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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 2011, 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 2012.
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For CZM, 2011 was a year of hard work and notable progress on a number of priorities and program areas. Significant effort was invested in the implementation of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan and incorporating the plan into the Commonwealth's Coastal Management Program. As part of the updates to the state coastal program, CZM also released a Policy Guide that presents the state's coastal policies, legal authorities, and much more. In 2011, CZM worked as part of the Northeast Regional Ocean Council to further develop a framework for regional ocean planning that advances the National Ocean Policy. CZM also played a leading role in the release of the Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report, which includes an extensive section on the impacts of climate change along the coast, along with potential strategies for addressing this issue. Also in the past year, Massachusetts came closer to officially designating all coastal waters as No Discharge Areas for boat sewage—securing the designation of the Outer Cape Cod No Discharge Area that covers the entire 30-mile Atlantic coast of Cape Cod, and leaving only two areas of the coast remaining to be designated. Finally, in 2011, CZM got a new, official leader with the appointment of Bruce Carlisle as CZM's Director in July. Since 2005, Bruce served as Acting and Assistant Director for the agency, managing CZM's policy development, planning efforts, and programs. These and other CZM highlights for 2011 are summarized below.
In 2011, CZM focused on implementing this comprehensive approach to protecting marine resources and fostering sustainable uses in state ocean waters. The Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan provides enhanced protections for critical environmental resources and water-dependent uses in nearly two-thirds of the Commonwealth's coastal waters and sets standards for the development of renewable energy and other ocean-based projects. The implementation of the plan has progressed on several fronts. In addition to reviewing projects that were submitted to the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) for consistency with the plan, CZM has been engaged with several other administrative components required by the enabling legislation—the Oceans Act of 2008. These efforts included the formal adoption of the plan into the Massachusetts Coastal Management Program and the development of implementing regulations for the plan. In April, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Office of Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) approved a routine program change that incorporated the Oceans Act of 2008 into the Massachusetts Coastal Management Program, as well as updating other authorities, and, in September, NOAA/OCRM approved the inclusion of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan in the program. These program changes, along with several others, are contained in a new Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management Policy Guide - October 2011 (Policy Guide), which is the official statement of the Massachusetts coastal program policies and legal authorities. In August, an advisory group consisting of a broad cross-section of stakeholders and interests was convened to review and provide feedback on a working-draft set of regulations to administer and implement the plan. The advisory group, chaired by CZM Director Carlisle on behalf of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), met for a series of seven meetings to provide EEA with input and feedback on draft regulations. With the final meeting at the end of December, the group's work has concluded. The next steps for the draft rules include a presentation to and review by the Ocean Advisory Commission, followed by draft rulemaking with a public comment and public hearing process. Along with these efforts on plan administration, CZM has continued implementing the priorities of the plan's Science Framework, including development of new spatial and economic data on recreational boating, further characterization of marine habitat with the ground truthing of seafloor maps, and incorporation of data from complex oceanographic models.
In April and again in September, OCRM approved routine program changes to the Massachusetts Coastal Management Program. The last change formally incorporated the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan into the CZM program. Through these changes, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management Policy Guide - October 2011 (Policy Guide) is formally adopted as the official statement of the Massachusetts coastal program policies and legal authorities. The Policy Guide also includes specific guidance on the federal consistency review process, as well as updates to the program policies, the coastal zone boundary, and the underlying legal authorities.
At the regional level, 2011 saw important progress on the part of Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC), which is made up of the New England states in partnership with federal coastal and ocean resource agencies. NROC further developed and refined aspects of its regional ocean planning framework and used this as the basis for funding proposals. In October, NROC learned of its success in securing approximately $2.5 million in two separate grant awards from NOAA and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. NROC will finalize a two-year work plan to begin implementation on key actions including: a stakeholder involvement process to help develop goals and objectives for regional ocean planning; a mechanism for ongoing input for the process; and a baseline characterization of the region's ocean resources and uses based on the best available science. This work will directly advance key aspects of the National Ocean Policy, including several of its nine priority objectives. In 2011, NROC launched the Northeast Ocean Data Portal, which was developed to enhance regional ocean planning efforts. This new portal contains regional spatial data on human activities, natural resources, and jurisdictional information for New England's coasts and ocean waters. For more information and to download NROC's action plans for its priority issue areas and coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP), including the regional CMSP framework, see the NROC website. CZM Director Bruce Carlisle serves as a council member, and for the 2011-2012 period, acts as state co-chair of NROC alongside federal co-chair Robert LaBelle of the Department of Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
In September, CZM staff successfully completed an eight-day oceanographic survey aboard the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Ocean Survey Vessel Bold—collecting samples of seafloor sediments and organisms and taking underwater videos and still photos of the seafloor and its marine life. Other survey participants included the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and EPA. The cruise was a success, with the team gathering 322 seafloor bottom photographs, 270 sediment grain-size samples, and 214 infauna samples using the USGS SEABOSS sampling system. MarineFisheries also successfully deployed a new shallow-water camera system from a smaller support vessel and captured an additional 116 photographs in waters too shallow for the Bold. The data were collected in round-the-clock shifts as the Bold transited Commonwealth waters in southern Cape Cod Bay, Buzzards Bay, Vineyard Sound, and the southern sides of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. Areas of interest included large fields of brittle stars and sand dollars in Cape Cod Bay, unique mounds of long worms south of the Islands, and previously unknown deposits of gravel and cobble. Preliminary results from Cape Cod Bay suggest 15 groups of infauna, which appear to be based on depth and sediment type. Survey results will assist with the ground truthing of seafloor habitat maps created by CZM using a combination of surficial geology, bathymetry, and backscatter data—continuing work that began during CZM's June 2010 research cruise aboard the Bold. The survey also supports the efforts of the larger seafloor mapping partnership between CZM and USGS and CZM's other seafloor habitat mapping efforts. The updated habitat maps will help CZM refine the resource maps used in the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan and will assist CZM and other agencies in their siting and permitting of ocean uses.
In 2011, EEA released the Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report, which provides a comprehensive overview of observed and predicted changes to Massachusetts climate, along with anticipated impacts and potential adaptation strategies to prepare for climate change. The first of its kind in the state, the report was prepared by EEA and the 34-member Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee, which was established under the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 and included representation from CZM. The report includes a sector-by-sector look at how climate change may impact natural resources and habitat, infrastructure, human health and welfare, local economy and government, and the coast and ocean. As in many other coastal states, the report finds that Massachusetts has experienced increasing sea level rise and storm surges, higher temperatures, and changes in precipitation over the course of this century—all of which could contribute to profound impacts on coastal infrastructure and businesses, public health, and natural ecosystems in coming years. EEA and its agencies plan to evaluate potential strategies contained in the report and work with stakeholders to prioritize them and assess feasibility of implementation. In addition, EEA plans to form a stakeholder group that will explore mechanisms for addressing the potential impacts of climate change (such as sea level rise) as part of the MEPA review process.
In August, EPA approved the Commonwealth's designation of the Outer Cape Cod No Discharge Area (NDA)—prohibiting the discharge of any treated or untreated boat sewage along the entire 30-mile Atlantic coast of Cape Cod, including Nauset Harbor. The Commonwealth's goal is to designate all state waters as no discharge. There are now 15 NDAs along the Massachusetts coast, covering 67 percent of state waters. Only two areas remain undesignated, Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds and Mt. Hope Bay, where work leading to NDA designation is underway. For more information about NDA activities along the coast, see CZM's NDA website.
In 2011, CZM continued to support EEA on its coordination with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on the planning stages for the development of renewable wind energy on the outer continental shelf. Two areas in federal waters off the Massachusetts coast are being considered for leasing: the Massachusetts Area, located 12 nautical miles (nm) south of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, and the Rhode Island/Massachusetts Area, located 10 nm south of Newport, Rhode Island. Throughout the year, there was significant activity on this topic. In April, in response to a formal Request for Interest, EEA recommended to BOEM that the Area of Interest be modified to exclude the eastern half to protect areas critical to important fisheries, marine habitat, and navigation—and during a joint meeting of the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Renewable Energy Task Forces in May, BOEM announced the official reduction of the area under consideration. In addition to guidance and advice received through several Task Force meetings held in 2011, EEA and CZM also convened a Fisheries Working Group and a Habitat Working Group in April, May, June, and September to seek their expertise and input. In June, representatives from the commercial fishing and offshore wind industries, along with others from local, state, and federal government, participated in a working session in New Bedford to begin to identify and compile industry standards, best practices, and operating procedures from the two industries to allow more detailed assessment of relative compatibilities and potential impacts, identify further information needed, and discuss options to mitigate adverse effects and incompatibilities. In August, BOEM issued a Call for Information and Nominations for Commercial Leasing for Wind Power for the Rhode Island/Massachusetts Area Under Consideration to gauge interest from wind energy developers and to provide the information needed to conduct a competitive or non-competitive leasing process in the future. Through this Call, BOEM received indications of interest from eight wind energy project developers, as well as other comments providing input on site conditions, resources, and multiple uses within the area that would be relevant to BOEM's review.
In April, members of the Hong Kong Legislative Council's Harborfront Planning Subcommittee visited CZM as part of the Boston leg of a nine-day tour of selected waterfront cities in the United States and Canada. The representatives from the Hong Kong Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China were interested in learning about waterfront development and enhancement strategies and institutional arrangements for waterfront planning and management. During the visit, staff from CZM and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Waterways Program presented key aspects of the Commonwealth's tidelands policy and authorities, including the role of Municipal Harbor Plans and the development and release of a new presumptive tidelands jurisdiction map. Also in May, CZM hosted a delegation from Vietnam, including representatives from the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Science and Technology, and several provinces. Traveling under NOAA's National Ocean Service's International Program Office to learn more about coastal and marine spatial planning for a pilot application in Hai Phong and Quang Ninh provinces, the group met with CZM to hear about the process and outcomes of the development and implementation of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan. CZM looks forward to future technical transfer with members of the delegation as they launch a coastal and marine spatial planning pilot. CZM also hosted a meeting with a delegation of scientists from Africa to discuss StormSmart Coasts, coastal risk assessment, and adaptation planning.
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. In addition to the efforts summarized in the 2011 Highlights section above, the accomplishments for each of these program areas are listed below.
Joint Ocean Advisory Commission and Ocean Science Advisory Council Meeting - On April 22, a joint meeting of the state's Ocean Advisory Commission (OAC) and Science Advisory Council (SAC) was held by EEA. After welcoming remarks from the EEA Secretary, OAC chair Susan Tierney presented the meeting goals and agenda. The purpose of the joint OAC-SAC meeting was to review progress made in implementing the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan and hear about related ocean planning activities at the national and regional levels. CZM Director Bruce Carlisle provided a summary of the plan and an overview of the elements of its administration, including proposed projects that have been reviewed under the new framework provided by the plan, the Ocean and Waterways Trust, adoption of the plan into the state coastal program, and development of implementing regulations. John Weber—who transitioned this year from CZM's Ocean Services Manager to the Ocean Planning Director with the Northeast Regional Ocean Council—reviewed progress made in implementing key projects that address many of the priorities identified in the plan's Science Framework, including habitat mapping, updates to the Massachusetts Ocean Resources Information System (MORIS), and new human use data and information. Kim Starbuck of the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership (now known as SeaPlan) gave a presentation on a new recreational boating use and economics study, and Ron Beck from the U.S. Coast Guard First District provided a summary of the Obama Administration's National Ocean Policy and coastal and marine spatial planning framework. Bruce Carlisle also discussed activities and plans of the Northeast Regional Ocean Council related to coastal and marine spatial planning, and John Weber provided updates on the BOEM offshore wind leasing process on the Outer Continental Shelf.
Massachusetts Recreational Boating Survey Results - In June, the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership (MOP—now known as SeaPlan) released the results of the 2010 Massachusetts Recreational Boating Survey. This survey shows that the economic contribution to the Commonwealth from saltwater recreational boating trips during the 2010 boating season was at least $806 million—supporting more than 4,700 jobs. Between May and October 2010, more than 2,100 boaters responded to the survey and provided detailed information on their boating trips, including expenditures, boating activities, and navigational routes. This study helps to fill a need identified in the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan for more information on boating use, patterns, and economic linkages. The results of this study will be incorporated into the plan. MOP initiated this study with the Urban Harbors Institute (UHI) at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Boston, along with Marine Consulting Services, UMass Boston's Center for Survey Research and Department of Environmental, Earth and Ocean Sciences, and CZM, in close partnership with the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association, Massachusetts Harbormasters Association, Massachusetts Boating and Yacht Clubs Association, and Sailors for the Sea.
Gulf of Maine Council - In December, the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment (GOMC) released its Action Plan 2012-2017, which describes the goals, outcomes, activities, and crosscutting initiatives that GOMC and other organizations are pursuing to achieve the long-term vision of a healthy and resilient Gulf of Maine. Also this year, the Council's EcoSystem Indicator Partnership (ESIP) released the first three of seven indicator-specific fact sheets: Aquaculture in the Gulf of Maine (PDF, 222 KB) provides an introduction to the selected aquaculture indicators and includes a snapshot of the indicator data; Climate Change in the Gulf of Maine (PDF, 349 KB) summarizes data from around the Gulf of Maine for three key indicators—sea level, air temperature, and precipitation—to show how the climate in the region has been changing over recent decades; Aquatic Habitats in the Gulf of Maine (PDF, 5 MB) summarizes data from the Gulf of Maine for three key indicators—eelgrass, salt marsh, and tidal restrictions—along with a snapshot of the indicator data. All the data are also available through the ESIP Indicator Reporting Tool, where they can be mapped with other indicator data or graphed to show trends. GOMC also released Microbial Pathogens and Biotoxins (PDF, 1 MB), one of several theme papers that form the State of the Gulf of Maine Report—a modular, living document that presents an on-going evaluation of priority issues in the Gulf of Maine. The paper presents the issue and describes trends, impacts, and responses to pathogens and toxins in the Gulf of Maine.
Seafloor Mapping Initiative - CZM and USGS have published the fifth in a series of seafloor mapping reports. Geophysical and Sampling Data from the Inner Continental Shelf: Northern Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts contains geographic information system (GIS) data and technical explanations of data collection and processing of the Massachusetts inner continental shelf between Duxbury and Hull. The report was prepared as part of the cooperative mapping program between CZM and USGS, with additional hydrographic data provided by NOAA. Other reports in the series include: Nahant to Gloucester (2006), Boston Harbor (2006), Cape Ann to Salisbury Beach (2009), and Duxbury to Hull (2010). Data processing is underway on seafloor data already collected in Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound. Since 2003, this cooperative program has mapped the geology of approximately 2,000 square kilometers (772 square miles) of the Commonwealth's coastal ocean.
Seafloor Mapping Demonstrations - In July, USGS and CZM hosted The Seafloor Revealed: What Lies Beneath the Massachusetts Coastal Ocean?, a public meet-and-greet event at the Ocean Explorium in New Bedford. The exhibits and presentations at this event illustrated the seafloor mapping work being conducted by USGS, CZM, and MarineFisheries. Scientists at the USGS Woods Hole campus are leaders in research in coastal and marine geology, seafloor mapping technology, geography, and the waters off the Massachusetts coast. CZM and MarineFisheries both played critical roles in the mapping work done to develop the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan. This event featured a GeoWall, a 3D interactive display of bathymetric mapping data, and seafloor mapping instruments, posters, and handouts. The scientists were available to take questions and provided short talks on mapping technology and applied uses of seafloor mapping data.
CZM Launches New Shoreline Change Project - In 2011, CZM kicked off work to delineate a new, contemporary oceanfront shoreline for Massachusetts after securing $98,220 in late 2010 for the project through a competitive grant program offered by OCRM. Under contract to CZM, the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center began work to interpret and digitize the mean-high-water shoreline based on aerial orthophotographs and analyze shoreline change rates. This effort will update the Shoreline Change Project, which was launched by CZM in 1989 to identify erosion-prone areas of the coast by producing maps depicting the statistical analysis of historic locations of ocean-facing shorelines from the mid-1800s to 1978 using multiple data sources. In 2001, a 1994 shoreline was added to calculate both long- and short-term shoreline change rates at 40-meter intervals along ocean-facing sections of the Massachusetts coast. The updated and improved shoreline change information generated through this project will be available through MORIS to support informed and responsible decisions by coastal managers, shorefront landowners, and potential property buyers.
StormSmart Coasts Education and Outreach - Throughout 2011, CZM's StormSmart Coasts Program held several workshops in the coastal regions and made additional presentations at meetings (e.g., the Boston Bar Association and Social and Environmental Research Institute) and conferences (e.g., the American Planning Association, International Erosion Control Association, and Rhode Island Floodplain Mitigation Association). Workshop and presentation topics included: reducing storm impacts in flood zones and resource areas, erosion and sediment control, coastal landscaping, and identification and mapping of future floodplains.
CZM/MassDEP Coastal Manual for Conservation Commissions - CZM and MassDEP are collaborating to produce a comprehensive document entitled Applying the Massachusetts Coastal Wetlands Regulations: A Practical Guide for Conservation Commissions to Protect the Storm Damage and Flood Control Functions of Coastal Resource Areas. The document will serve as a guide for Conservation Commissions when they review projects in coastal areas. Topics covered include: coastal resource area delineations, analysis of resource area functions, and application of performance standards. This year, the CZM and MassDEP working group completed a final draft of the document, which was reviewed by the MassDEP Office of General Counsel and a Technical Review Committee consisting of a diverse network of environmental scientists, attorneys, and Conservation Commission members. Comments have been incorporated and the document is now ready for CZM and MassDEP management review.
StormReporter Upgrade and Expansion - StormReporter is an innovative web tool that enables rapid delivery and archiving of coastal storm damage information to inform emergency response activities, weather predictions, and project planning. With support from the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems, StormReporter now has enhanced functionality, such as improved administration of the web tool, better user management of profiles, predefined site locations, a refined "live" report summary, a searchable table of reports, and a mobile site. StormReporter has also been made available to the other coastal states in New England through the national StormSmart Coasts Network's StormReporter's Notebook. CZM originally developed StormReporter in partnership with the National Weather Service (NWS) and the StormSmart Coasts Network to standardize data collection for the state's Rapid Response Coastal Storm Damage Assessment Team (Storm Team), as well as local beach teams and citizens interested in reporting coastal storm damages in Massachusetts communities. CZM has provided regional and national webinar presentations to support the launch of this new version of StormReporter. Additional trainings are being planned for 2012.
Building Resilience into Local Planning - A collaborative effort between CZM, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), and the towns of Scituate, Marshfield, and Duxbury is addressing existing and future coastal impacts from storms and sea level rise. The purpose of this study is to develop an overview of the towns' status regarding coastal protection and maintenance, conditions along the shorelines that may change under different sea level rise scenarios, and possible adaptation options that could be advanced to manage future risks. A number of products developed by CZM—such as the Inventory of Public Seawalls and Other Structures, Massachusetts Shoreline Change Project, South Shore Coastal Hazards Characterization Atlas, and StormSmart Coasts Program—have been used by the project team to develop an existing conditions report and list of potential adaptation strategies. In October, CZM participated in a public informational meeting on the project, attended by approximately 65 local stakeholders, and provided a presentation on the recently completed Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report to reinforce the recommendations being advanced by the project team. The project was supported in 2011 by District Local Technical Assistance funding to MAPC. MAPC and the towns have applied for additional funds to continue this adaptation planning effort in partnership with CZM.
New England Municipal Coastal Resilience Initiative - A $285,000 regional proposal to NOAA's Climate and Societal Interactions Program was successful. Through August 2013, CZM will serve on the management committee for the project To Stimulate Innovation and Increase the Pace of Municipal Responses to a Changing Climate in the Coastal Zone of the Northeast and Bay of Fundy. Project tasks include researching best practices to accommodate sea level rise, providing municipal technical assistance, and disseminating hazards and planning information through webinars, workshops, and the StormSmart Coasts Network. In September, GOMC and NROC solicited proposals from coastal communities in New England for innovative efforts to address the impacts of a changing climate. Six projects totaling $150,000 will be funded in 2012-2013 to serve as pilots for other coastal cities and towns looking to adapt to changing conditions.
Hazard Mitigation Grants for New Factsheets - In November, CZM was awarded two Federal Hazard Mitigation Grants of $5,000 each to develop and print factsheets to help local officials and homeowners deal with coastal flooding and storm damage issues. With these funds, CZM will produce a factsheet for local officials to help them interpret flood maps and use them for planning purposes. CZM will also produce a factsheet for homeowners with information on who to contact before building or rebuilding near the coast. Once finished, these factsheets will be available on the StormSmart Coasts website.
CZM to Host Eighth Coastal Management Fellow - Through a competitive process, CZM has been selected to host a new NOAA Coastal Services Center Coastal Management Fellow for August 2012 to August 2014. The federally funded Fellow will implement the project Expanding Climate Change Adaptation Options in Massachusetts by Addressing Competing-Use Issues for Beach Nourishment. Drawing from and building on the marine spatial planning information, data, analyses, and policies developed for the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, the Fellow will work with CZM and a team of other state and federal agency staff to assess and promote beach and dune nourishment as a viable and cost-effective climate change adaptation tool for shore protection. The Fellow will have the opportunity to advance the science, socioeconomic, and engineering knowledge base for beach nourishment in Massachusetts by: researching impacts of sediment extraction and transport; investigating upland and marine sediment source options; designing screening criteria for potential sources; and developing policy, planning, and management recommendations for beach nourishment projects. CZM looks forward to hosting our eighth Fellow through this NOAA program!
CPR Grant Program Concludes Another Successful Year - In 2011, CZM awarded $375,500 through the Coastal Pollutant Remediation (CPR) Grant Program to coastal communities to reduce pollution from road runoff, boat sewage, and other nonpoint sources. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 recipients are:
COASTSWEEP 2011 - This year marked the 24th anniversary of COASTSWEEP, the statewide annual beach cleanup sponsored by CZM and organized by the Urban Harbors Institute. Although final results from the 2011 cleanups are still pending, preliminary reports show that approximately 2,226 volunteers cleaned more than 118 miles of coastline, river bank, marsh, seafloor, and lakeshore in Massachusetts—collecting 17,744 pounds of debris from 110 locations. To highlight cleanup efforts throughout the state, EEA and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) welcomed more than 200 students and teachers from the Josiah Quincy Upper School in Boston at a cleanup of DCR's Carson Beach. From a distance, the beach looked clean, but together these 6th and 7th graders, along with their teachers and EEA volunteers, collected more than 1,300 cigarette butts, 400 food wrappers and containers, 350 plastic bags, and much, much more. COASTSWEEP is part of an international effort organized by the Ocean Conservancy with participants all over the world collecting marine debris and recording the types of trash they find. This information is then used to help reduce future marine debris problems. CZM is proud to be part of this effort and would like to thank the other generous 2011 COASTSWEEP sponsors: EEA, UHI, DCR, Weston Solutions, RBC Capital Markets, and Bisnar/Chase LLP. For more information about COASTSWEEP 2011 or to get involved in future cleanups, see the COASTSWEEP website. Also, check out COASTSWEEP photos on Facebook.
New and Improved MORIS Mapping Tool - In March, CZM released a new and improved Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System, or MORIS. This web-based coastal mapping tool can be used to search, display, and query spatial data pertaining to the Massachusetts coastal zone. Building on the success of the previous version of MORIS, this new version offers enhanced speed, the capability to display Google and OpenStreetMap base maps, new search functions, and a modern look and feel. Users can interactively view various data layers (e.g., tide gauge stations, marine protected areas, public access points, eelgrass beds, etc.) over a backdrop of aerial photographs, political boundaries, natural resources, human uses, bathymetry, or other data. Users can quickly create and share maps and download the data for use in a GIS. This new and improved MORIS was created by CZM, the Massachusetts Bureau of Geographical Information (MassGIS), the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership (now SeaPlan), Applied Science Associates, and Charlton Galvarino. Stay tuned for further MORIS enhancements in early 2012—including a new print tool, data layer symbology that users may change, and even more base map options.
2010 Marine Invasive Species Data Now Available in MORIS - Data layers representing the distribution of 13 priority marine invaders are now available to view through MORIS. The new layers were created from observations at 59 monitoring sites during 2010 by partners and citizen scientists of CZM's Marine Invader Monitoring and Information Collaborative. To view the new data layers, go to the MORIS website. Once you read the information on that page and launch MORIS, the data layers can be found in the "Biology" folder in the "Marine Invasive Species" subfolder under "2010 Monitoring." Data collected from 2009 and 2008 are also available, and observations from 2011 are expected to be available early next year. For more information about marine invasive species and monitoring efforts, please see the CZM Invasive Species Program website.
Edgartown Renewable Energy Project - CZM continued its participation in discussions with the town of Edgartown for its proposed tidal energy project. This project will use horizontal helical turbines to generate energy from the tidal flow in the Muskeget Channel, located between Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. The project is in the pilot project design stage, and CZM will continue its review as this project progresses through the permitting process. The Secretary of EEA issued a MEPA certificate on the Expanded Environmental Notification Form in April. In August, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a preliminary permit and granted the project priority to file a license application.
Dredging and Beach Nourishment Projects - In 2011, CZM reviewed a number of dredging proposals submitted for MEPA review. These projects included: the Bass River dredging project in Beverly, the town of Oak Bluffs beach nourishment and groin/jetty rehabilitation project, the Morris Island Cut improvement dredging project in Chatham, and the South River navigational dredging project in Salem. In addition to state-level project review, CZM reviews federal projects, projects requiring federal permits, and projects that receive federal money to ensure that they meet state standards. Through this process, CZM issued federal consistency concurrences on projects including: the federal navigation project in Duxbury, the maintenance dredging of the Chelsea River associated with the Chelsea Street bridge replacement, the town of Yarmouth's 10-year comprehensive dredging and beach nourishment plan, and the Logan Airport runway safety improvement plan. CZM continues to assist Massport on the design of both eelgrass and salt marsh mitigation projects to ensure that Massport complies with CZM's enforceable policies (PDF, 430 KB).
EPA NPDES Permits - As part of CZM's federal consistency review of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, concurrences were issued for 10 permits/renewals/modifications including: ExxonMobil in Everett, Governor's Academy in Byfield, Manchester-by-the-Sea wastewater treatment plant, and Clean Harbors Braintree. Also reviewed were the General Permits for Small Municipal Separate Storm Systems in North and South coastal waters, a General Permit for Certain Publicly Owned Treatment Works and Other Facilities Treating Domestic Sewage, and a nationwide Pesticide General Permit.
Comcast Falmouth-to-Tisbury Fiber Optic Cable Project - CZM provided comments to MEPA and technical assistance to the proponent on a proposal to install a fiber optic feeder cable under Vineyard Sound. CZM's comments focused on the proposed project's conformance with the siting and performance standards contained in the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan. These standards apply to projects in the ocean planning area that are required under MEPA to develop an Environmental Impact Report. Under the Ocean Plan, the proposed project must avoid certain special, sensitive, or unique areas, including areas of hard/complex seafloor, intertidal flats, and eelgrass. With input from CZM and other agencies, the proponent modified its original proposal and developed a route to avoid these areas or minimize impacts to them.
Port and Harbor Planning Activities - A number of communities have been working on existing or new harbor plans in 2011. On the North Shore, CZM staff continues to provide technical assistance to the city of Gloucester as it defines its harbor planning strategies for the future. Gloucester has requested and received approval from the EEA Secretary for a one-year extension of the term of its current Municipal Harbor Plan and Designated Port Area Master Plan to continue work on key plan strategies to build a diverse maritime industry, strengthen the local commercial fishing industry, and support waterfront activation. The plan, originally scheduled to expire on December 15, 2011, will now expire on December 15, 2012. In Boston Harbor, CZM continues to provide technical assistance to the Boston Redevelopment Authority as it anticipates a planning process for the Downtown Municipal Harbor Plan and ongoing renewal of previously approved plans. On the South Shore, CZM provided a harbor planning overview presentation to the Marshfield Waterways Committee, Harbormaster, and Board of Selectmen liaison. The focus of the presentation was planning considerations related to Chapter 91 Waterways regulations, preservation of water-dependent uses, shore-side infrastructure, addressing competing uses, and preserving and enhancing ecological resources. CZM also provided technical assistance to the Hingham Harbormaster's office regarding harbor planning considerations for Hingham's inner harbor, provisions for shore-side vessel pumpout capabilities, and management of the town's primary recreational beach. In the Cape Cod and Islands region, CZM staff has been working with the town of Provincetown to complete the Provincetown Municipal Harbor Plan renewal process. The town has been working on this plan since 2004, when its original Municipal Harbor Plan expired. The town has been able to address a number of complex harbor planning issues in the new plan and is now in the final stages of the plan renewal process. Formal approval of the new harbor plan is expected by the end of 2012. Harbor planning activity in the South Coast included CZM meeting with members of Wareham's Harbor Planning Committee to discuss the town's update of its 1995 local harbor plan. Specifically, CZM provided advice on how to incorporate sea level rise considerations into an updated local plan. CZM and the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program staff also provided new GIS-based maps and figures for the updated local plan. For more information about CZM's harbor planning efforts, contact CZM's Regional Coordinators.
Designated Port Areas - CZM has initiated a pilot inventory project, which will survey the Designated Port Areas (DPA) in New Bedford, East Boston, and Gloucester. The project is expected to provide a physical inventory of port infrastructure and uses, and also a better understanding of the operational characteristics for these selected ports. CZM also finished updating the DPA boundary maps and descriptions this year. The current official DPA maps were transformed into digital format and slight modifications were made to facilitate boundary identification. The DPA boundary maps are now available on CZM's new Designated Port Area website.
NEW: 2013 Nominations - CZM anticipates the release of a Request for Responses (RFR) in February 2012 seeking applications for funding under the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP). CELCP provides state and local governments with matching funds to purchase significant coastal and estuarine lands (or conservation easements on such lands) that are considered important for their ecological, conservation, recreational, historic, or aesthetic values. Applications will be reviewed and ranked for possible nomination to NOAA for evaluation and potential Federal Fiscal Year 2013 CELCP funding. CZM anticipates that responses will be due in late March and nomination packages due to NOAA early in April. CZM encourages municipalities and other prospective applicants to begin planning and developing potential land conservation projects. CZM staff is available to provide guidance prior to the RFR release. To discuss potential project ideas with CZM, contact David Janik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2012 Nomination - CZM worked extensively with the Buzzards Bay Coalition to improve and strengthen the state's nomination of the Nasketucket Bay State Reservation Expansion Project to NOAA's Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program for potential FY 2012 CELCP funding. The project seeks $2.53 million in federal funds to match an equal amount of non-federal funds to protect 208 acres of land adjacent to and nearby the existing Nasketucket State Reservation in Mattapoisett. The lands proposed for protection have exceptional ecological values and strong conservation, recreational, aesthetic, and historic values. Project partners include DCR and the towns of Mattapoisett and Fairhaven. The project nomination was made in May 2011 and NOAA review and ranking of projects from all over the nation is ongoing.
Marine Invader Monitoring and Information Collaborative - During the summer of 2011, 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 2011, nearly 100 volunteers from 10 partner groups were trained to monitor for priority marine invasive species at 60-plus sites in Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Highlights included the first sighting of the shrimp Palaemon elegans at a tidepool in southern Maine. This shrimp was recorded for the first time in North America at a site in Salem Sound during a 2010 Rapid Assessment Survey, which was coordinated by CZM and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sea Grant program. Palaemon elegans is a European species that can grow to over two inches in length and is able to consume a number of smaller marine organisms. MIMIC volunteers have also tracked the progress of the shrimp at sites in Salem Sound and Gloucester Harbor.
Marine Invasive Species Monitoring Guide - CZM's Invasive Species Program has revised and updated Monitoring Marine Invasive Species: Guidance and Protocols for Volunteer Monitoring Groups to reflect important changes in MIMIC protocols. Monitoring Marine Invasive Species is the primary guidance document for MIMIC and contains information on site selection, monitoring protocols, safety, and identification resources that can be adapted for any monitoring effort. The revisions include: the addition of three new species—the bryozoan Bugula neritina, the shrimp Palaemon elegans, and the amphipod (skeleton shrimp) Caprella mutica—bringing the total number of priority species monitored by the program to 23; a new shrimp monitoring protocol; enhanced identification resources; and a factsheet for volunteers to use in conversation with the general public. For more information, see the CZM Invasive Species Program website.
Invasive Species Talks - CZM's Adrienne Pappal delivered talks around the region as part of a larger effort to present data collected in the last three years by MIMIC to a wider audience. The talks were given at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve in Wells, Maine, and the Eight Towns and the Bay Committee in Ipswich and featured a discussion on the marine invasive species found in the region's waters, potential impacts, and efforts to manage them.
CZM Emergency Management in 2011 - 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. In 2011, there was only one activation of the state Emergency Operations Center involving CZM—Hurricane Irene. In addition to this activation, CZM coordinated the update of Continuity of Operations Plans and Continuity of Government Plans for EEA and its line agencies, participated in chemical and biological hazard planning and training, and took part in conference calls and distributed information to EEA and other agencies on weather and other hazards that impacted Massachusetts. CZM also worked with the U.S. Coast Guard on Area Committee Planning, assisted with the tracking of wastewater treatment discs that were discharged from the Hooksett, New Hampshire wastewater treatment plant into the Merrimack River, and studied the possible use of volunteers in oil spill response. In October, CZM presented "How did the December 26-27 2010 Nor'easter measure up?" to the Southern New England Weather Conference in Canton.
Storm Team Activated for Tropical Storm Irene - At the request of MEMA, CZM activated the Rapid Response Coastal Storm Damage Assessment Team (Storm Team) to assess coastal storm damage from Tropical Storm Irene. Thirty-five members of the Storm Team mobilized at first light on August 29 to assess the level of damage to natural resources, harbors, infrastructure, and buildings along the oceanfront shoreline of Massachusetts. Using StormReporter—an innovative web tool that enables rapid delivery and archiving of storm damage information to inform emergency response activities, weather predictions, and project planning—more than 200 reports were provided to MEMA, NWS, and other agencies to inform decisions regarding the deployment of state and federal resources and NWS advisories regarding the storm. Storm Team members observed extensive damage to trees, resulting in branches and whole trees falling on power lines, roads, and some buildings. Most areas of the coast received some minor erosion of beaches and dunes, while a few areas had more dramatic erosion and shifting of beaches, dunes, barrier beaches, and inlets. The damage to roads ranged from widespread overwash of sand, gravel, and seaweed on streets directly adjacent to the shore to undermining of a seawall adjacent to a road and major damage to a paved road in Westport. Minor damage to a few piers and other infrastructure in two harbors was observed and numerous boats came off moorings and were pushed ashore. Three inlet channels to salt ponds were completely blocked by sand and cobble deposits in Falmouth and Dartmouth. The November/December 2011 issue of Coastal Services, a NOAA Coastal Services Center magazine, features an article on the Storm Team effort to assess coastal damage from Irene. To track hurricanes next season, see CZM's Complete Guide to Online Hurricane Tracking for Massachusetts.
Archaeological Site Work - Fieldwork opportunities took an unusual turn in 2011 for the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources (BUAR), in response to reports from the public. Lobstermen reported the recovery of ancient anchors in their trawl lines off Cape Ann and Plymouth, and one of these anchors dates to the period of the American Revolution or earlier. Several previously undocumented shipwreck remains along the Commonwealth's coastline became visible through storm action or dredging-related studies. Remains were reported at Chatham (Monomoy Island), Orleans, Edgartown, and New Bedford.
Archaeological Interns - Assistance provided by interns was significant and very helpful to BUAR in 2011. Through the spring and summer, Justin Bensley, Masters of Arts, University of Edinburgh, the United Kingdom, joined BUAR as an unpaid post-graduate research fellow working on the Shoreline Heritage Identification Partnership Strategy (SHIPS) initiative. In the spring, Northeastern University undergraduate student Lucas Schoeppner joined BUAR as an unpaid research assistant working on National Register of Historic Places site nomination applications. In the fall, Natalie Sussman, Masters of Arts, Tufts University, joined BUAR as an unpaid post-graduate research fellow continuing work on BUAR's shipwreck inventory. Thank you all for your assistance!
Battle of Chelsea Creek Grant - BUAR completed work on a National Park Service's American Battlefield Protection Program grant to study the American Revolutionary War Battle of Chelsea Creek. This little known battle on May 27-28, 1775, was the first victory for the "United Colonies" and the first naval engagement of the Revolution resulting in the capture and burning of the HMS Diana. BUAR Director Victor Mastone and UMass graduate students/BUAR research fellows Craig Brown and Chris Maio reconstructed battle events and the historic landscape to define and interpret the battle and narrowed the search area for the remains of HMS Diana. A number of public presentations have been given on their research.
Marine Archaeology Celebrated in October - October was Massachusetts Archaeology Month. In celebration, BUAR participated in the Archaeological Institute of America's Archaeology Fair at the Boston Museum of Science. The fair was directed to school groups on the first day and it opened up to families and the general public on the second day. BUAR activities included a mock "dig" of a shipwreck and other exhibits. BUAR Director Victor Mastone was assisted by BUAR research fellow Craig Brown.
National System of Marine Protected Areas - The fifth round of nominations to the National System of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) closed in October and included cultural heritage resource sites managed by the state of Massachusetts—BUAR's 40 Exempted Shipwreck Sites. The nominated sites will be published soon in the Federal Register for public comment. Following review of public comments, these final nominations will be formally accepted as members of the national system of MPAs. BUAR Director Victor Mastone was an appointed member of the Federal Advisory Committee on Marine Protected Areas and served as its parliamentarian. He was co-chair of its Cultural Heritage Resources Working Group, which produced a white paper entitled Recommendation for Integrated Management Using a Cultural Landscape Approach in the National MP System (PDF, 663 KB).
Wetlands Monitoring and Assessment Program - CZM completed the third year of assessing the biological conditions of salt marshes in Massachusetts, working hand-in-hand with MassDEP to continue the development of a robust Wetlands Monitoring and Assessment Program for the Commonwealth. During the 2011 monitoring season, CZM staff led a team of researchers from CZM, MassDEP, and Salem Sound Coastwatch to collect data on vascular plants, macroinvertebrates, and habitat complexity at 15 sites across coastal Massachusetts. Since 2009, 130 sites have been sampled using the same protocols. All sampling data will be analyzed to evaluate a landscape-level GIS model developed by UMass Amherst researchers. This innovative computer model and program—Conservation Assessment and Prioritization System (CAPS)—predicts ecological integrity for any given point on the landscape using more than 25 specialized metrics. UMass, CZM, and MassDEP have recently enhanced the model by adding metrics specific to salt marshes (e.g., tidal restriction, ditching, etc.). The computer program lends itself to many applications and is capable of running scenario analyses to evaluate alternatives to proposed projects. An additional 50 sites were sampled for vegetation to assess the model's ability to predict land-use impacts on salt marsh border communities. Data from 175 sites are needed to verify and calibrate the CAPS computer model. The protocols used in this study build on tools developed through more than 15 years of salt marsh assessment at CZM. In the fall of 2011, CZM received word that EPA will grant another year of funding for research at 45 additional sites, which will complete the data set for the model. The new funding will also enable CZM to begin work to develop tools to assess potential impacts to coastal wetlands from sea level rise and to develop strategies.
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 2011 accomplishments for each region are provided below.
North Shore Region (Salisbury to Revere) - This year, CZM North Shore regional staff regularly provided direct technical assistance to communities in the region for coastal projects to address diverse issues such as coastal erosion, resource area delineation, dredging, coastal landscaping, Designated Port Area issues, and beach/dune best management practices. CZM worked with DCR and MassDEP staff to provide technical assistance to the communities of Ipswich, Gloucester, Essex, Rowley, and Newbury as they work toward a resource management approach for the Great Marsh Area of Critical Environmental Concern. The CZM North Shore office continues to coordinate the very popular North Shore Regional Conservation Commission Network, providing regular training for North Shore Conservation Commissions and staff. This network facilitates coordination between the cities and towns and state agencies and supplies an avenue for discussion of new regulatory and policy tools. CZM continues to take part in the Great Marsh Coalition, a diverse team of state agency and nonprofit organizations formed to strategize ways to improve awareness and promote stewardship of the North Shore's Great Marsh region. CZM also participates in the Parker, Ipswich, Essex River Restoration (PIEr2), with a similar focus to identify actions to protect and improve these watersheds, which directly impact coastal ecosystems on the upper North Shore.
Boston Harbor Region (Winthrop to Weymouth) - In 2011, CZM attended working group meetings regarding the Chelsea Street Bridge project in East Boston and Chelsea. Permits for the construction of new bulkheads and dredging to widen the channel were issued in 2011. The project is currently under construction. As a member, CZM provided technical assistance to the inter-agency working group that reviewed the project to improve the runway safety areas at the end of runways 22R and 33L at Logan Airport. Permits were issued in 2011, and construction and mitigation efforts are currently underway. This past summer, an eelgrass mitigation project was completed at White Head Flats in Hull Bay and Old Harbor in Boston. Results from the mitigation project are currently under review. Also in 2011, CZM worked with the Boston Redevelopment Authority on initial discussions related to a Downtown Municipal Harbor Plan and the renewal of the South Boston Municipal Harbor Plan. CZM also continued to provide technical assistance on issues relating to Designated Port Areas.
South Shore Region (Hingham to Plymouth) - CZM provided technical, grant writing, monitoring, and coordination assistance to a number of regionally significant wetland restoration, stewardship, and coastal hazard mitigation projects throughout the year. These efforts included: adaptive tide gate management for the Green Harbor River and Straits Pond restoration projects; hydrodynamic modeling and alternatives analysis for the Broad Cove restoration project in Hingham; close work with the town of Cohasset in the completion of the James Brook/Jacobs Meadow restoration project, including reviewing plans and permit applications, developing operation plans, tackling construction issues, and serving as liaison between project partners; participation in four subcommittees of the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program's Boston Harbor Restoration Atlas initiative; assistance in the completion of CPR-funded stormwater design work in Plymouth and Hull; support to the NOAA/NWS Flood Inundation and Visualization Pilot Project in Scituate through successful completion of the Reference Marker Project; support to the towns of Scituate, Marshfield, and Duxbury hazard planning and adaptation project; several deployments of the StormTeam to document and report on damage from coastal storm events using the web-based StormReporter; participation in ongoing beach profiling at Nantasket Beach in Hull; participation in the U.S. Coast Guard/MassDEP development of geographic oil spill response plans; and a demonstration workshop for the updated MORIS GIS project for local stakeholders.
Cape Cod and Islands Region (Bourne to Provincetown, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and Gosnold) - In 2011, CZM worked closely with Conservation Commissions throughout the Cape and Islands Region and continued to help coordinate the Cape and Islands Conservation Commission Network. CZM also provided direct technical assistance to Conservation Commissions in Truro, Eastham, Brewster, Harwich, Nantucket, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, West Tisbury, and Gosnold and worked with the towns of Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown to designate the Atlantic coast of Cape Cod, including Nauset Harbor, as a No Discharge Area. In addition, CZM regional staff assisted the towns of Eastham, Brewster, Nantucket, and Chatham in applying for various state grants; began providing technical assistance to Nantucket and the Martha's Vineyard Commission on two CZM-sponsored climate adaptation projects; and continued to serve on various boards and committees, including the Barnstable County Dredge Advisory Committee and Pleasant Bay Coastal Resource Workgroup, and as co-chair of the Barnstable County Coastal Resource Steering Committee.
South Coastal Region (Wareham to Seekonk) - CZM provided technical assistance to South Coastal communities on several issues and projects this year. CZM provided information to Wareham officials on good examples of Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plans drafted by communities that could serve as a template or model for other communities. CZM also provided information on hazard mitigation plan approval standards and previous hazard mitigation grants awarded in the state. New Bedford officials were provided with guidance on three potential CPR projects, one boat waste pumpout, and two stormwater remediation projects. Working closely with the Buzzards Bay Action Committee (BBAC), CZM held a workshop on the StormSmart Coasts initiative, with a focus on the first round of pilot projects. CZM also coordinated a presentation to BBAC on Hazard Mitigation planning and grants and worked closely with BBAC and the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions to hold a workshop on Erosion and Sedimentation Control that targeted South Coast Conservation Commissioners and Agents. CZM provided advice to the town of Marion on a stormwater assessment and sampling program that is partially funded by the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program and coordinated with the Buzzards Bay Trustees Council to convene a meeting on the Natural Resources Damages Assessment (NRDA) Restoration Planning Process. The meeting informed local and state officials and regional non-governmental organizations on the NRDA Restoration Planning Process, the amount of funds available, how to submit project ideas for consideration, eligible project categories, and the project implementation timeline. CZM also provided technical assistance to several project proponents to help guide project design and help navigate state and federal permitting processes. Projects included: maintenance of a tidal stream at the Kittansett Golf Club in Marion, a bulkhead and fill project to facilitate maritime industrial activity at the Fairhaven Shipyard, and a bridge replacement project on the Segregansett River in Dighton. CZM regularly provided technical assistance on a number of other issues and projects including coastal public access, boundary lines of Designated Port Areas and the coastal zone, and state and federal regulatory authorities.
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. The Massachusetts Bays NEP works to protect and enhance the coastal health and heritage of Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays. Each program's highlights from 2011 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. In September, EEA announced the award of eight environmental grants administered by the Buzzards Bay NEP. These grants—totaling $180,958 to eight Buzzards Bay watershed towns—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 fund land conservation and infrastructure improvement projects designed to conserve open space and rare species habitat and protect drinking water resources. The 2011 grants were awarded to the towns of Westport (Stormwater Remediation Designs for River Road, $20,000); Bourne (Buttermilk Way Stormwater Remediation, $20,000); Mattapoisett (Mattapoisett Riverfront Land Projection Project, $35,000); Rochester (digitization of wetland boundaries in Rochester and Level 3 update, $15,000); Fairhaven (Nasketucket Fields Land Protection Project, $35,000); Acushnet (LaPalme Riverside Farm Land Projection Project, $18,652.66); Wareham (Weweantic River Corridor Land Protection Project, $18,652.66); and Marion (Water Quality Testing and Stormwater Monitoring Program, $18,652.66).
Massachusetts Estuaries Project - In 2011, the Buzzards Bay NEP continued to provide technical support to MassDEP in the review of Massachusetts Estuaries Program Total Maximum Daily Load reports and the data used in these reports.
Buzzards Bay Oil Spill - The Buzzards Bay NEP, which had represented the Commonwealth on the aquatic resources technical work group for the natural resources damage assessment for the 2003 Bouchard Oil Spill, began working with other state and federal agencies and Buzzards Bay municipalities to help guide the development of projects for the more than $6 million in funds set aside to restore damaged resources.
Buzzards Bay Management Plan - The Buzzards Bay NEP drafted an updated Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for Buzzards Bay and is now working with municipalities and agencies to finalize the draft. The updated plan will be publicly released early in 2012.
Technical Assistance - In 2011, the Buzzards Bay NEP continued to assist municipalities and other partners with development of local regulatory protection strategies, review of local projects, and design of stormwater treatment systems. The NEP provided considerable technical support to the Buzzards Bay Coalition and area land trusts in their efforts to protect important habitat and open space in Buzzards Bay, including helping in the preparation of grant applications and preparation of maps for education and outreach. The NEP also gave technical support analyzing data for the Buzzards Bay Coalition's planned 2012 State of the Bay Report. Other support included assisting with the drafting of stormwater regulations for the town of Marion; updating a buildout analysis for the Fairhaven Public Works Department; preparing GIS parcel updates for the town of Marion; developing conceptual stormwater designs for projects in Bourne and Westport; preparing a sewer line GIS data layer for the town of Marion; analyzing and mapping GIS data; and reviewing or delineating wetland boundaries for a number of projects around Buzzards Bay.
State of Bays Report - In early 2011, MassBays released State of the Bays, a report that summarizes the status of 17 indicators of the health of Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays under the categories of Water Quality, Living Resources, and Human Uses. State of the Bays includes sections on changes in the water chemistry of Boston Harbor due to improved wastewater management, causes of harmful algal blooms, trends in eelgrass beds throughout Massachusetts Bay, and acreage of land under permanent protection, to name just a few. This report serves as an update of the first State of the Bays publication, released in 2004, and represents the contributions of more than 25 experts in the field of coastal environmental management. The report is available electronically on the MassBays website, or you can request a hard copy from MassBays Staff Scientist Prassede Vella at email@example.com.
Boston Harbor Habitat Atlas - MassBays, in partnership with UHI and CZM and with the support of a Massachusetts Environmental Trust grant, developed a Digital Coastal Habitat Atlas for Boston Harbor. Project partners engaged more than 30 environmental interest groups active in the Boston Harbor region to form the Boston Harbor Habitat Coalition. Through a year-long series of meetings of the Coalition and its subcommittees, the Coalition identified and prioritized habitat protection and restoration opportunities for priority habitat types found throughout Boston Harbor and its contributing watersheds. An interactive database and website using MORIS as a platform was developed to depict, describe, and analyze data relating to the seven priority habitats: anadromous fish, intertidal flats, near shore submerged, rocky intertidal, salt marsh, seagrass beds, and shellfish beds. The Coalition will continue as an active stewardship group in the Boston Harbor region, while using the Boston Harbor Habitat Atlas as a guide for implementing protection and restoration initiatives. The Atlas will go live in early 2012.
Research and Planning Grants - In 2011, MassBays launched the Research and Planning Grant Program, which made $200,000 available for estuarine protection and restoration initiatives to assist MassBays in implementing the 2009-2012 Strategic Plan. Grants were awarded to the following municipalities, nonprofits, and academic institutions:
Building on the success of the first year of this grant program, MassBays requested proposals for round two of the grant program in the fall of 2011. Twenty-three proposals were submitted covering a wide range of issues from open space protection to eelgrass restoration. The projects selected for funding will be announced early in 2012.
Conservation Mooring Project - In November, MassBays and MarineFisheries wrapped up two eelgrass restoration projects in Manchester-by-the-Sea and Provincetown. These two-year projects focused on removing physical impacts to sensitive eelgrass habitat by replacing traditional block and chain moorings, which create large circular scars in eelgrass beds, with "conservation moorings." Conservation moorings replace both the block and chain with a helical anchor that screws into the seafloor and a floating elastic "rode" that never comes into contact with the bottom. The project team, which also includes Salem Sound Coastwatch and EPA, among others, replaced eight moorings in Manchester-by-the-Sea in the fall of 2010 and transplanted eelgrass into eelgrass scars in the summer of 2011. Eight additional moorings were replaced in Provincetown in the fall of 2011. Preliminary results show that the new moorings are working well. Eelgrass is beginning to grow into the scars in Manchester-by-the-Sea and an ongoing survey of participating boat owners suggests that they are very satisfied with the technology. MassBays and MarineFisheries will continue to monitor the recovery of eelgrass in these systems and are seeking funds to replace additional moorings elsewhere along the Massachusetts coast. The project was funded by a grant from the Association of National Estuary Programs and The Nature Conservancy.
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 promoted or recognized for accomplishments.
CZM Director Bruce Carlisle - In July, Bruce Carlisle was named CZM Director. In the announcement, the EEA Secretary stated, "As many of you know, Bruce has stepped up to the plate to serve as CZM Acting Director twice in the past five years, most recently in November 2010 with the departure of Deerin Babb-Brott. Each time, there has been nothing 'acting' about Bruce's performance at the helm of CZM. He has carried out the duties, responsibilities, and vision of the office with diligence, passion, and aplomb. I could not be more pleased that he is continuing to serve the Commonwealth in this role in a permanent capacity." Bruce has been with CZM since 1994, previously serving as Assistant Director, Wetlands Restoration Program Manager, and Wetlands and Water Quality Specialist.
Ocean Services Manager - In May, John Weber, CZM's Ocean Services Manager, left CZM for a new position as the Ocean Planning Director with the Northeast Regional Ocean Council. In his work as Ocean Services Manager, John brought significant effort, experience, insight, and professionalism to all the elements and complexities that went into developing and implementing the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan and other key issue and program areas, including more recent work on offshore wind planning. John is assuming a key role for NROC and will be bringing his Massachusetts experience to bear on regional issues critical to the Commonwealth.
Boston Harbor Regional Coordinator - In May, CZM welcomed Valerie Gingrich as the new coordinator for the Boston Harbor Region, filling an important position vacant since 2010. Valerie comes to CZM from the Boston Redevelopment Authority, where she worked as a waterfront planner. Prior to the BRA, she was the planner for the city of Salem. Valerie brings to her new position strong knowledge of urban harbor planning and environmental permitting—especially Chapter 91 and Municipal Harbor Planning—and hands-on experience working with Boston and area communities.
Coastal Shoreline and Floodplain Manager - In May, CZM's Julia Knisel—Coastal Resilience Specialist since 2006—was selected to be the new Coastal Shoreline and Floodplain Manager. Prior to CZM, Julia worked as a Marine Scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Julia brings her experience and qualifications to bear as she helps to coordinate CZM efforts for promoting sound climate change adaptation measures and reducing vulnerability for coastal hazard areas.
MassBays Special Projects Coordinator - In May, the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program welcomed Lisa Engler as the new Special Projects Coordinator. Lisa is the lead on outreach and communications for MassBays and also manages ongoing initiatives in the Boston Harbor Region, such as the Boston Harbor Habitat Atlas. Lisa is no stranger to Massachusetts state government, having served with the Department of Transportation and as Coastal Coordinator for DCR's Areas of Critical Environmental Concern Program.
CZM GIS Team Receives Performance Award - In March, CZM's GIS Team was recognized for its outstanding work. Through the Commonwealth's Performance Recognition Program, fellow employees nominate individuals or groups to receive awards for work that exceeds expectations. CZM's GIS team—Dan Sampson, Marc Carullo, and Emily Chambliss—were recognized for their collective work on the Massachusetts Ocean Plan, the Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System, and many other efforts that greatly enhance the goals of CZM.