Welcome to the year-in-review edition of CZ-Mail, which highlights many of the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) accomplishments in 2012, 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 2013.
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Overview of 2012 at CZM
From advances in ocean planning and management to significant steps in coastal water quality and habitat protection, CZM had many important successes in 2012. Along with continued implementation of the pioneering Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, CZM worked as part of the Northeast Regional Ocean Council and the newly formed Northeast Regional Ocean Planning Body on foundational elements of a regional ocean planning framework that advances the National Ocean Policy. With the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), CZM continued coordination with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on the planning and analysis for renewable wind energy development on the outer continental shelf offshore Massachusetts. Also this year, with CZM's leadership and assistance, Massachusetts realized a major milestone with the designation of the Mount Hope Bay and South Cape Cod and Islands No Discharge Areas (NDAs). Through these last two major designations, boat sewage discharge is now effectively banned along the entire coast. Through two rounds of its Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grants Program, CZM provided direct support to coastal communities for on-the-ground projects to reduce pollution and improve the health of coastal resources, such as shellfish beds, beaches, and fish runs. In 2012, Massachusetts was hit by several major storms—including Hurricane Sandy in October and the early June Nor'easter—which sent out CZM's Storm Team members to survey coastal communities and submit important damage assessment reports. Also in June, Brad Washburn was appointed as CZM's Assistant Director, bringing his expertise in planning and management to CZM's leadership team. These and other highlights and accomplishments for CZM and its hosted programs in 2012 are summarized below.
CZM Program Accomplishments
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 accomplishments for each CZM program area are listed below.
Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan Implementation - In 2012, CZM continued to lead implementation of the landmark Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan with efforts focused on coordinated project review, advancing elements of plan administration, and addressing data/science priorities. In June and August, the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs issued Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) office certificates for a co-located fiber optic and electric cable project between Falmouth and Tisbury. The MEPA filings for the project were based on thorough work done by the proponent team to map and characterize the seafloor and benthic habitat of the project site. Informed by review and comment by CZM, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), and the Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries) on the Environmental Impact Report and Notice of Project Change, the Secretary's certificates confirmed that the project proposed by Comcast Cable and NStar Electric Company met the siting standards of the plan. While the proponents are currently seeking approvals on required state, regional, and local permits, the extensive resource characterization work and project coordination will result in a more efficient and expedient review and authorization processes. In terms of plan administration, a draft set of implementing regulations—developed with input and guidance from an advisory group consisting of a broad cross-section of stakeholders and interests—was reviewed and endorsed by the Ocean Advisory Commission. The draft regulations are undergoing final administrative review and approval to be followed by formal issuance and rulemaking with a public comment and public hearing process. CZM has also continued with progress on addressing the priorities of the plan's Science Framework, including further characterization of marine habitat and ground-truthing of seafloor maps, incorporation of data from complex oceanographic models, and development of new spatial data on recreational boating in the region. (See the summaries for each of these highlights below.)
Northeast Regional Ocean Council - The Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC) is a state and federal partnership that provides a voluntary forum for New England states and federal partners to coordinate and collaborate on regional approaches to support balanced uses and conservation of the Northeast region's ocean and coastal resources. CZM Director Bruce Carlisle is a NROC council member and currently serves as state co-chair alongside federal co-chair Robert LaBelle of the Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. 2012 was a busy year for NROC as it engaged in strategic assessment and planning efforts for its goals and priorities, terms of operation, committee structure, and communications. Coming out of that process, NROC affirmed that its current focus is on three issue areas—Ocean and Coastal Ecosystem Health, Coastal Hazards Resilience, and Ocean Planning—and for each issue area, NROC maintains a standing committee that defines and implements specific actions. In addition to the development of new work plans for each committee, other accomplishments in 2012 included:
- Development and launch of a new NROC website, communication pieces, and logo.
- Convening of a Northeast Workshop on Regional Ocean Planning at Roger Williams Law School where invited representatives from state, federal, and tribal government, industry, academia, nonprofit and private organizations, and others received overviews of existing and related work and shared perspectives informing the launch of a regional ocean planning effort for New England.
- Continued development of the Northeast Ocean Data Portal—an online source of easy-to-use maps for people involved in ocean planning, providing socioeconomic and ecological data.
- Engagement with ocean industry sectors and conservation interests through surveys, interviews, and hands-on workshops to identify status, trends, future outlooks, and issues to inform regional ocean planning and to establish relationships and mechanisms for ongoing dialogue.
- Working with CZM, other New England state coastal programs, and partners on a project to improve coordination and collaboration on marine habitat characterization and classification.
- Holding of a Sea Level Rise Impacts Workshop that brought together managers and data/GIS practitioners to discuss inundation mapping efforts. Participants were presented with the latest sea level rise projections, status of LIDAR available for the region, mapping techniques, and details of municipal projects. Hands-on training sessions also provided participants with the opportunity to try new software and tools.
- Building climate adaptation capacity of municipalities through a series of planning and implementation grants that will provide transfer of best practices and knowledge to other communities.
Inaugural Meeting of the Northeast Regional Ocean Planning Body - On November 19 and 20, the first meeting of the Northeast Regional Ocean Planning Body was held in Portland, Maine. Pursuant to the National Ocean Policy, which was formalized under an Executive Order issued in July 2010, the Northeast Regional Ocean Planning Body is charged with leading the process to develop regional ocean plans that build upon existing governmental authorities and planning processes to improve management, siting, and regulatory decisions affecting coastal and ocean resources and uses. The Northeast Regional Ocean Planning Body is comprised of two representatives from each New England state, 10 federal agency representatives, a state member of the New England Fisheries Management Council, and representatives from the 10 federally recognized tribes of the region. CZM Director Bruce Carlisle and Division of Marine Fisheries Director Paul Diodati serve as the Commonwealth's delegates. Through the meeting, the group launched its planning and public participation efforts for the region, which will continue into 2013 and beyond.
White House CEQ Chair Hosts National Ocean Policy Roundtable in Boston - In July, President Obama's Chair of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), Nancy Sutley, was in Boston to host a roundtable on the National Ocean Policy and the work of the National Ocean Council (NOC). Joined by NOC Director Deerin Babb-Brott, CEQ Chair Sutley discussed ocean and coastal issues in New England with local invited representatives. CZM Director and Northeast Regional Ocean Council state co-chair, Bruce Carlisle, and EEA Assistant Secretary for Federal Affairs Bill White spoke about the Obama Administration's leadership with the National Ocean Policy and the development of implementation plans and public participation efforts on ocean planning, fishing, and offshore wind.
CZM Surveyed Seafloor aboard the Bold - In August, CZM staff successfully completed a seven-day oceanographic survey aboard the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Ocean Survey Vessel Bold. The survey team collected samples of seafloor sediments and organisms and took underwater videos and still photos of the seafloor and its marine life. The survey was a unique partnership that included participants from MarineFisheries, MassDEP, Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program (MassBays), Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Division, and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), along with CZM and EPA. The team gathered seafloor photographs from 350 stations, 219 sediment grain size samples, and 207 infauna samples using the USGS SEABOSS sampling system. Identification and quantification of the infauna (organisms that live in the sediment) is underway, which will help identify unique groups of organisms in the different depth zones, sediment types, or study regions. These efforts directly support a CZM and USGS seafloor mapping program. The updated habitat maps will also help CZM refine the resource maps used in the 2009 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan and will assist CZM and other agencies in their siting and permitting of ocean uses.
Offshore Renewable Energy - Much activity occurred this year on the potential development of renewable energy in federal waters off the Massachusetts coast. With EEA, CZM continued work with BOEM on the planning and analysis stages of the federal Smart from the Start Initiative. On February 13 and 14, EEA and CZM hosted BOEM officials for public meetings in Tisbury and Boston on its Call for Information and Nominations to seek wind developer interest in the identified "Call Area" in federal waters offshore Massachusetts, inform the determination as to competitive interest, and seek information about site conditions, resources, and multiple uses in or near the Call Area. Later in February, BOEM announced the formal identification of a Wind Energy Area (WEA) for an area in federal waters off the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and then in May, BOEM announced the delineation of the WEA offshore Massachusetts. In July, August, and November, EEA and CZM hosted BOEM for a series of public meetings on the environmental and leasing processes underway. In addition to the public meetings, EEA and CZM convened the Massachusetts Offshore Wind Habitat and Fishing Working Groups for detailed discussions about habitat and fisheries related issues. An official listing of BOEM proposals and comment opportunities are provided on their Massachusetts web page. Stay tuned to CZ-Mail for continued updates in 2013.
Massachusetts Recreational Boating Survey - In 2012, SeaPlan partnered with CZM and the Northeast Regional Ocean Council, recreational boating industry, University of Massachusetts (UMass), and other state coastal management programs to conduct a 2012 Northeast Recreational Boater Survey as part of its efforts to advance ocean planning throughout the region. The information gathered will supplement the data being collected through the more rigorous 2012 assessment—a monthly, online survey of thousands of randomly selected boaters from New York to Maine. Information from both efforts will document the importance of recreational boating to the Northeast and will ensure boating activity receives appropriate consideration in ocean planning.
Gulf of Maine Council - In June, the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment (GOMC) presented its annual recognition awards, including two Visionary Awards and one Sustainable Community Award to people working in Massachusetts to improve the environmental quality of the Gulf of Maine. Joseph Grady and Maureen Thomas, Conservation Agents for the towns of Duxbury and Kingston, respectively, and Kerry Mackin, long-time Director of the Ipswich River Watershed Association (IRWA), received Massachusetts Visionary Awards and the Sustainable Community Award went to the town of Scituate's water division. In September, the GOMC-NOAA Community-Based Habitat Restoration Partnership, which funds coastal habitat restoration projects within the Gulf of Maine watershed, awarded a total of $140,000 to two Massachusetts projects in Plymouth and Scituate. Also this year, the Council's EcoSystem Indicator Partnership (ESIP) released the fourth of seven indicator-specific fact sheets. Eutrophication Issues in the Gulf of Maine summarizes data from the Gulf of Maine for four key indicators of eutrophication (i.e., nutrient over enrichment)—nitrogen and phosphorus, chlorophyll, water clarity, and dissolved oxygen—along with a snap shot 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 Offshore Ecosystems and Habitats (PDF, 2 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 provides an overview of the offshore ecosystems and habitats of the Gulf of Maine, highlighting the important natural and human-caused driving forces and pressures that affect the offshore environment. For 2012-2013, Massachusetts is the Council's Secretariat, and CZM Director Bruce Carlisle currently serves as Council Chair. In December, Massachusetts hosted the Council and its Working Group at EPA's Boston offices for the Council's semi-annual meetings.
Seafloor Mapping Initiative - In October, CZM and USGS signed a new three-year, cost-sharing agreement to conduct high-resolution seafloor mapping seaward of Martha's Vineyard and adjacent to No Man's Land. The data will be collected on two research cruises in 2013, and the final map publication is expected in 2015. Areas previously mapped and published as part of a CZM and USGS seafloor mapping program include: Nahant to Gloucester (2006), Boston Harbor (2006), Cape Ann to Salisbury Beach (2009), Duxbury to Hull (2010), and Northern Cape Cod Bay (2010). Reports on seafloor data already collected in Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound will be released in early 2013. Since 2003, this cooperative program has mapped the geology of approximately 2,200 square kilometers (849 square miles) of the Commonwealth's coastal ocean.
Seafloor Habitat Mapping Interns - Undergraduate interns from Suffolk University's Environmental Science Program provided a significant boost to CZM's seafloor habitat mapping program. Together, Rachel Lovato, Jessica Silver, Stephanie Poulin, Alex Kosta, and Steve Neivert analyzed 4,500 seafloor photos taken on various cruises by USGS, CZM, and MarineFisheries. The students meticulously quantified the amounts of fine sediment, gravel, cobble, and boulder in the images. The data will be used to update the map of the Hard/Complex Seafloor protected area in the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan. In addition, the students created maps and charts and performed statistical analysis to answer questions of their own. The students' work was presented to their peers and faculty as either Independent Study or as part of their Practicum requirements for their Environmental Science major.
CZM Coordinates Funding for Hydrological Modeling - In 2012, CZM chaired a working group that oversees a SeaPlan-funded, UMass-Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) project to produce a hindcast (a projection of past events, as opposed to a forecast, which is a projection of future events) of oceanographic parameters (surface and bottom temperature, salinity, stratification, and current velocity) for 1978-2010. The project uses the Finite Volume Community Ocean Model to produce hourly estimates that can then be binned to the desired timescale (e.g., monthly, seasonally, annually). These data will be used to look for patterns and to help explain the observed distribution of sediments and/or biota in Massachusetts waters over time. Using historic current velocity data combined with seafloor sediment type, CZM and USGS are planning to develop maps that describe the frequency of disturbance of the Massachusetts seafloor. These maps will help CZM and others evaluate the stability of various habitats, which may inform siting preferences for marine projects.
Assessment of Seafloor Resources in the Offshore Wind Energy Area - In March, on behalf of EEA, CZM awarded funds from the Ocean and Waterways Trust Fund to Dr. Kevin Stokesbury of SMAST to photograph and report on the seafloor sediment and biota in the federal, offshore wind leasing area south of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. The work, completed in October, was an extension of the existing SMAST-Industry cooperative video survey that focuses on sea scallop habitat and abundance from Maryland to Massachusetts. The CZM project resulted in video and digital camera images at 824 locations across 6,853 square kilometers and will help to inform the BOEM offshore wind leasing and site assessment process described above.
Shoreline and Floodplain Management
Shoreline Change Project - In 2012, CZM worked with USGS to produce a new, contemporary oceanfront shoreline for Massachusetts. Under contract to CZM, the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center delineated a mean-high-water shoreline based on aerial orthophotographs and Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) data. Shoreline change rates were analyzed and are currently being finalized. This effort will update the Massachusetts 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. In September and October, CZM held five shoreline change workshops to present the new and historic digital shorelines, demonstrate how to explore the shorelines and rates of change using a new shoreline change browser, and discuss applications of the data to coastal decision making. The updated and improved shoreline change information generated through this project will be available through the new shoreline change browser and the Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (MORIS) in early 2013.
StormSmart Coasts Outreach - Throughout 2012, CZM's StormSmart Coasts Program held regional workshops and made presentations at various meetings, symposiums, and webinars. Workshop and presentation topics focused on sea level rise and adaptation planning. Coastal inundation and municipal responses to sea level rise will continue to be the focus for 2013. CZM also assisted the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions with the recently released Massachusetts Runoff, Erosion & Sediment Control Field Guide. This 65-page, waterproof, pocket guide for those involved in planning, executing, and monitoring construction projects includes a coastal section that provides best management practices for erosion control techniques.
New England Municipal Coastal Resilience Initiative - As co-chair of the Northeast Regional Ocean Council's Coastal Hazards Resilience Committee, CZM continues to manage a regional adaptation project funded by the NOAA Climate Program Office to advance municipal adaptation to sea level rise around the region. In 2012, six municipal pilot projects were awarded funding, including one in Scituate, Marshfield, and Duxbury. Work is ongoing and projects will be completed by the summer of 2013. The South Shore project is building on work completed by CZM and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council in 2011. Best practices, case studies, communications materials, and results of the pilot projects will be featured on the StormSmart Coasts Network website in the fall of 2013.
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 2013 to August 2015. The federally funded fellow will implement a project entitled, 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 review documented impacts of sediment extraction and transport; investigate upland and marine sediment source options; design screening criteria for potential sources; and develop policy, planning, and management recommendations for beach nourishment projects. CZM looks forward to hosting our eighth fellow through this NOAA program.
Shoreline Management Intern - Catherine Leland, a Master in Public Policy candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, began a project with CZM this fall to investigate documented impacts of extracting sand and gravel from offshore areas for "beach nourishment," which is the process of adding sediment to provide storm damage protection, recreational opportunities, and habitat. Catherine's project will help advance understanding of competing use issues for beach nourishment. CZM thanks Catherine for all of her help to date and looks forward to her continued assistance in the spring.
Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Protection
Two New No Discharge Areas Approved - In June, EPA approved the state's proposal to designate the Massachusetts portion of Mount Hope Bay as a vessel No Discharge Area, prohibiting the discharge of any treated or untreated boat sewage in a nine-square-mile portion of Mount Hope Bay that includes the Taunton River up to the Center/Elm St. Bridge on the border of Dighton and Berkley, as well as the Lee and Cole Rivers up to their respective Route 6 bridges. (The Rhode Island portion of Mount Hope Bay was previously designated as an NDA.) In July, the South Cape Cod and Islands NDA was also approved by EPA, covering an 807-square-mile area south of Cape Cod and surrounding Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. For current maps and more on NDAs, see CZM's NDA website.
Nearly $800,000 in CPR Grants Awarded to Coastal Communities - Through two grant rounds in 2012, CZM awarded almost $800,000 in Coastal Pollutant Remediation (CPR) Grants to coastal communities to reduce pollution from road runoff, boat sewage, and other nonpoint sources. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 winning projects are:
- Duxbury - $121,386 for phase one of a project to install three systems that will capture and filter stormwater discharging to Kingston Bay and The Nook.
- Hingham - $85,000 to construct a shore-based pumpout station at the Hingham Town Landing to increase pumpout services for commercial boats and the general public.
- Ipswich - $37,665 to design stormwater management practices to improve the water quality of discharges into Farley Brook.
- Marshfield - $51,980 to develop final engineering designs and to construct stormwater treatment for discharges into the South River.
- Plymouth - $103,969 to construct systems to address sediment flowing into Great Herring Pond.
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 winning projects are:
- Barnstable - $27,575 to survey, design, and construct a boat sewage pumpout facility in Hyannis Harbor for commercial vessels.
- Bourne - $24,013 to explore options to treat stormwater discharges into Fisherman's Cove.
- Duxbury - $124,115 for phase two of a project to install three systems that will capture and filter stormwater discharging to Kingston Bay and The Nook.
- Kingston - $124,495 to develop final design plans to control stormwater pollution at two priority outfalls into the Jones River Estuary.
- New Bedford - $58,452 to construct a stationary boat sewage pumpout facility for commercial vessels in inner New Bedford Harbor.
- Salem - $41,350 to design and implement options for reducing contaminated stormwater runoff contributing sediments, bacteria, heavy metals, and other contaminants into the North River.
Marine Invader Monitoring and Information Collaborative - In 2012, citizen scientists from CZM's Marine Invasive Monitoring and Information Collaborative (MIMIC) were out again in force, searching for 16 established invaders and seven species threatening to invade the region. Since 2006, MIMIC has served as a marine invasive species early detection and monitoring network for the New England Region, providing critical data to managers through participation with the Massachusetts Aquatic Invasive Species Working Group, the Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel, and the National Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force. All data are collected by trained citizen scientists following protocols detailed in Monitoring for Marine Invasive Species: Guidance and Protocols for Volunteer Monitoring Groups (PDF, 2 MB). Several trainings were held this spring to prepare citizen scientists to identify the 23 marine invaders and monitor safely and according to protocol. In addition, two trainings that focused specifically on the identification of crustaceans were held to help volunteers keep a close watch on two invading shrimp species—the European shrimp Palaemon elegans (PDF, 242 KB) and the Asian shrimp Palaemon macrodactylus. Both shrimp look similar to native species and require additional skill to identify. The European shrimp was first discovered on the North Shore in 2010. MIMIC partners have since tracked the shrimp's spread to southern Maine, Boston Harbor, Provincetown, and Buzzards Bay. The Asian shrimp has spread from Connecticut and Rhode Island to Boston Harbor. Both shrimp species can grow to a large size (more than 2.5 inches long), and may compete with native species. All data collected by MIMIC citizen scientists are available to the public through CZM's MORIS. For more information on MIMIC, and to view monitoring protocols, identification resources, and links, see the CZM Invasive Species Program website.
Wetlands Monitoring and Assessment - CZM completed its fourth and final year of collecting biological and physical data in salt marshes to support the cooperative effort with MassDEP and UMass-Amherst to develop a robust wetlands monitoring and assessment program. During the 2012 monitoring season, CZM staff again led a team of researchers from CZM, MassDEP, and Salem Sound Coastwatch to collect and process data on vascular plants, macroinvertebrates, and habitat complexity at 45 sites across the Massachusetts coastal zone. Data from the 175 sites sampled from 2009-2012 will be analyzed to calibrate and hopefully verify the landscape-level 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. The computer program lends itself to many applications and is capable of running scenario analyses to evaluate alternatives to proposed projects. For 2013, EPA provided funding to CZM to monitor salt marsh restoration sites that were studied by CZM staff 10 to 15 years ago, when the first coastal restoration projects were implemented. CZM intends to show the recovery trajectory of biological condition at these sites, while assessing changes in the landscape-based metrics and overall ecological integrity using CAPS.
UMass Cooling Water Permit - CZM reviewed and commented on the expansion of the UMass Boston cooling water intake in Savin Hill Cove and discharge to Dorchester Bay. This water is needed for the campus heat exchange system. UMass will be increasing its flow through the intake to up to 18.4 million gallons per day. CZM worked with MassDEP and MarineFisheries to ensure that the flow through the intake would not exceed 0.5 feet per second. CZM also worked with the agencies to establish a monitoring plan to evaluate entrainment and impingement of organisms at the intake.
COASTSWEEP 2012 - COASTSWEEP, the statewide annual beach cleanup sponsored by CZM and organized by the Urban Harbors Institute (UHI) at UMass Boston, celebrated its 25th anniversary this year! Although final results from the 2012 cleanups are still pending, preliminary reports show that 2,554 volunteers cleaned more than 136 miles of coastline, river bank, marsh, seafloor, and lakeshore in Massachusetts—collecting approximately 14,146 pounds of debris from 141 locations. To celebrate COASTSWEEP's 25th year, EEA Undersecretary for Environment Philip Griffiths and CZM Director Bruce Carlisle welcomed more than 200 students and teachers from the Josiah Quincy Upper School in Boston at a cleanup of the Department of Conservation and Recreation's (DCR) Carson Beach. From a distance, the beach looked clean, but together these 6th and 7th graders, along with their teachers, collected more than 200 cigarette butts, 229 food wrappers and containers, 202 plastic bags, and much, much more. (See the Think Coastal, Act Global blog post for details.) 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. For more information about COASTSWEEP 2012 or to get involved in future cleanups, see the COASTSWEEP website and stay tuned to marine debris issues year round on COASTSWEEP's Facebook page or by following the Twitter feed. Also, to learn more about COASTSWEEP and CZM, listen to CZM's Robin Lacey on WUMB's Commonwealth Journal.
Data and Information Management
CZM Launches New-and-Improved Coastal Mapping Tool - To provide a comprehensive online mapping experience and data discovery tool for users, CZM made some major improvements to the Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (also known as MORIS). Highlights include increased speed and overall performance; additional basemaps, including Google, Bing, and OpenStreetMaps; ability to search available data layers, access select external data layers, and modify symbols; a custom print/save tool; a modernized look and feel; and fully documented code that's now 100% open source! Development of the new MORIS was the product of a partnership between CZM, the Massachusetts Office of Geographic Information (MassGIS), SeaPlan, and Applied Science Associates. CZM also provided onsite training to local officials and Commonwealth staff on the use of MORIS.
2011 Marine Invasive Species Data Now Available in MORIS - Data layers representing the distribution of priority marine invaders are now available to view through MORIS. In 2011, three priority marine invasive species were added to the monitoring list—including the newest invader, the European shrimp Palaemon elegans—bringing the total number of monitored species to 23. The European shrimp was first discovered in Salem Sound in 2010, and last year the citizen scientists of CZM's Marine Invader Monitoring and Information Collaborative (MIMIC) recorded its spread to southern Maine. The 2011 data layers were created from observations at 57 monitoring sites by partners and MIMIC volunteers. To view the new data layers, see the MORIS website. Once you launch MORIS, the data layers can be found in the "2011 Monitoring" folder, under the "Marine Invasive Species" folder, in the "Biological Data" folder. Data collected from 2009-2010 are also available. For more information about marine invasive species or to participate in monitoring efforts, see the CZM Invasive Species Program website.
Project/Federal Consistency Review
Comcast Falmouth-to-Tisbury Fiber Optic Cable Project - CZM provided technical assistance to the proponent of a proposal to install a fiber optic feeder cable under Vineyard Sound and provided comments to the MEPA office regarding the Single Environmental Impact Report for the project. The comments provided on the Expanded Environmental Notification Form focused on the proposed project's conformance with the siting and performance standards contained in the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, which require that the proposed project 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 developed a route to avoid or minimize impacts to these areas, including the use of horizontal directional drilling to avoid nearshore eelgrass beds. In July, the project was modified to incorporate a 5.5-inch NStar hybrid cable to provide redundant electric and communications services to Martha's Vineyard, replacing the originally proposed ½-inch fiber optic cable.
Commercial Wind Lease Activities on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts - In December, at the request of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, CZM initiated the federal consistency review of the proposed lease issuance and survey activities for the Wind Energy Area offshore of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The review will examine any reasonably foreseeable consequences to the Massachusetts coastal zone associated with shallow hazards; geological, geotechnical, archaeological resources; and biological surveys. The proposed lease area covers approximately 164,750 acres located 12 to 25 miles southwest of Martha's Vineyard. It is anticipated that as much as 2,000 megawatts of wind energy could be produced from the proposed area.
Dredging and Beach Nourishment Projects - In 2012, CZM reviewed several dredging and/or beach nourishment proposals submitted for MEPA review. These projects included: the Manchester-by-the-Sea Inner Harbor dredging project, the town of Chatham 10-year comprehensive dredging and beach nourishment project, and the town of Falmouth 10-year comprehensive dredging and beach nourishment project. 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 Bass River dredging project in Beverly, the federal navigation project in Cuttyhunk, and the federal navigation and beach nourishment project at the Mashnee Dike in Bourne. CZM also issued federal consistency concurrence for the Winthrop Shores Reservation Restoration Program, which will be accomplished by dredging approximately 100,000 cubic yards of accreted material landward of the existing breakwaters off the coast of Winthrop Beach in Broad Sound. This dredged material, along with approximately 420,000 cubic yards of compatible material excavated from the abandoned Route 95 highway embankment in Saugus, will be used for beach or dune nourishment for Winthrop Beach in Winthrop. CZM continues to assist MassPort on the design of both eelgrass and salt marsh mitigation projects relating to the Logan Airport Runway Safety Improvement project to ensure that Massport complies with CZM's enforceable policies. CZM renewed its participation on the technical advisory committee for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Boston Harbor Deep Draft Navigational Improvement Project, which proposes port improvements including access to the Conley Terminal for containerships by deepening the harbor's existing 40-foot channels, turning basin, and anchorage. MassPort would also deepen the berths in the Conley Terminal, the 40-foot lane of the Main Ship Channel above the Reserved Channel and below the Ted Williams Tunnel, MassPort's Medford Street Terminal on the Mystic River, and the existing -38 foot channel in the Chelsea River.
EPA NPDES Permits - As part of CZM's federal consistency review of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, concurrences were issued for five permits/renewals/modifications, including the town of Scituate wastewater treatment plant, the city of Newburyport wastewater treatment plant, and the Gillette Company in Boston. CZM also reviewed the EPA General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities and an EPA Vessel General Permit and Small Vessel General Permit.
Bridge Replacement Projects - CZM has worked closely with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Division to review bridge projects for consistency with CZM's enforceable policies. Projects reviewed during 2012 include the replacement of the existing superstructure of Interstate I-195 over the Cole River in Swansea, which resulted in suggested improvements to the originally proposed stormwater runoff system. Review of the proposed Beach Road over Lagoon Pond Drawbridge Replacement project in the communities of Oak Bluffs and Tisbury resulted in improvements to the eelgrass mitigation portion of the project. CZM also issued federal consistency concurrences for the replacement of the existing Interstate-95, John Greenleaf Whittier Memorial Bridge in the communities of Newburyport, Amesbury, and Salisbury, and for the replacement of the existing Upper County Road Bridge and Route 28/Main Street Bridge over the Swan Pond River in the town of Dennis.
Port and Harbor Planning
Local Planning Efforts - A number of communities have been working on existing or new harbor plans in 2012. On the North Shore, CZM continues to provide technical assistance to the city of Gloucester as it begins the process to update its 2009 Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP) and Designated Area (DPA) Master Plan. Gloucester's broad planning goals continue to include strategies to build diverse maritime industry, strengthen the local commercial fishing industry, and reinvigorate the waterfront to draw people to the harbor—with a target date of completing the update by fall of 2014. In Boston Harbor, the city of Boston requested and received a clarification of the South Boston Municipal Harbor Plan from the EEA Secretary regarding the open space substitution and offsets for the Seaport Square project. As directed by the EEA Secretary in the Fort Point Downtown Waterfront MHP Phase 2 Decision, the Fort Point Channel Operations Board was established to manage mitigation funds. The Director of CZM serves as the EEA Secretary's designee on the Board. The city of Boston also requested the renewal of the Fort Point Downtown Waterfront Phase 1 MHP, and a public comment period and public hearing were held in November. CZM is currently reviewing the request, and a renewal decision from the EEA Secretary is anticipated in early 2013. On the South Shore, CZM provided ongoing technical assistance to the Marshfield Waterways Committee, which is in the process of developing a local harbor plan. As part of that assistance, CZM has participated in several informational meetings, or listening sessions, for the Waterways Committee to seek and receive comment and input from the public regarding harbor planning considerations. CZM also met with the Plymouth Director of Environmental Management, Senior Town Planner, and Harbormaster to discuss harbor planning considerations. The focus of the discussion was planning considerations related to the Chapter 91 Waterways regulations, preservation of water-dependent uses, shore-side infrastructure, addressing competing uses, and preserving and enhancing ecological resources. In CZM's Cape Cod and Islands Region, the EEA Secretary approved the Provincetown MHP renewal in January, which amends and updates the original 1999 Provincetown MHP. The new MHP will continue to serve as a planning tool to provide guidance to MassDEP with respect to Chapter 91 licensing of waterfront properties, and to help coordinate the efforts and actions of local committees and departments. CZM has also begun working with the town of Chatham on the South Coastal MHP renewal process, as well as the town of Edgartown on their MHP renewal process. For more information about CZM's harbor planning efforts, contact CZM's Regional Coordinators.
Designated Port Area Website with Boundary Maps and Descriptions - In February, CZM launched a new Designated Port Area website. The site includes updated DPA boundary maps and descriptions, along with information on DPA planning and implementation and CZM contacts for DPA issues. Previous versions of the official DPA maps were available in hard-copy format only. CZM went through a thorough process to clarify the boundary description and transform the hard-copy maps into digital format. The DPA boundary maps may also be viewed in CZM's online mapping tool, MORIS, by searching for the DPA name in the "Search data layers" box in the "Active Data Layers" window or by adding the boundary from the "Designated Port Area" folder within the "State" folder under the "Boundaries" folder.
CZM Efforts in Hurricane Sandy - CZM continues to serve as EEA's representative to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) for coastal events. In 2012, there was one activation of the state Emergency Operations Center involving CZM—Hurricane Sandy—with CZM staff helping to evaluate the situation along the coast and provide expert advice during the storm. After the storm passed, the National Guard provided transport by helicopter for staff from CZM, EEA, MassDEP, Environmental Law Enforcement, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assess damages along southern Buzzards Bay, Gosnold, Falmouth, Mashpee, the southern bluffs of Plymouth, the south shore of Martha's Vineyard, and the south and east shores of Nantucket. CZM also helped MEMA staff 21 rapid assessment teams that went out on October 30 to survey the extent of damages to critical facilities in eastern Massachusetts communities. The multi-disciplinary teams consisted of Department of Public Safety staff, local building inspectors, engineers, National Guard personnel, and personnel with coastal expertise. CZM also assisted MEMA and FEMA with Preliminary Damage Assessments to determine eligibility for federal disaster assistance.
Storm Team Activations for 2012 - For a late-spring nor'easter, 24 members of the Rapid Response Coastal Storm Damage Assessment Team (Storm Team) submitted more than 130 reports on the level of damages observed in 28 coastal communities. The damages included beach and dune erosion, overwash of sediment and debris on roadways and properties, flooding of low-lying neighborhoods in many communities, damages to beach access structures, and flooding of homes. CZM also activated the Storm Team to assess coastal storm damages from Hurricane Sandy. Forty members of the Storm Team conducted assessments in 42 coastal communities on October 29 and October 30. More than 350 damage reports were provided to MEMA, the National Weather Service (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 beach erosion and splashover of dunes, coastal structures, and roads coast-wide. There was overwash of barrier beaches, several new breaches formed on south-facing barrier beaches, and a few inlets to ponds were blocked with sediment in Falmouth and Plymouth as a result of the storm. Roads and beach parking lots were damaged in several Cape Cod, Buzzards Bay, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket communities. There were some isolated failures of revetments and seawalls and one house collapsed onto the beach on the south shore of Nantucket. Observations and photographs collected by the Storm Team have been added to StormReporter, an online database used to inform floodplain management.
Underwater Archaeological Resources
Battle of Chelsea Creek Project Completed - In 2012, CZM's Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources (BUAR) completed work on a National Park Service's American Battlefield Protection Program grant to study the American Revolutionary War Battle of Chelsea Creek. While overshadowed by the iconic battles at Concord/Lexington and Bunker Hill, the Battle of Chelsea Creek (which occurred on May 27-28, 1775) was actually the first victory for the "United Colonies." It was also the first naval engagement of the American Revolution and resulted 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 the HMS Diana. In addition, a high resolution GIS dataset and Citation Data Model of the temporal and spatial features associated with the battle and the 1775 Boston landscape have been developed and base-level and battlefield maps were produced within the GIS. See the Final Technical Report (PDF, 94 MB) for details. For additional information, contact Vic Mastone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Archaeological Interns - Assistance provided by interns was significant and very helpful to BUAR in 2012. Natalie Sussman, Masters of Arts, Tufts University and Brandies University, continued work on BUAR's shipwreck inventory as an unpaid post-graduate research fellow. Through the fall, Justin Bensley, Masters of Arts, University of Edinburgh, the United Kingdom continued as an unpaid post-graduate research fellow working on the Shoreline Heritage Identification Partnership Strategy (SHIPS) initiative. Justin and BUAR Director Victor Mastone co-presented a paper entitled, More than Just Marine Debris: Massachusetts's Shoreline Heritage Identification Partnerships-SHIPS, at the Society for Historical Archaeology Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, and have a forthcoming book chapter entitled, Shifting Sands: A Model for Facilitating Public Assistance in Coastal Archaeology. In the fall, Sarah Johnson, Bachelor of Arts, Cornell University, joined as an unpaid post-graduate research associate and is working on a handbook for SHIPS volunteers. Thank you all for your assistance!
BUAR Website - In 2012, the BUAR website was significantly updated and expanded. In addition to improved navigation, new pages were added for the Shoreline Heritage Identification Partnership Strategy Initiative (including a downloadable reporting form) and the Battle of Chelsea Creek research project, where users can download the final study report.
Marine Archaeology Celebrated in October - October was Massachusetts Archaeology Month. In celebration, BUAR participated in the two-day Archaeological Institute of America's Archaeology Fair at the Boston Museum of Science. The first day of the fair was directed to school groups and day two was directed to families and the general public. BUAR activities included participation in a mock "dig" of a shipwreck and exhibits. BUAR Director Victor Mastone was assisted by Board member Marcie Bilinski and research fellows Sarah Johnson and Chris Maio (and his wife Sarah and two sons, Vincent and Ezra).
National System of Marine Protected Areas - In 2012, BUAR's 40 Exempted Shipwreck Sites became member sites in the National System of Marine Protected Areas. As a result, BUAR became a partner agency and participated in the June partners meeting held by NOAA in Silver Spring, Maryland. The Exempted Sites are 40 cultural heritage resource sites managed by the state of Massachusetts to provide sustainable recreational diving opportunities to the public.
CZM Regional Offices
CZM works closely with communities to support local coastal management—an effort led by CZM's Regional Coordinators who serve as liaisons between federal and state programs and municipal authorities, coordinate regional initiatives, perform federal consistency review, and provide technical assistance. CZM's regions are North Shore, Boston Harbor, South Shore, Cape Cod and Islands, and South Coastal. The 2012 accomplishments for each region are provided below.
North Shore Region (Salisbury to Revere) - This year, CZM regularly provided direct technical assistance to communities on the North Shore for coastal projects addressing diverse issues, such as coastal erosion, resource area delineation, dredging, maintenance of shoreline structures, Designated Port Area redevelopment, and beach/dune best management practices. CZM continued to work with the Great Marsh Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) Regional Management Committee to provide technical assistance to the communities of Ipswich, Gloucester, Essex, Rowley, and Newbury as they continue to make progress toward a regional management approach for the Great Marsh ACEC. CZM also continues to coordinate the popular North Shore Regional Conservation Commission Network, providing regular training for North Shore Conservation Commissions and staff on a range of relevant regulatory and policy tools. In addition, CZM maintains an e-mail listserv for this network, connecting more than 50 local and state government participants to provide timely information and tool sharing among participants on a daily basis. CZM continues to take part in the Great Marsh Coalition (GMC), 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—the largest continuous stretch of salt marsh in New England, extending from Cape Ann to New Hampshire. On November 8, 2012, GMC held the Great Marsh Symposium: Helping Communities Prepare for Sea Level Rise in Ipswich. This full-day workshop provided more than 100 enthusiastic and engaging local, state, and federal officials, nonprofit staff, and interested members of the public an opportunity to discuss strategies that address issues of particular importance to the region and learn about and identify potential impacts of sea level rise on the Great Marsh. Based on feedback from this symposium, GMC is already at work developing a scope for a follow-up symposium in 2013 to provide communities and the public more information on this important and developing topic. For more information, including the 2012 symposium presentations, see the Great Marsh website.
Boston Harbor Region (Winthrop to Weymouth) - In 2012, CZM continued to attend working group meetings regarding the recently completed Chelsea Street Bridge project in East Boston and Chelsea and is now attending working group meetings for the proposed Fore River Bridge in Quincy and Weymouth. CZM continues to provide technical assistance to the interagency working group associated with the Logan Airport Runway Safety Improvement Project, working to identify mitigation strategies to offset the impacts to eelgrass from the project. CZM attended a kickoff meeting of the Technical Working Group for the Boston Harbor Deep Draft Navigation Improvement Project, which will deepen the entrance channel, main ship channel, and other channels in Boston Harbor for larger ships. CZM also continued to provide technical assistance on issues relating to harbor planning and designated port area planning.
South Shore Region (Hingham to Plymouth) - In 2012, CZM provided technical, grant writing, monitoring, and coordination assistance to a number of regionally significant wetland restoration, stewardship, and shoreline protection projects on the South Shore. These efforts included: assisting the town of Scituate with the development of a grant application for a Gulf of Maine Council/NOAA habitat restoration project, which received $40,000 in funding for the Bound Brook Diadromous Fish Restoration Initiative; working with the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration (DER), Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program, Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and the Jones River Watershed Association on the Tussock Brook Restoration Project in Kingston; working with DER and the town of Marshfield to conduct preliminary evaluation of wetland restoration options for the Ocean Avenue culvert in Marshfield Center; evaluating mitigation alternatives for the Broad Cove restoration project and river restoration options/considerations for Foundry Pond and the Weir River in Hingham; assisting with the completion of CPR-funded stormwater design work in Hingham, Marshfield, Duxbury, and Plymouth; providing support to the towns of Scituate, Marshfield, and Duxbury on a coastal storm-damage and flooding planning and adaptation project; participating in several deployments of the Storm Team to document and report on damage from coastal storm events using StormReporter; participating in ongoing beach profiling at Nantasket Beach in Hull; participating in an oil spill response drill in Plymouth Harbor, which was based on the geographic oil spill response plan that was developed in 2011; assisting with a demonstration workshop for the updated shoreline change project for local coastal managers; participating in the biannual Cohasset State of the Harbor Forum hosted by the Center for Student Coastal Research; and partnering with MassBays, MassDEP, and Conservation Agents from the towns of Norwell, Hull, and Weymouth to develop and facilitate the South Shore Conservation Commission Network.
Cape Cod & Islands Region (Bourne to Provincetown, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and Gosnold) - In 2012, CZM worked closely with many of the 23 communities within this region, providing direct technical assistance on a wide variety of coastal issues, including coastal erosion and beach management, water quality monitoring, stormwater management, harbor planning, and dredging. CZM worked closely with Conservation Commissions throughout the region and continued to help coordinate the Cape and Islands Conservation Commission Network. In addition, CZM provided project-specific technical assistance to Conservation Commissions in Nantucket, Brewster, Oak Bluffs, Chilmark, Gosnold, Brewster, Truro, and Harwich. CZM also coordinated the efforts by the towns along the south side of Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, and Gosnold to designate the South Cape Cod and Islands No Discharge Area. This effort culminated in the EPA designation of these waters as no discharge for boat sewage in June. CZM continues to serve on various boards and committees, including the Barnstable County Dredge Advisory Board and Pleasant Bay Coastal Resource Workgroup, and as co-chair the Barnstable County Coastal Resource Committee.
South Coastal Region (Wareham to Seekonk) - In June, a major milestone was reached by the Mount Hope Bay communities of the South Coastal Region when the No Discharge Area designation was approved by EPA. This capped several years of work and collaboration by the communities of Fall River, Somerset, Swansea, Dighton, Freetown, and Berkley in cooperation with CZM, MarineFisheries, and EPA. CZM continued to participate in regular monthly Buzzards Bay Action Committee meetings and provided or arranged keynote presentations for two of the meetings. At the March meeting, CZM provided communities an update on the new, enhanced capabilities of MORIS, and in October, CZM arranged a presentation by NOAA's National Weather Service Hydrologist-In-Charge on the expected impacts of a large hurricane hitting the Buzzards Bay area. This presentation helped the South Coast communities better understand the significant damage that can be expected from a high intensity storm. The presentation proved very timely, as Hurricane Sandy hit only days later. CZM also assisted MassDEP and the Mount Hope Bay towns, providing guidance and background on the natural resources of the Cole and Lees Rivers for the development of an oil and hazardous waste Geographic Response Plan for spills on the water or land that have potential to impact the rivers. In the fall, CZM coordinated a Shoreline Change Workshop on the new shoreline change maps. CZM met with New Bedford Harbor Development staff to discuss potential CPR project proposals and how to improve those projects and applications for the most recent round of funding. This coordination helped New Bedford receive a $58,452 grant to implement a commercial boat pumpout facility in the harbor. Along with the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program (NEP), CZM provided technical assistance to the town of Marion on its Stormwater Sampling Program and provided guidance on how to apply for CPR funding for stormwater remediation designs. CZM also assisted the town of Bourne and Buzzards Bay NEP to review proposals and select a design engineer for a stormwater facility on Buttermilk Way. Although still in its early stages, CZM is working closely with the Buzzards Bay NEP on a sea level rise project that will depict 1-, 2-, and 4-foot rises in sea level to evaluate the potential expansion of FEMA flood zones.
National Estuary Programs
CZM hosts and administers two National Estuary Programs (NEPs)—the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program and the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program. 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 2012 are included below.
Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program
Buzzards Bay Grants - In 2012, 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 six environmental grants administered by the Buzzards Bay NEP. These grants—totaling $122,000 to five Buzzards Bay watershed towns—will help South Coast and Cape Cod communities protect and restore water quality and natural resources in Buzzards Bay and its surrounding watershed. Specifically, this year's grant awards will fund land conservation and infrastructure improvement projects designed to conserve open space and rare species habitat, protect drinking water resources, restore wetlands, study nitrogen discharges to estuaries, and help open shellfish beds. The grants were awarded to the towns of Carver ($27,000); Dartmouth ($17,000); Mattapoisett ($35,000); Wareham ($23,000 for two projects); and Westport ($20,000).
Buzzards Bay NEP and CZM Sea Level Rise Study - The Buzzards Bay NEP and CZM are evaluating the potential expansion of the existing FEMA 100-year floodplain using Flood Insurance Rate Map base flood elevations for Buzzards Bay municipalities. The floodplain will be expanded with 1-foot, 2-foot, and 4-foot scenario increases in sea level. The existing floodplain will be extrapolated upward based on LIDAR elevation data from recent aerial surveys. Using a recent assessor's data set, the number of buildings, their assessed values, and municipal structures are being enumerated within these various sea level rise expansion scenarios for each Buzzards Bay municipality. See the BBNEP Flood Zone Expansion with Sea Level Rise Project page for more information about the project and to read the first report for the town of Fairhaven. This project is expected to be completed in 2013.
Draft Buzzards Bay Management Plan - The Buzzards Bay NEP released its draft Buzzards Bay Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP), and is seeking comments on the document, which provides a blueprint for the efforts of the Buzzards Bay NEP, municipalities, and other partners to protect and restore the water quality and living resources of Buzzards Bay and its surrounding watershed. This update of the original 1991 CCMP includes existing, new, and revised goals that relate to 21 key issues facing the bay and watershed. In each of the 21 Action Plans, Buzzards Bay NEP identifies strategies for government, citizens groups, and the public. Please submit comments by January 17.
Massachusetts Estuaries Project - In 2012, 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 Natural Resource Restoration Plan - 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, continued to provide guidance to MassDEP and EEA in their development of a restoration plan to direct the more than $6 million in funds set aside to restore natural resources damaged by the spill.
Technical Assistance - In 2012, 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 more than 100 map products and other 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 help with the preparation of grant applications and materials for education and outreach. Other support included updating and distributing a fern identification guide (PDF, 6 MB) for Conservation Commission agents and members, review of flood zone maps using LIDAR elevation data, delineations and review of wetland boundaries, site plan review, and guidance in the development of stormwater treatment plans for drainage system shared by the town of Bourne and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program
Estuary Delineation and Assessment - In the summer of 2012, through a contract with Geosyntec Consultants, MassBays completed the Estuary Delineation and Assessment project. This project delineated the landward and seaward boundaries of the 47 estuaries and embayments comprising the MassBays planning area, collected information on a suite of ecological indicators, and then used these indicators to assess and compare the estuaries and embayments. This work will serve as the foundation for the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan update planned for 2013. The work will also serve to track the ecological health of the MassBays region in the years to come.
Research and Planning Grants - In January, the MassBays Research and Planning Grant program awarded $135,000 in federal funds to support local initiatives and funded projects to identify the causes of coastal habitat degradation, develop plans to address coastal water quality pollution issues, and build local capacity to protect coastal resources. Grants were awarded to the following municipalities, nonprofits, and academic institutions:
- Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen Association - $7,441 to enhance and expand the River Herring Warden Network, which was created with a 2011 MassBays Research and Planning Grant.
- Danvers - $20,000 to conduct a study to identify a sustainable funding mechanism for stormwater management.
- Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries - $20,000 to identify and prioritize restoration opportunities for coastal aquatic habitats in the MassBays planning area.
- Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies - $22,119 to conduct research on the sources and persistence of pharmaceuticals in Cape Cod Bay.
- Salem State University - $22,992 to explore the nature and causes of reduced water clarity in Salem Harbor that may exacerbate eelgrass degradation.
- Saugus River Watershed Council - $10,000 to conduct a smelt spawning habitat assessment in the Saugus River.
- University of New Hampshire - $25,000 to create an eelgrass habitat suitability model in Plum Island Sound to identify potential restoration sites.
- Wildlands Trust - $6,749 to develop a plan for the South River Greenway and establish a walking trail to restore access along the South River.
Building on the success of the first two years of this grant program, MassBays requested proposals for round three of the grant program in the fall of 2012. Fifteen proposals were submitted covering a wide range of issues from water quality to eelgrass restoration. The projects selected for funding will be announced early in 2013.
New Massachusetts Bays Program Website Launched - In September, MassBays launched its new website in the Mass.Gov portal format. The new site features a dramatically different look and new navigation with stronger links to other state agencies and departments, particularly those within EEA.
Boston Harbor Habitat Atlas - MassBays, in partnership with the Urban Harbors Institute and CZM and with the support of a Massachusetts Environmental Trust grant, launched the Boston Harbor Habitat Atlas in 2012. The website includes an interactive database and website using MORIS as a platform 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 that developed the atlas continues as a stewardship group in the Boston Harbor region, while using the Boston Harbor Habitat Atlas as a guide for implementing protection and restoration initiatives.
Staff and People
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 former staff in their new roles.
CZM Assistant Director Brad Washburn - In June, CZM welcomed Brad Washburn as the new Assistant Director. Brad will fill this critical position to oversee agency program areas related to municipal technical assistance, port and harbor planning, coastal shoreline and floodplain management, climate change adaptation, and project review. Brad previously worked at CZM, serving as the Boston Harbor Regional Coordinator from 2007-2010. For the last two years, Brad led the town of Easton's Department of Planning and Community Development as Planning Director, where he served as lead for the town's long-range planning initiatives, land use planning activities, and development projects. Prior to 2007, he worked for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, where he assisted with the city-wide municipal harbor planning process and review of waterfront planning projects. Brad holds a Masters of Regional Planning from UMass Amherst.
CZM's Joe Pelczarski Retires - After 38-years as a state employee (and 32 years with CZM!), Joe Pelczarski retired in October. Joe played many, many roles at CZM, including serving as the first webmaster (Joe's original website structure still persists in the current site), Coastal Facility Improvement Plan coordinator, oil spill planner, and overall CZM historian. But probably Joe's most important and notable assignment was as the emergency management coordinator for EEA—serving as EEA's liaison with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. Joe spent many hours in the MEMA bunker in Framingham during severe storms and other emergencies (such as Y2K), helping to coordinate state environmental and Storm Team activities. One of the biggest storms on Joe's watch was the 1991 Nor'easter dubbed the "Storm of the Century," which was chronicled in Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm (see page 58 of the book for a quote from Joe's storm memo). Joe was also a valuable resource for anyone who needed a coastal question answered and he covered issues ranging from hurricane preparedness to coastal and marine habitats to the historical context of coastal issues in the "Ask Joe" column of CZM's Coastlines magazine. He also scoured the daily news, weather sites, and the Federal Register to keep staff up to date—a role that made him CZ-Mail's very own "Internet Coordinator."
Tidelands/Public Trust Policies Coordinator - In July, 27-year veteran Dennis Ducsik retired after serving as CZM's Tidelands/Public Trust Policies Coordinator since 1985. Among his many outstanding contributions, Dennis played a key role in the development of the state's Waterways Regulations (also known as Chapter 91), which protect public, water-dependent rights in Commonwealth tidelands, and in the state's Designated Port Area program, which promotes and protects marine industrial activities in the state's major working ports. Dennis has also been a strong public access advocate and launched CZM's Coast Guide project to help people get to and enjoy coastal access points in Massachusetts. Although no longer working full-time, Dennis will be providing assistance to the Waterways Regulation Program at MassDEP as a part-time volunteer.
MassBays Executive Director - In June, MassBays Executive Director and long-time CZMer, Jay Baker, departed for wetter pastures. For the last three years, Jay served as the MassBays Executive Director, where he led MassBays efforts on everything from water quality and habitat restoration to invasive species management and climate change adaptation. Jay started at CZM in 1999, working on the state's coastal nonpoint source program and on wetlands and marine monitoring. He later became lead for that program, as well as CZM's aquatic invasive species program, before taking the Executive Director position at MassBays. Although Jay is leaving the CZM/MassBays family, he will remain close to the coast as he pursues his aquaculture interests in New Hampshire.
Former CZM Director Babb-Brott Appointed as National Ocean Council Leader - In March, former CZM Director Deerin Babb-Brott was appointed as Director of the National Ocean Council, the federal body charged with implementing the National Ocean Policy and enhancing stewardship of the oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes. Before becoming CZM Director, Deerin served as Director of MEPA, where he helped develop and implement the nation's first greenhouse gas environmental review policy and led the environmental review for major energy projects, including Cape Wind, Weavers Cove Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility, and Neptune and Northeast Gateway offshore LNG terminals. Prior to joining MEPA, Deerin served as CZM Assistant Director for Planning and Coastal Development, and before that as CZM's Dredging Coordinator.