 2008. In August, the NEP awarded 10 grants totaling $167,000 to eight Buzzards Bay watershed towns. Both rounds of grants will assist the towns in protecting and restoring water quality and living resources in Buzzards Bay and its surrounding watershed. The grants will specifically be used to protect and restore wetlands habitat and open space, design treatment solutions for stormwater discharges, and restore herring runs. The August grants were awarded to the towns of Rochester (Leonards Pond Anadromous Fishway Improvement Project, $20,000, and Wolf Island Road Land Preservation Project, $5,000); Fairhaven (Nasketucket Woods Land Acquisition - Bridge Street, $35,000); Westport (Phase II: Stormwater Solutions, $20,000); Marion (Grassi Bog Wetland Restoration Permitting, $7,500, and Open Space Protection of Holmes Woods, $3,600); Mattapoisett (Salt Marsh Restoration at Pico Beach Road, $9,900); Bourne (Fishway Improvements at Dykes Creek, $15,000); Wareham (Marks Cove Wildlife Corridor Project, $35,000); and Dartmouth (Dike Creek Hughes Conservation Project $16,000).
Massachusetts Estuaries Project - In 2009, the Buzzards Bay NEP began work with MassDEP to review the Massachusetts Estuary Program Nitrogen Total Maximum Daily Load reports, and provide technical assistance to municipalities to understand the findings contained in these reports. Draft reports for New Bedford Harbor, the Slocums and Little River estuaries in Dartmouth, and the Wareham River estuary are expected to be finalized by MassDEP in 2010. Once approved by EPA, the reports will have broad implications for wastewater management in Buzzards Bay watershed communities. The Buzzards Bay NEP also expanded its collaboration with the citizen's group, The Coalition for Buzzards Bay, in land protection efforts and the review of projects of regional significance.
Technical Assistance - The Buzzards Bay NEP continued to assist municipalities in 2009 with development of local regulatory protection strategies, review of local projects, and design of stormwater treatment systems. The Buzzards Bay NEP also helped program partners prepare grant applications and restoration plans for state and federal grant programs. These efforts are part of the NEP's ongoing work to implement recommendations contained in a comprehensive watershed management plan to protect and restore water quality and living resources in Buzzards Bay and its surrounding watershed. Highlights included work with the town of Westport and Westport River Watershed Alliance to develop stormwater designs for the Westport Middle School and Old County Road discharges to the Westport River. The NEP also hired an engineering firm to develop a stormwater management plan for the New Bedford waterfront.
Brewster's Stony Brook Received Federal Stimulus Funding from NOAA - In June, NOAA awarded a $1.3 million American Reinvestment and Recovery Act grant to the Stony Brook Salt Marsh and Fish Passage Restoration Project in Brewster. Situated just south of Route 6A, this site is one of the premier herring runs on Cape Cod, attracting thousands of visitors annually. The restoration will replace an undersized culvert running under Route 6A with larger, twin box culverts, enabling greater natural tidal exchange and improving herring passage to 386 acres of prime herring spawning grounds upstream. Project partners include the town of Brewster, MassBays and its Cape Cod program host, the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, the Department of Fish and Game's Division of Ecological Restoration, and the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History.
Riverfront Park Getting a Face Lift - MassBays regional coordinator, Salem Sound Coastwatch, was instrumental in the acquisition of a $500,000 grant to refurbish Furlong Park, situated along the North River in Salem. Having recently completed an Open Space and Recreation Plan, the city of Salem became eligible to apply for the Commonwealth's competitive Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grants. Funds are being used to improve access to the park and the river, address erosion problems at the site, and upgrade recreational amenities.
Paying for Stormwater Management - In early 2009, MassBays sponsored two Stormwater Financing Workshops on Cape Cod and the North Shore. In response to federal nonpoint source pollution regulations under the Clean Water Act, communities across the country have been working over the past six years to reduce the impacts of stormwater runoff on stream, river, lake, and ocean water quality. New stormwater permit requirements are expected to be more rigorous and costly. Therefore municipalities need to develop mechanisms to pay for these increased costs. Several communities in Massachusetts are taking steps to address this, either through the formation of a stormwater utility or some other form of fee assessment. See presentations from workshops held on Cape Cod and the North Shore.
Streamflow and Temperature Logging - The North and South Rivers Watershed Association, host of the MassBays South Shore efforts, was awarded a $25,750 grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust to acquire and deploy temperature and water-level data loggers in streams throughout the program's region. The project aims to address two major ecological concerns: the rapid decline of diadromous fish populations (migratory fish such as herring and eels) in coastal streams and rivers, and changes in temperature and flow regime due to climate change. Volunteer fish counting projects will be established and/or supplemented so that fish counts can be paired with results from the data loggers. In addition, a database will be developed to house information collected that will be shared with resource managers, including the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. An outreach workshop will also be held as part of this effort, where staff and volunteers involved with the fish counts will learn how the data is being used to inform decisions related to fisheries management and climate change.
Climate Ready Estuaries - The MassBays has been collaborating with EPA's Office of Research and Development on an ecological vulnerability assessment under EPA's Climate Ready Estuaries Program. The goal is to provide place-based information on the potential implications of climate change for estuarine ecosystems and processes, in a form that will enable managers to undertake adaptation planning. Following the development of models that depict how salt marsh ecosystem processes can be affected by climate and human stressors, a workshop will be held in early 2010 that will bring together a dozen experts in salt marsh ecology and coastal sediment transport. These experts will debate just how sensitive these salt marsh ecosystem processes are to changing climatic conditions, and then discuss the implications for salt marsh management in the MassBays region, findings of which will be shared with resource managers in the area.
In looking back over the year, CZM welcomes the new members of the coastal management team, wishes the best of luck to those who have moved on to new opportunities, and congratulates staff that were recognized for accomplishments.
MassBays Intern - In January, the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program welcomed Josh Daskin as an intern. During his internship, Josh assisted with the upcoming State of the Bays report and developed outreach materials on climate change adaptation. Josh graduated from Brandies University in May with a degree in biology and environmental studies.New Roles for Longtime CZM Staffers - In March, Jan Smith became manager of CZM's coastal and marine habitat and water quality unit, while Jay Baker became the new Director of the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program.Wetlands Restoration Program Moved to Fish and Game - In July, CZM's Wetlands Restoration Program merged with the Riverways Program to create a new Division of Ecological Restoration within the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game. CZM looks forward to continued collaboration with this program to restore coastal habitats and wishes good luck to Hunt Durey, Georgeann Keer, and Jeremy Bell in their new home.MassBays Outreach Coordinator - In December, Carole McCauley left MassBays to accept the position of Outreach Program Manager at Northeastern University's Marine Science Center. Carole served as the Outreach and Policy Coordinator for MassBays and fulfilled a wide variety of important program management functions ranging from developing the MassBays annual grant application to publishing outreach materials and managing the MassBays website. Carole was also the lead on the program's Climate Ready Estuaries project, a joint venture with EPA that will be completed in the spring of 2010, and was instrumental in the development of the MassBays State of the Bays Report, also due out this spring. CZM and MassBays wish Carole all the best in her new position.Jan Smith Received Visionary Award - In December, Jan Smith received a Visionary Award from the Gulf of Maine Council for his 12 years of service to the Massachusetts Bays Program. The Gulf of Maine Visionary Award recognizes innovation, creativity, and commitment to marine protection by businesses, environmental organizations, or individuals whose work improves the environment of the Gulf of Maine. During his tenure as director, Jan strengthened the region's understanding of coastal wetland dynamics, management of stormwater pollution, and assessment of marine invasive species emergence and distributions.