Welcome to the year-in-review edition of CZ-Mail, which highlights many of the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) accomplishments in 2016, 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 2017.
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Overview of 2016 at CZM
From key initiatives to address climate change and stormwater impacts at the local level to major developments in regional ocean planning and offshore wind energy, 2016 has been a busy and productive year for CZM and our partners. In the ocean management realm, CZM worked on behalf of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) as a member of the Northeast Regional Planning Body, which just finalized the Northeast Ocean Plan, a collaborative effort to promote better ocean management decisions throughout the region. CZM also continued working with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on renewable wind energy development on the outer continental shelf offshore of Massachusetts. On the StormSmart Coasts front, CZM awarded $1.8 million for 19 Coastal Resilience Grants, which fund efforts to reduce or eliminate risks associated with coastal storms, erosion, and sea level rise. These grants also support Governor Baker’s Climate Change Strategy Executive Order, which was issued in September. CZM also provided extensive direct technical assistance to communities and coastal businesses and helped secure an almost $1 million grant for a regional effort to document and predict coastal storm impacts and increase the implementation of sustainable, nature-based infrastructure approaches (living shorelines). In coastal habitat, CZM and partners completed an important project to identify estuarine marshes vulnerable to sea level rise. With coastal water quality, CZM’s Buzzards Bay National Estuarine Program, together with five towns and the Buzzards Bay Action Committee, launched the Buzzards Bay Stormwater Collaborative to map stormwater infrastructure and identify sources of pollution to shellfish beds and swimming beaches. In addition, CZM awarded almost $350,000 for five Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grants to communities for on-the-ground projects that reduce coastal water pollution and improve the health of coastal resources, and provided pilot grants to municipalities to retrofit stormwater BMPs to increase their resilience to sea level rise, storm surge, and increased precipitation. These and other highlights and accomplishments for CZM and its hosted programs in 2016 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 2016 accomplishments for each CZM program area are listed below.
Ocean Advisory Commission - On January 26, a meeting of the Commonwealth’s Ocean Advisory Commission was held with a slate of new and reappointed commission members. The commission is made up of legislators; representatives from commercial fishing, environmental organizations, offshore renewable energy, and coastal regional planning bodies; and the heads of CZM, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), and Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF). Agenda items included an overview of the 2015 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan and discussion regarding next steps and future efforts for implementing key management and science elements of the plan. A summary of the process, findings, and recommendations of the state’s Coastal Erosion Commission report was provided. The Ocean Advisory Commission also heard updates on the work underway on ocean planning in the Northeast and discussed its role in providing input to the planning process. Finally, the commission reviewed the latest work on the development of a performance and evaluation framework for tracking and reporting progress on the 2015 ocean plan. On June 27, the Commission met to approve the final ocean plan performance evaluation framework and provide comments and feedback on the Draft Northeast Ocean Plan, which was out for public comment. The latest updates on implementation of the Massachusetts Ocean Plan as well as work on renewable energy in the Massachusetts Wind Energy Area were discussed. The Commission will meet again in 2017.
Northeast Ocean Plan - On December 7, the Northeast Regional Planning Body (RPB), a group with representatives from six New England states, six federally recognized tribes, nine federal agencies, and the New England Fishery Management Council, announced the completion of the Northeast Ocean Plan—the result of a federal Executive Order issued in 2010 that established a national ocean policy and tasked regional planning bodies with developing regional ocean plans. Several years of scientific study, data analysis, public participation, and collaboration have led to a comprehensive characterization of ocean ecosystems and human uses and the subsequent development of a regional ocean plan for the Northeast. The plan commits to using better regional ocean information to guide and inform decisions made under existing authorities. This approach, coupled with best practices for enhanced coordination and public engagement, enables RPB agencies to identify potential conflicts between ocean uses and inform efforts to mitigate negative impacts to marine life and habitat. Data used to develop the plan is available through the Northeast Data Portal. Plan implementation will begin in the coming weeks. For more information, updates, and announcements, stay tuned to the Northeast RPB website.
Massachusetts Offshore Wind Development - On October 25, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) announced the results of two new multi-year marine wildlife survey efforts that focus on collecting baseline biological occurrence and distribution data for whale, turtle, and bird species within the Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) offshore Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The wildlife surveys found that the Massachusetts and Rhode Island WEAs avoid the high concentrations of protected species of whales, turtles, and seabirds in these areas. For details and to download the reports, see the BOEM Press Release. On November 14-15, CZM and MassCEC hosted public information meetings in Vineyard Haven and New Bedford to present, answer questions, and discuss recent and upcoming planning and assessment activities related to future offshore wind projects in federal waters off Massachusetts. Topics included an overview of the new energy diversity law and updates on marine mammal and bird studies, meteorology and physical oceanographic data collection, geological surveys, and transmission planning. Representatives of BOEM participated at the meeting. For more information on the offshore wind activities for Massachusetts, see the EEA website.
Seafloor Mapping Initiative - CZM and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) published High-resolution geophysical data from the Inner Continental Shelf: South of Martha's Vineyard and north of Nantucket, Massachusetts, which presents geophysical data collected by USGS during a survey in 2013. The report includes bathymetric data (water depth), acoustic backscatter that provides an image of the seafloor, and seismic-reflection profiles that reveal the nature of the sediment layers below the seafloor and was prepared as part of the 13-year, cooperative mapping program between CZM and USGS, which began in 2003 and has mapped more than 2,403 square kilometers (928 square miles) of the Commonwealth’s coastal waters. For more information, see CZM’s Seafloor Mapping Program website and the recently updated USGS Geologic Mapping of the Seafloor Offshore of Massachusetts website, or contact CZM’s Dan Sampson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regional Resilience Project - In March, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management announced an award of $891,243 to the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems and a team of partners to improve prediction and protection from coastal storms and increase the implementation of sustainable, nature-based infrastructure approaches (living shorelines). CZM is working with its peers at state coastal programs in the region, the Nature Conservancy, the Northeast Regional Ocean Council, and other partners to develop state-of-the-practice information on living shorelines; examine, identify, and address regulatory issues associated with natural infrastructure practices; develop and implement a series of training program workshops; and advance community-based living shoreline planning and assessment pilot projects. For more information, see the NOAA press release.
Gulf of Maine Council Awards - In June, the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment presented its annual awards during a ceremony in Fredericton, New Brunswick, which honored three environmental leaders from Massachusetts. Glorianna Davenport and Evan Schulman of Tidmarsh Farm received a Visionary Award for their work on the ecological restoration of 250 acres of cranberry bogs and adjacent lands in Plymouth. With support from the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration and partners including the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program, this project is the largest coastal freshwater wetlands restoration effort to date in the Commonwealth. William S. Spitzer, Vice President for Programs, Exhibits, and Planning at the New England Aquarium, received a Visionary Award for his mentoring and professional development efforts in the marine education community. At the aquarium, Billy develops mission-driven exhibits and programs and oversees exhibit design, visitor experience, volunteer and education programs, and strategic planning. Billy has also served as Chair of the New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative, a regional entity that brings together diverse marine education organizations around collective work and learning. Also this year, GOMC released a new fact sheet and a new theme paper. In September, GOMC’s EcoSystem Indicator Partnership (ESIP) released Fisheries Issues in the Gulf of Maine, a fact sheet that summarizes data from the Gulf of Maine for three key indicators: ocean jobs, dominant species, and diversity. An additional spotlight focuses on the importance of the lobster fishery to the region. Download this fact sheet and other ESIP documents on the ESIP website. In November, the Council published Watershed Status (PDF, 2 MB), a State of the Gulf of Maine Report theme paper that focuses on the current status of the region’s watersheds, exploring some of the many forces, pressures, and impacts affecting watershed health. For details and links to other theme papers, see the State of the Gulf of Maine web page.
CZM Coastal Resilience Grant Awards - In August, CZM awarded more than $1.8 million in funding through the Coastal Resilience Grant Program to advance local efforts to reduce risks associated with coastal storms, flooding, erosion, and sea level rise. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 grants were awarded to:
- Beverly - $89,981 to identify climate change risks and develop preliminary strategies to protect the most vulnerable public infrastructure and critical facilities from flooding and sea level rise.
- Boston - $227,000 to build on the vulnerability assessment developed through the Climate Ready Boston project and develop and design nature-based coastal resiliency strategies for two priority sites: East Boston Greenway and Charlestown’s Schrafft site.
- Dennis - $22,750 to evaluate, design, and prepare permit applications for a pilot project on Stage Island and West Dennis Beach to determine whether the beneficial re-use of dredged material is an effective means of combating marsh losses and restoring storm protection functions.
- Harwich - $187,500 to prepare site plans, architectural drawings, and permit applications for improvements to landside municipal facilities bordering Saquatucket Harbor to accommodate increased flooding and sea level rise.
- Ipswich - $63,300 to assess areas along the Ipswich River that are vulnerable to erosion and sea level rise impacts and evaluate the feasibility of nature-based stabilization techniques to help protect critical roadways and utilities.
- Marshfield - $71,250 to evaluate modifications to the culvert and tide gate structure on Dyke Road under existing and future sea level rise conditions to address flooding issues and enhance ecological resources by improving tidal flow and flood storage capacity within the Green Harbor River estuary.
- Mattapoisett - $47,625 to assess beach stability under a range of sea level rise and hurricane conditions at Fresh Pond Cove and quantify coastal hazard risk to an existing exposed water main that traverses the beach from Pease’s Point to Point Connett.
- New Bedford - $168,750 to evaluate and design a beach nourishment restoration project along three armored sections of West Rodney French Boulevard that are particularly vulnerable to erosion and tidal impacts.
- Newburyport - $131,530 to prepare design plans for dune restoration and an elevated beach access structure to provide critical storm buffering to low-lying neighborhoods while maintaining beach access.
- Plymouth - $111,000 to assess structural and non-structural stabilization alternatives to allow for a more sustainable tidal inlet system at Ellisville Harbor and maximize the health of the salt marsh.
- Quincy - $67,500 to develop and prioritize climate adaptation strategies for protecting Palmer Street and surrounding water resource and utility infrastructure serving the Germantown neighborhood.
- Salem - $54,665 to fully design and permit a bioengineering project using coir rolls with natural vegetation along the southern portion of Collins Cove to provide a more natural buffer to erosion from storm surge and wave forces.
- Scituate - $103,500 to evaluate beach and dune nourishment alternatives and roadway elevation improvements along a low-lying area of Central Avenue on North Humarock Beach to provide storm damage protection for repetitively damaged public infrastructure.
- Swampscott - $103,000 to develop design plans and permit applications for improvements to several of its waterfront access ways that have been identified as primary pathways for coastal flooding from storm surge and sea level rise.
- Truro - $35,007 to identify low-lying flooding pathways under current and future storm conditions and incorporate mapping data on a town website as well as the Southern New England Weather Forecast Office’s inundation mapping webpage.
- Wareham - $150,000 to develop permit-level designs for retrofit measures at three of its most critical pump stations to remain operational during future storm events and help minimize public health and environmental risks.
- Weymouth - $51,504 to prepare final design plans and permit documents for replacing a persistently collapsing culvert at Puritan Road and “daylighting” a portion of the Weymouth Back River to reduce flooding and restore the tidal creek to a more natural condition.
- Winthrop - $165,000 to evaluate the vulnerability for critical public infrastructure to coastal flooding and sea level rise and develop conceptual designs for adaptation strategies at up to five priority locations.
For more information, see the EEA Press Release.
Coastal Community Resilience Projects Completed - In 2016, more than 30 projects were completed with Coastal Resilience Grant funding:
- Barnstable studied wind and wave forces affecting the Sandy Neck shoreline and evaluated long-term management options for protecting a public beach facility from storm and flood damages.
- Boston reviewed and developed consensus on local climate projections and impacts, identified vulnerabilities, and developed an initial portfolio of actions to help strengthen the resiliency of buildings, neighborhoods, and infrastructure.
- Brewster provided information to the public on the vulnerability of infrastructure and natural resources to flooding and erosion, gathered input on community priorities, and built consensus on local strategies to respond and adapt to changing climate conditions.
- Chelsea evaluated the vulnerability of municipal infrastructure to coastal flooding and sea level rise and identified local and regional strategies to reduce future flood risks, including building retrofits and natural shoreline stabilization methods.
- Chilmark designed and permitted plans to expand and restore Squibnocket Town Beach and relocate the beach parking area to a location naturally protected from erosion.
- Dennis evaluated a suite of natural and/or non-structural alternatives to reduce erosion and provide storm damage protection and flood control for Dr. Bottero Road that would also enhance the resilience and natural function of the barrier beach.
- Duxbury studied the effects of waves, tides, and the movement of sand and other sediment on both the ocean and bay sides of Duxbury Beach to understand existing conditions and potential impacts from future storms and sea level rise.
- Edgartown completed permitting activities for a beach nourishment and dune restoration design for Fuller Street Beach that would restore habitat, improve the natural function of the barrier beach, and provide recreational benefits to the town.
- Essex developed informational packets and risk maps and conducted a regional workshop to expand public awareness of coastal vulnerabilities in Essex, Salisbury, Newbury, Newburyport, Rowley, and Ipswich.
- Falmouth designed a beach restoration project for a critically eroded section of Chapoquoit Beach and initiated coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to receive sand dredged from the Cape Cod Canal for future beach restoration projects.
- Gloucester reestablished a coastal floodplain along the Little River and improved fish habitat and passage by removing obsolete concrete structures and fill associated with the original operations of the West Gloucester Water Treatment Plant.
- Hull identified and assessed municipal infrastructure and natural resources at risk of impacts from flooding, storm surge, increased storm intensity, and sea level rise and developed short-, mid-, and long-term strategies that can be implemented to minimize future storm damage and disruption of services.
- Lynn assessed public infrastructure and natural resources at risk of flooding and sea level rise inundation and developed potential short, mid-, and long-term adaptation strategies to address high risk areas.
- Manchester-by-the-Sea evaluated the capacity of bridges and culverts in the Sawmill Brook watershed to provide needed services during storms under future precipitation and sea level rise conditions and prepared design plans, cost estimates, and a permitting strategy for infrastructure improvements at key locations in the watershed.
- Mattapoisett quantified potential impacts to critical water and wastewater infrastructure under a suite of sea level rise and hurricane conditions and developed priority actions to help ensure the resilience of the infrastructure to future storm and climate impacts.
- Nantucket implemented flood- and erosion-control measures at three vulnerable and high-use public sites prioritized by the town’s Coastal Management Plan and identified and mapped low-lying areas that act as pathways for storm tides to inundate inland areas.
- New Bedford evaluated flood proofing needs for nine of the most vulnerable sewer pump stations and designed improvements to provide uninterrupted service during flood events.
- Plymouth completed final designs and permitting activities for adding sand, gravel, and cobble along 900 feet of an eroded barrier beach to reduce damages to public infrastructure and restore natural coastal resources and habitat. Plymouth also filled seven severely eroded washover areas on Long Beach with rounded cobbles to increase storm damage protection and flood control for Plymouth Harbor.
- Provincetown identified low-lying areas that provide a direct pathway for flood waters to reach inland areas and installed a tide gauge to provide real-time water level data.
- Quincy completed a coastal flooding and sea level rise vulnerability assessment and implemented a community education program to inform and engage community members on coastal impacts and adaptation strategies.
- Salem identified sites that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and evaluated the feasibility of green infrastructure enhancements at these sites.
- Sandwich analyzed a nearshore site adjacent to Scusset Beach to determine its viability as a source of sand for future placement on eroding public beaches downdrift of the Cape Cod Canal jetties.
- Sandwich and Barnstable studied the volume, rate, and direction of sand moving along the shoreline from the Cape Cod Canal to the easterly side of Barnstable Harbor to help inform the design, evaluation, and implementation of regional shoreline management efforts.
- Save Popponesset Bay, Inc., evaluated and designed an alternative beach nourishment and dune restoration strategy to stabilize and restore habitat for the publicly accessible barrier beach on Popponesset Spit.
- Scituate studied the effect of waves and the movement of sand and other sediment along the shoreline as a basis for identifying and prioritizing viable shoreline protection strategies. Scituate also completed permitting activities for future sand, gravel, and cobble nourishment along 2,800 feet of severely eroding public beach at Glades and Surfside Roads in North Scituate.
- Swampscott used storm surge and sea level rise inundation models to assess vulnerabilities of municipal infrastructure and natural resources and developed conceptual engineering solutions and policy recommendations to help protect residents, property, and infrastructure from extreme weather and climate change impacts.
- Wareham completed a vulnerability assessment and emergency management plan for critical wastewater infrastructure and identified necessary improvements to help the system endure future storm and climate change impacts.
- Weymouth studied the existing drainage system and runoff characteristics between the Back River and an inland salt marsh and designed adaptive solutions for retrofitting a persistently collapsing culvert to improve drainage and tidal flow capacity given anticipated climate impacts.
- Winthrop modeled watershed drainage patterns, tidal influences, and sea level rise as a basis for redesigning and permitting a tide gate at Lewis Lake to increase flood water drainage from low lying areas, improve water quality, and possibly reduce the accumulation of sediment where the gate discharges to Winthrop Harbor. Winthrop also rehabilitated the existing tide gate at Lewis Lake to control flow and allow tidal exchange between Lewis Lake and Winthrop Harbor, helping to maximize available flood storage in the lake and reduce the extent of flooding. And in a third project, Winthrop evaluated natural and non-structural shoreline protection approaches and developed conceptual plans for a preferred alternative that provides the most erosion control and improved wildlife habitat along the Coughlin Park shoreline.
Little River Restoration and Resilience Project - In May, the city of Gloucester, state and local officials, and conservation advocates celebrated the completion of the Little River restoration and resilience project, which involved day-lighting portions of buried waterway, replacing an aging concrete channel with a natural stream bed, and restoring sensitive coastal wetlands. These efforts have already dramatically improved ecological conditions, eliminated a public safety hazard, reduced flooding risks, and enhanced climate change resilience in the small coastal stream that flows from Lily Pond to the Annisquam River. In addition to the $400,000 Coastal Resilience Grant from CZM, funding was provided by the city of Gloucester, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA, and Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration. For details on the project and the event, see the EEA press release.
Dam and Seawall Repair and Removal Awards - CZM supported EEA’s continued administration of the Dam and Seawall Repair or Removal Program, which was established in 2013 by the Massachusetts Legislature to promote public health, public safety, and ecological restoration. A fourth round of applications was solicited from communities in 2016. CZM assisted EEA in selecting 20 projects, including eight seawall and revetment repair and reconstruction projects in Marshfield, Plymouth, Quincy, Salem, Scituate, and Yarmouth, totaling more than $10 million in loans and grants. For more on the fund and awards, see the EEA website.
New Fact Sheet Available on Design Improvements for Projects that Repair and Reconstruct Seawalls and Revetments - Recommended design practices for seawalls and revetments have advanced significantly over the last 50 years. Any repair or reconstruction project for seawalls and revetments—whether minor repairs or complete reconstruction—should therefore include design improvements based on the best available techniques to reduce impacts, improve structure longevity, and minimize maintenance costs. The new CZM fact sheet, StormSmart Properties Fact Sheet 7: Repair and Reconstruction of Seawalls and Revetments, discusses the history and impacts of seawalls and revetments and options for improving their performance and reducing impacts.
MACC Conference - In March, CZM staff gave three presentations at the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC) Annual Conference. CZM’s presentations included the StormSmart Properties Fact Sheets, How to Interpret Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Maps and Studies, and Regulating Activities in Land subject to Coastal Storm Flowage.
Coastal Construction Workshops - In March and June, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, Department of Conservation and Recreation, MassDEP, FEMA, and CZM co-sponsored three one-day workshops on important state codes, regulations, and best practices for building and retrofitting homes and other buildings in coastal areas. Each workshop featured a discussion of best practices for the design of structures to withstand storm impacts such as erosion and flooding, as well as a session to provide guidance to town officials on interpreting the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program Maps and Studies to identify vulnerable areas. The workshop agenda also included sessions on available funding, State Building Code requirements, and reducing vulnerability in Land Subject to Coastal Storm Flowage under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act.
Environmental Industry Programs - Over the summer and fall, CZM supported three programs hosted by the Environmental Business Council of New England to promote coastal resilience and adaptation, living shorelines, and financing local projects. CZM provided presentations as part of these programs: Resilience and Adaptation Priorities—Implications for Coastal New England, Living Shorelines, and Financing Resilience—The Big Challenge—Grants, Loans, Bonds, Insurance-Linked Securities and More.
Coastal Bank Erosion Hazard Mapping - CZM, in partnership with MassDEP, has developed a mapping methodology utilizing high-resolution coastal elevation data, aerial photography, and other data, to identify and assess coastal bank erosion across the state. The purpose of this project is to highlight those areas in the Commonwealth that are experiencing severe, moderate, or low rates of coastal bank erosion and have the potential to affect existing and future land use. Stay tuned for more information on this effort.
Identifying Coastal Wetlands Vulnerable to Sea Level Rise - Sea level rise has the potential to squeeze tidal marshes out of the coastal landscape, and with them the numerous economic, social, and ecological services marshes provide. CZM, with partners that include the Woods Hole Group, Marine Biological Laboratory, and Plum Island Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research Project, among others, have modeled coastal wetland response to different sea level rise scenarios, integrating models that incorporate coastal and estuarine processes with long-term, local data. Site-specific information and maps are being generated to identify and communicate vulnerability, risk, and impacts to Massachusetts coastal wetlands, as well as opportunities for salt marshes to migrate landward. Stay tuned for the project report, website, mapping tool, and GIS datasets—coming in winter 2016-17.
Monitoring and Assessment of Climate Change Impacts to Tidal Marshes - CZM and partners have been developing a multi-faceted sentinel site monitoring program to track changes to the composition of tidal marshes. Building on recent work to model coastal wetland response to sea-level rise, investigators have been working with regional and local groups to establish a network of long-term monitoring stations, or sentinel sites, to monitor biological and physical changes in select marshes and their upland and open water ecotones (a transition zone between two ecosystems). Field and remote sensing techniques will be employed, the latter using automated and/or semi-automated image analysis and land cover change analysis techniques, high-resolution imagery, and LIDAR to track changes in the spatial extents of tidal marsh microhabitats (e.g., vegetation communities, pannes, pools, creeks, and ditches). Together these projects form a holistic program that will inform development, application, and monitoring of site-specific climate change adaptation strategies. Additionally, data generated will have the potential to help calibrate and verify the wetland response models used to identify wetlands vulnerable to sea-level rise. The field-based and remote sensing-based sentinel site projects will both run through 2017.
Marine Invasive Species Monitoring and Early Detection - Since 2006, CZM’s Marine Invasive Monitoring and Information Collaborative (MIMIC) has served as an early detection and monitoring network for New England, providing both a critical data source to coastal managers and an educational experience for the public. CZM works with 10 regional partners, including watershed and research nonprofits, state agencies, and dedicated individuals, to survey more than 50 sites from Buzzards Bay to southern Maine. In 2016, teams of trained citizen scientists were again on the prowl searching for marine invaders at floating docks, rocky shores, and eelgrass beds. Data, including surface water salinity, temperature, and invasive species abundance, are collected following protocols detailed in Monitoring for Marine Invasive Species: Guidance and Protocols for Volunteer Monitoring Groups. In the early fall, CZM staff observed a new invader that is not yet established in New England. This plant-like animal called the “spaghetti” Bryozoan (Amathia verticillata) was discovered at a monitoring site in New Bedford. CZM, working with invasive scientists, will continue to monitor for this new species in the upcoming year. For more information on MIMIC, to request data, and to view monitoring protocols, identification resources, and links, see the Marine Invasive Species Program website. Thanks again to all the hardworking MIMIC volunteers and partners!
Coastal Water Quality
Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Awards - On August 31, EEA announced $346,292 in funding through CZM’s Coastal Pollution Remediation (CPR) Grant Program for projects to protect coastal water quality in Massachusetts. The FY 2016 winning projects are:
- Medford - $125,000 to construct a stormwater gravel wetland to treat 1.6 acres of stormwater runoff from a municipal parking lot close to the banks of the Mystic River.
- Milton - $17,752 to develop stormwater Best Management Practice (BMP) designs at four priority locations to address water quality in Unquity Brook.
- Plymouth - $59,910 to assess stormwater retrofit options and design BMPs to treat stormwater discharging into Great Herring Pond.
- Salem - $78,680 to design and permit stormwater treatment systems at Winter Island Park and improve water quality in Salem Sound and Salem Harbor.
- Yarmouth - $64,950 to design and implement a gravel bioretention stormwater treatment system to reduce pollutants flowing into the Lewis Bay and Bass River watersheds.
The grants are being matched by $144,627 from municipal sources, further extending the power of the grant program. Since 1996, more than $9.5 million has been awarded through the CPR grant program. For more information, see the EEA press release.
Water Quality Projects Completed in Coastal Communities - In 2016, these five projects were completed with CPR grants to protect coastal waters in Massachusetts:
- Fairhaven - Developed final design plans for stormwater treatment systems at priority locations along Sconticut Neck Road, with the ultimate goal to improve water quality and open shellfish growing areas in Little Bay and Nasketucket Bay.
- Kingston - Constructed stormwater treatment systems on Shore Drive to treat bacterial pollution from roadway runoff. This project is the fourth phase of a long-term effort to treat contaminated stormwater discharges, improve water quality, and expand shellfish harvesting in the Jones River Estuary and Kingston Bay.
- Medford - Prioritized sites and developed designs for stormwater treatment systems to address roadway-related pollution to the Mystic River, an important habitat for river herring.
- Milton - Assessed the polluted stormwater runoff problem in Unquity Brook, a major freshwater tributary to Gulliver’s Creek, and then prioritized sites causing pollution problems, developing initial designs for stormwater treatment options.
- Salem - Constructed rain gardens and installed treatment systems along Commercial Street to remove pollutants from stormwater runoff discharging to the North River.
Climate Change Impacts on Stormwater Management - CZM, in partnership with MassDEP, funded the development of Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Stormwater BMPs and Recommended BMP Design Considerations in Coastal Communities, a report to help municipalities address the challenges of climate change impacts on stormwater infrastructure. The report includes a review of potential impacts and recommendations to improve siting, design, construction, and operation and maintenance of coastal stormwater BMPs. The report was developed by the Horsley Witten Group, Inc., with support from the Woods Hole Group.
Grants Awarded to Increase Resiliency and Effectiveness of Stormwater Management - On December 29, EEA announced $53,708 in funding to coastal watershed communities for design work to retrofit existing stormwater infrastructure to maintain and increase treatment capability of polluted runoff in light of impacts from climate change. The grant recipients are the communities of Manchester, Melrose, Winthrop, and Yarmouth. These local projects will improve and protect coastal water quality and ensure that stormwater infrastructure can withstand higher sea levels, more intense storms, increased precipitation, and other climate change impacts over the long term. The grants are being matched by $35,860 from municipal sources, further extending the power of the program. For more information, see the EEA Press Release.
Stormwater Management Tools for the Massachusetts Coastal Zone: A Guidebook for Planning Board Members - CZM is currently developing a guidebook for planning board members and municipal planners that provides strategies and tools they can use to improve stormwater management in their community. The guidebook includes planning and zoning tools to improve stormwater management at the municipal scale; tips on improving stormwater management during subdivision application and site plan reviews; and a BMP Selection Tool that focuses on Low Impact Development (LID) techniques and reducing stormwater contaminants such as bacteria and nitrogen that are common pollutants in coastal waters. The guidebook is anticipated to be released in the summer of 2017.
COASTSWEEP 2016 - From August through November each year, thousands of volunteers throughout Massachusetts turn out for COASTSWEEP—the statewide coastal cleanup sponsored by CZM. Although final 2016 cleanup results are still pending, preliminary reports show that 2,167 volunteers cleaned more than 154 miles of coastline, river bank, marsh, seafloor, and lakeshore in Massachusetts—collecting approximately 12,628 pounds of debris from 99 sites. CZM sends out heartfelt thanks to the thousands of volunteers who turned out for COASTSWEEP, which is part of an international effort organized by Ocean Conservancy where participants from all over the world collect trash and other marine debris and record their findings. This information is used to help reduce future marine debris problems. For more on the cleanups and to learn how to get involved next year, see the COASTSWEEP website. Signups for 2017 cleanups will begin next spring. Please contact us to receive a sign-up reminder.
Other Water Quality Program Activities - CZM has been working with the Coalition for Buzzards Bay, the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program, MassDEP, and the town of Wareham on studies to investigate how moving the town’s wastewater outfall from the Wareham River estuary to the more well-flushed Cape Cod Canal might improve water quality.
Data and Information Management
Tide Gate Inventory - With a grant from the NOAA Office for Coastal Management, CZM and the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program inventoried and mapped all the known tide gates from the New Hampshire border south to Provincetown, excluding Buzzards Bay, Mount Hope Bay, and the Islands. This effort lays the groundwork for more active and appropriate management of tide gates in the face of sea level rise projections, ongoing floodplain encroachment, and aging infrastructure. Attributes for each of the 149 tide gates include operator, tide gate type (flap gate, sluice gate, self-regulating tide gate, etc.), original purpose, condition, and operational status. These data are available in CZM’s mapping tool, MORIS.
Project/Federal Consistency Review
Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge Plan - CZM reviewed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) draft plan to acquire land, manage habitats, and offer compatible priority public uses for this newly approved wildlife refuge in Sandwich. This plan was proposed to help stem the decline of shrubland-dependent wildlife species. As part of the plan, USFWS identified 10 Refuge Acquisition Focus Areas encompassing approximately 298,820 acres across six northeast states. Areas of interest identified in the draft plan include Merrimack Valley North, Plymouth, and Mashpee as containing possible key acquisition sites in Massachusetts. CZM issued a federal consistency concurrence on the draft plan in August.
Dredging and Beach Nourishment Projects - In 2016, CZM reviewed several dredging and/or beach nourishment proposals submitted for the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) office review. These projects include the town of Nantucket’s Polpis Harbor Entrance Channel maintenance dredging project, Hingham Shipyard maintenance dredging project, Quincy Shipyard dredging project, maintenance dredging of all town managed channels and anchorages within Wellfleet Harbor, Marshfield Yacht Club dredging and beach nourishment project, and dredging as part of the Massachusetts Port Authority (MassPort) Conley Container Terminal Revitalization Project in Boston. In addition to state-level project review, CZM performs federal consistency review—the review of federal projects (including those requiring federal permits or receiving federal money) to ensure that they meet state standards. CZM issued federal consistency concurrences on projects including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) maintenance dredging of the Chatham Stage Harbor federal navigation channel and USACE federal navigation channel dredging and East Jetty repair at Green Harbor in Marshfield. CZM concurrence was also issued for the town of Bourne’s dredging of the little Bay Channel, Barlow’s Landing Channel, Barlow’s Landing Marina, and the Pocasset River. Five dredging projects in Manchester also received concurrences by CZM, including Hahn-Crosby, McFadden, Manchester Marine Corporation, Sunset Rock, and Crocker’s Boat Yard. CZM continues its participation on the technical advisory committee for the USACE Boston Harbor Deep Draft Navigational Improvement Project, which proposes port improvements including access to the Conley Terminal for container ships 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 six permits/renewals/modifications, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Pesticides General Permit, the Construction Activity Discharges General Permit, the Potable Water Treatment Facility Discharges General Permit, the town of Plymouth Wastewater Treatment Facility, the town of Ipswich Wastewater Treatment Facility, and General Electric Aviation in Lynn.
Federal Agency Actions - CZM worked with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to review and issue concurrence for the Commercial Wind Lease Issuance and Site Assessment Activities on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore of Massachusetts. BOEM has executed commercial leases to two entities for site assessments in blocks OCS-A 500 and OCS-A 501. The first was issued to Bay State Wind (the American subsidiary of DONG Energy) and the second to Offshore MW. CZM also issued concurrence for the Department of the Navy proposed rule regarding the Uniform National Discharge Standards for Vessels of the Armed Forces Phase II Batch One Discharges. CZM also issued concurrence on the project to repair the seawall at the Captain John Foster Williams Coast Guard Building in Boston. The USACE was issued a concurrence for the repair to the North Jetty at the entrance to Scituate Harbor.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers General Permit for Massachusetts - CZM is working closely with USACE in reviewing revisions to the Massachusetts General Permit (GP), issued in January 2015. These revisions are expected to make the GP more user-friendly and to provide clarifications based on stakeholder input. The 2015 permit defines 23 activities and specifies eligibility standards under Self Verification, Pre-Construction Notification, and Individual Permit categories. CZM worked closely with MassDEP, DMF, and the National Marine Fisheries Service in the review of the permit standards. The GP is designed to protect the aquatic environment and the public interest while authorizing activities that have no more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse effects on the aquatic environment.
Proposed Changes to Regulations - In September, CZM held three public hearings in Gloucester, Boston, and New Bedford related to the following regulations:
- 301 CMR 28 - Ocean Management Plan - The Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan was revised and an amended plan was released in January 2015. Implementing regulations are being revised to reflect the updated plan.
- 301 CMR 24 - Ocean Sanctuaries - These regulations are being revised and moved to reflect statutory changes made by Chapter 114 of the Acts of 2008, which amended the Ocean Sanctuaries Act to give CZM the legal care, oversight, and control responsibilities, previously held by the former Department of Environmental Management, now the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Reflecting this move from DCR to CZM, as well as other proposed revisions, the Ocean Sanctuaries Act regulations will be promulgated at 301 CMR 24, and regulations at 302 CMR 5.00 will be rescinded.
- 301 CMR 26 - Coastal Pollution Remediation Program - The regulation is being amended to incorporate administrative updates and eliminate duplication of efforts currently performed in the grant procurement process.
- 301 CMR 22 - Coastal Facilities Improvement Program - These regulations are proposed for rescission as resources for municipal grants are being provided through other grant programs and authorizations (such as the Seaport Economic Council).
These regulation changes are currently under review.
Port and Harbor Planning
Chelsea Creek Designated Port Area Boundary Review Decision - On April 6, CZM issued the Designation Decision for the Chelsea Creek Designated Port Area Chelsea, MA (PDF, 3 MB), concluding the comprehensive Designated Port Area (DPA) boundary review process for the city of Chelsea initiated in February 2015 at the city’s request. The decision affirms the findings and proposed DPA boundary modifications in CZM’s November 23, 2015, designation report, Boundary Review of the Chelsea Creek Designated Port Area, Chelsea, MA (PDF, 4 MB). The boundary modification was made in accordance with criteria governing the suitability of contiguous lands to accommodate water-dependent industrial use pursuant to 301 CMR 25.00 (PDF, 87 KB). The Commonwealth’s DPA policy seeks to promote water-dependent industries as an important sector of the state’s economy and prevent the loss of areas that have certain key characteristics that make them particularly well suited to water-dependent industrial uses. CZM is responsible for mapping, interpreting, and periodic review of DPA boundaries. For more on the Chelsea Creek decision, see the Designation Decision (PDF, 3 MB), updated DPA map (PDF, 2 MB) and DPA description (PDF, 87 KB). For more information on DPAs, see CZM’s Designated Port Areas website.
Local Planning Efforts - A number of communities have been working on existing or new harbor plans in 2016. In Boston Harbor, the city of Boston continues the process of developing a Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP) for the Downtown Waterfront District, which extends from Long Wharf to the Moakley Bridge. The city is expected to submit the MHP to EEA/CZM for approval in early 2017. The city of Boston also submitted the South Boston Waterfront District Municipal Harbor Plan Renewal and Amendment to EEA/CZM in November 2016. Other harbor planning work in South Boston included an MHP clarification request from Boston for the General Electric Headquarters project on the Fort Point Channel. A decision on both of these South Boston harbor planning efforts (PDF, 2 MB) was issued on December 21. Building on the Chelsea Creek DPA Boundary Review, the city of Chelsea received state funding to complete an MHP. Work will commence on the MHP in early 2017. On the South Shore, CZM continued to participate in ongoing interagency consultation meetings, including Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Notice of Project Change (NPC) project filing review, with representatives from the town of Plymouth regarding options and design details for the Water Street waterfront redevelopment project. CZM also participated in several public informational and feedback meetings in Plymouth associated with the initial steps in the development of a Harbor Management Plan. In the Cape Cod and Islands Region, a number of communities are considering amending their existing Municipal Harbor Plans to address new or anticipated development within the harbor planning areas. CZM has been consulting with representatives from Nantucket and Provincetown to discuss these issues. In the South Coast Region, CZM worked with New Bedford and Fairhaven on a second, one-year extension of their joint Municipal Harbor Plan, originally approved in 2010. The original one-year extension will expire in June 2017. CZM began participation on the New Bedford Waterfront Redevelopment Plan Steering Committee that will focus on the site of a former power generation facility in the central waterfront and on one other large site along the New Bedford waterfront. This planning effort is projected to stretch into summer 2017 and is expected to lead into a New Bedford/Fairhaven Municipal Harbor Plan renewal process starting shortly afterward. For more information about CZM’s harbor planning efforts, contact CZM’s Regional Coordinators.
Underwater Archaeological Resources
Designation of Massachusetts First Underwater Archaeological Preserve - On May 26, the Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources (BUAR) designated the White Squall site as the first Underwater Archaeological Preserve in Massachusetts waters. Under Massachusetts General Law, BUAR can designate underwater archaeological sites of substantial historical and/or archaeological value as Underwater Archaeological Preserves. The shipwreck site of the White Squall, a bark-rigged sailing craft made of iron built in 1864 and lost in 1867, is located in the Atlantic Ocean off Cahoons Hollow, Wellfleet, and adjacent to the Cape Cod National Seashore. See the White Squall nomination form (PDF, 68 KB) for additional details.
Marine Archaeology Programs and Presentation - BUAR undertook eight public and professional presentations for public schools, dive clubs, universities, and international societies. He ran a workshop at the annual North Shore High Marine Sciences Symposium and conducted a series of hands-on artifact programs with the Boston Public School’s Special Education summer program with the assistance of Dr. Naomi Riddiford and Catie Murphy. BUAR also provided exhibits at the Boston Sea Rovers Clinic and annual Essex Heritage “Trails & Sails.”
Massachusetts Archaeology Month - From October 14-15, in celebration of Massachusetts Archaeology Month, BUAR participated in the Archaeological Institute of America’s Archaeology Fair at the Boston Museum of Science. BUAR activities included participation in a mock “dig” of a shipwreck, writing underwater, and exhibits. BUAR Director Victor Mastone was assisted by volunteers Dr. Calvin Mires, Laurel Seaborn, Rico Roldan, and Annika Heinold. Approximately 3,600 visitors participated in the fair.
Training Citizen Scientists - In July, BUAR and the Seafaring Education and Maritime Archaeology Heritage Program co-lead a summer institute (workshop) through Salem State University, which was essentially an intensive one-week archaeological field school. In cooperation with The Trustees of the Reservation’s Crane Estate, they investigated the site of the schooner Ada K. Damon at Steep Hill Beach. The 14 participants received three undergraduate credit hours from Salem State University and a certificate from the Nautical Archaeology Society. This was the second year for the summer institute and the starting point for training citizen scientist volunteers.
Field Investigations - In 2016, BUAR undertook limited field investigations or provided technical expertise on several underwater archaeological sites in Boston, East Bridgewater, Edgartown, Ipswich, Newburyport, Orleans, and on George’s Bank. These sites included an ancient Native American fish weir, a lost aircraft, and shipwrecks.
Cape Cod Shipwreck Interview - Victor Mastone was recently interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) about a shipwreck find off Cape Cod. The Lutzen, nicknamed “the Blueberry Boat,” sank in 1939 during a trip from New Brunswick, Canada, to New York City. For details and to listen to the interview, see the CBC website.
Boston Seaport District Interview - In May, Victor Mastone assisted in the documentation of a shipwreck from 1800s uncovered in Boston. Watch the video on New England Cable News.
Shipwreck Remains Recovered from George’s Bank Interview - Victor Mastone visited the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center to examine shipwreck remains recovered by a scalloper. For details, see the New Bedford Standard Times.
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 2016 accomplishments for each region are provided below.
North Shore (Salisbury to Revere) - CZM continued to provide direct technical assistance to communities on the North Shore on a variety of issues, particularly climate change resilience. Coastal erosion, redevelopment, and preparation for climate change are particular issues for North Shore communities, and CZM continues to provide technical assistance on sea level rise adaptation as these communities advance efforts to plan for climate change. In early 2016, CZM worked with Essex to finalize coastal resilience outreach efforts; Lynn, Swampscott, and Manchester-by-the-Sea on resilience planning efforts; and Newbury, Salem, and Gloucester to complete green infrastructure projects. In May, funding from CZM’s Coastal Resilience Grant for the Little River Restoration and Resiliency Project in Gloucester resulted in the completion of a major collaborative effort, involving numerous local, state, and federal partners after more than a decade of planning (see StormSmart Coasts program above). Significant outreach to municipal officials early in 2016 for CZM’s FY 2017 Resilience Grant program resulted in five funded proposals on the North Shore. CZM is now providing guidance and technical assistance to Beverly on its coastal resiliency planning efforts and the communities of Ipswich, Newburyport, Salem, and Swampscott on green infrastructure planning and implementation projects. In 2016, CZM continued to work as an active partner with Ipswich River Watershed Association and National Wildlife Federation along with other state and local partners to assist with resiliency planning for Salisbury, Newburyport, Newbury, Rowley, Ipswich, and Essex as part of Great Marsh Resiliency Partnership, which is funded by a $2.9 million Hurricane Sandy Grant. As part of this effort, CZM participated in a workshop hosted by the National Wildlife Federation and funded by a Coastal Resilience Grant by providing a talk on Massachusetts regulatory requirements for innovative green infrastructure projects and participating in a panel discussion. CZM staff also continued to be actively involved in the Merrimack River Beach Alliance, providing technical assistance and regulatory guidance as the group explores opportunities for improved coastal resilience in the region. In November, CZM once again coordinated with Great Marsh Coalition (GMC) partners to present the fifth annual Great Marsh Symposium, Implications for Quality of Life in Our Communities, at Woodman’s of Essex, featuring current efforts and case studies of ongoing resiliency planning work in the region. This full-day workshop provided an opportunity for more than 120 citizens and local and state decision makers to discuss the ongoing efforts to understand the impacts of climate change on the Great Marsh. The symposium presentations are available on the GMC website. CZM also continued to be an active partner in both the GMC and Parker Ipswich Essex Rivers (PIE-Rivers) on the North Shore, focusing on improved ecological health of the marsh and its contributing watersheds. As part of these efforts, CZM worked with GMC and PIE-Rivers partners to plan and assist in creation of outreach videos featuring Great Marsh partnerships for developing community/regional resilience, to be funded through Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. These videos are expected to be developed sometime in FY2017. In August, CZM coordinated with local officials and campers, interns, and volunteers from the Cape Ann YMCA and Maritime Gloucester at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester to help EEA Secretary Beaton to kick off the statewide COASTSWEEP beach cleanup. More than 45 people turned out to clean the park and beaches, collecting 22 bags of trash and recyclables that would otherwise have become marine debris. CZM regional staff continues to coordinate the popular North Shore Regional Conservation Commission Network listserv, linking more than 50 local community staff and commission members to provide timely and relevant access to developments in coastal issues, training opportunities, grant postings, and technical opportunities, as well as the opportunity to tap into one another’s expertise for problem solving across municipal boundaries.
Boston Harbor (Winthrop to Weymouth) - CZM has been an active member of the Boston Harbor Dredge Rock Reuse Working Group, which was undertaken to investigate opportunities for the dredge material from the Boston Harbor Deep Draft Navigation and Improvement Project. CZM completed projects with the cities of Boston, Chelsea, Quincy, Weymouth, and Winthrop that were funded by the Coastal Resilience Grant Program and one project with Winthrop funded by the Coastal Community Green Infrastructure Grant Program. In Boston, CZM supported the Climate Ready Boston project, which was partially funded through a Coastal Resilience Grant. The project used existing climate research to project future climate impacts for Boston relating to sea level rise, precipitation, heat, and coastal storm events; performed a vulnerability assessment for the city using these projections; and authored a roadmap of resilient actions to adapt and prepare for these impacts. CZM also supported the city of Chelsea in their efforts to complete a climate change vulnerability assessment that determined areas most susceptible to sea level rise based on current modeling and sea level rise projections. This assessment—along with a waterfront visioning process led by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council—laid the ground work for the city to balance demands for space along the waterfront in the face of a changing city and rising seas. CZM began to provide assistance to the cities of Boston, Quincy, Winthrop, and Weymouth on projects funded by the FY 2017 round of CZM’s Coastal Resilience Grant Program. CZM also continued to provide technical assistance to the cities of Boston and Chelsea on issues relating to harbor planning and DPA planning, including the development of the city of Boston’s Downtown Waterfront MHP. CZM continued to provide support for the Fort Point Channel Operations Board, on which CZM represents the Secretary of EEA. The Operations Board had another successful round of Watersheet Activation Grants in 2016. These grants are funded with monies required by MassDEP in the Chapter 91 License for Atlantic Wharf along the Fort Point Channel. Another grant round is anticipated for 2017.
South Shore (Hingham to Plymouth) - 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 participating in state and federal permitting site visits for the Bound Brook Diadromous Fish Restoration Initiative and investigating other potential impediments to fish passage in upstream areas; working with the town of Kingston and project partners to reclassify shellfish harvesting areas in the region based on water quality improvements from CPR- and MassDEP-funded projects with the first step of developing informational materials for submittal to DMF to further inform the reclassification strategy; providing technical assistance and coordination for Coastal Resilience Grants awarded to the communities of Scituate, Duxbury, Hull, and Plymouth; and participating in the third annual Marshfield Furnace Brook Middle School Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Symposium, where 370 eighth grade students participated in activities focused on issues associated with sea level rise and climate change. CZM continued to partner with the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program, MassDEP, and Conservation Agents from the towns of Norwell, Hull, and Weymouth to implement and facilitate the South Shore Conservation Commission Network. CZM also participated in the development and presentation of the first South Shore Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Symposium, which provided 150 municipal officials and staff, state and federal agency representatives, non-governmental organizations, and consultants with a variety of presentations on climate change considerations and on-the-ground case studies of local and regional adaptation and resiliency initiatives. A highlight of the symposium was a panel discussion on strategies to promote coordinated and complementary inter-municipal and regional approaches to addressing the impacts of climate change and sea level rise.
Cape Cod and Islands (Bourne to Provincetown, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Gosnold) - CZM worked closely with many of the 23 communities within the region, providing direct technical assistance on a variety of coastal issues, including coastal erosion and beach management, water quality monitoring, stormwater management, harbor planning, and dredging. CZM provided technical assistance and resources to help communities understand the impacts from coastal flooding and implement measures to improve their coastal resilience. CZM assisted the towns of Brewster, Barnstable, Dennis, and Truro to apply for and secure grant funds from CZM’s Coastal Resilience Grant program. CZM is also working with the towns of Dennis, Harwich, and Truro to complete other projects funded through Coastal Resilience Grants by June 2017. CZM worked closely with Conservation Commissions throughout the region and helped coordinate six meetings of the Cape and Islands Conservation Commission Network. In addition, CZM provided project-specific technical assistance to Conservation Commissions in the towns of Brewster, Chatham, Dennis, Edgartown, Gosnold, Harwich, Nantucket, Oak Bluffs, Provincetown, and Tisbury. CZM assisted in planning and coordinating the 2016 Cape Coastal Conference in Barnstable and is in the process of planning the first Nantucket Coastal Conference, which will be held on June 6, 2017. Finally, CZM continues to serve on various boards and committees, including the Barnstable County Dredge Advisory Board, Pleasant Bay Coastal Resource Workgroup, and as co-chair the Barnstable County Coastal Resource Committee.
South Coastal (Wareham to Seekonk) - CZM worked closely with both the Buzzards Bay and Narragansett Bay National Estuary Programs (NEPs), participating on their Steering Committees. CZM continues to assist the Buzzards Bay NEP with the oversight of four projects awarded using EPA Southeast New England Coastal Watershed Restoration Program funding—two wastewater and two stormwater projects. CZM also assisted the Buzzards Bay NEP with the review and selection of six municipal grant projects in the Buzzards Bay watershed with five focused on land acquisition and one on fish passage. Through a Coastal Resilience Grant, CZM worked closely with the city of New Bedford to develop strategies for infrastructure improvements at nine of the city’s most vulnerable pump stations to reduce flooding from coastal storms and sea level rise. As a part of the grant the city also completed significant modifications to their Cove Street Pump Station and Howard Avenue Pump Station, making both of these critical pump stations much more resistant to flooding and more likely to quickly recover from coastal storms. Also through the Coastal Resilience Grant Program, the town of Wareham performed a risk and vulnerability assessment of critical wastewater infrastructure, including the treatment facility and pump stations. The studies identified preliminary protection measures and strategies for wastewater infrastructure that has the potential to be damaged under various storm category and sea level rise scenarios. The project also developed an Emergency Response Plan for use by the Wareham Sewer Department following a major storm. Similarly the town of Mattapoisett performed a risk and vulnerability assessment of its critical wastewater pump station and several of its drinking water pump stations. Spearheaded by CZM with the goal of improving communication and the exchange of ideas and strategies, the Wastewater Treatment Plant Superintendents from the South Coastal area of Massachusetts held their first coordination meeting in October. Topics discussed include improving resilience to coastal storms and climate change at the wastewater facilities, corrosion problems and solutions, and real-time monitoring. The meeting was well received and the group expressed an interest in having quarterly meetings, which CZM has agreed to coordinate.
National Estuary Programs
CZM hosts and administers two National Estuary Programs—the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program and the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program (MassBays). The Buzzards Bay NEP works to protect and restore water quality and living resources in Buzzards Bay and its watershed. MassBays works to protect and enhance the coastal health and heritage of Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays. Each program’s highlights from 2016 are included below.
Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program
Buzzards Bay NEP Awards Water Quality Grants - In January, the Buzzards Bay NEP awarded six grants totaling $794,478 to address nutrient and pathogen pollution in Buzzards Bay. These grants, which are funded by EPA and administered by CZM through the Buzzards Bay NEP, will help the towns protect important habitat and drinking water resources:
- Buzzards Bay Coalition - $200,000 to work with the towns of Wareham, Bourne, and Plymouth and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy to evaluate the feasibility of relocating the Wareham Wastewater Treatment Facility discharge from the Agawam River to a well-flushed area near the Cape Cod Canal.
- Marine Biological Laboratory - $175,918 to collaborate with the Buzzards Bay Coalition and Barnstable County Department of Health to quantify the nitrogen removal benefits from innovative alternative (I/A) systems being installed in West Falmouth Harbor. The work will also determine whether the addition of a carbon source will increase nitrogen removal in I/A systems.
- Town of Marion - $200,000 to coordinate with Mattapoisett and the Buzzards Bay Coalition in hiring a consultant to design an expanded sewage collection system from Marion’s Wastewater Treatment Facility into the existing densely developed neighborhoods of Indian Cove (Marion) and Harbor Beach (Mattapoisett) on Aucoot Cove.
- Town of Falmouth - $53,950 to expand an oyster reef to reduce nitrogen loads to West Falmouth Harbor near Mashapaquit Creek in the Snug Harbor area. The project will inform the extent to which oyster reefs can effectively improve water quality and can contribute to watershed nitrogen reduction for West Falmouth Harbor and other similar estuaries.
- Town of Fairhaven - $58,350 to prepare designs and permit applications for green infrastructure stormwater best management practices at four high priority outfalls on Sconticut Neck. The effort will reduce pathogen and nutrient loading and other stormwater pollutants to Little Bay and Nasketucket Bay.
- Town of Dartmouth - $106,260 to work the city of New Bedford to treat stormwater runoff from two outfalls located at the end of Rodgers Street discharging to Clarks Cove and contributing to shellfish bed closures there.
For additional information, see the EEA press release.
Buzzards Bay Municipal Grants Funding - In August, the Buzzards Bay NEP awarded more than $210,000 to fund seven projects that will help towns in the Buzzards Bay watershed protect important habitat and drinking water resources and provide passage for migratory fish species. All funded projects will assist these municipalities to meet the goals and objectives of the Buzzards Bay Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan. These grants were awarded to:
- Town of Acushnet - $35,000 to work with its partner, the Buzzards Bay Coalition, to protect a 9-acre property along the Acushnet River. The property contains field, forest, and forested wetlands and is designated habitat for rare species. Protection of this property will advance the town’s long-term vision of a “greenbelt,” a corridor of connected conservation and recreation land along the Acushnet River.
- Town of Fairhaven - $35,000 to work with its partner, the Buzzards Bay Coalition, to protect 61.5 acres of land in East Fairhaven that is part of a larger conservation effort. The property is designated as habitat for rare species and contains significant salt marsh, forested freshwater wetlands, and frontage on a perennial stream.
- Town of Marion - $10,924 to remove an obstruction to fish passage on Borden Brook, which runs through Grassi Bog. Borden Brook is an existing American eel run and has the potential to support other fish species, including alewife. The town will remove an existing culvert and replace it with a larger culvert that will mimic natural stream channel conditions and provide unimpeded fish passage.
- Towns of Mattapoisett and Rochester - $35,000 each to work with their partner, the Buzzards Bay Coalition, to protect 164-acres of land straddling the Rochester-Mattapoisett town boundary. The properties lie within a drinking water recharge area, are designated as habitat for rare species, contain extensive wetlands, have frontage on Branch Brook, and abut existing protected lands owned by the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game and the Mattapoisett Water Department.
- Town of Rochester - $25,000 to work with its partner, the Rochester Land Trust, to purchase and permanently protect an 18.27-acre property along the Mattapoisett River. The property is designated habitat for rare species, contains extensive wetlands, has frontage on the Mattapoisett River, and abuts existing protected lands.
- Town of Wareham - $35,000 to work with its partners, the Buzzards Bay Coalition and Wareham Land Trust, to protect 8 acres of land along the Weweantic River. The town proposes to use this land for natural resource protection and for trail-based recreation connecting to the existing adjacent trail system along the river, immediately downstream at the Westgate Conservation Area and Fearing Hill Conservation Area.
For more information, see the EEA Press Release.
Buzzards Bay NEP Launches Stormwater Website - In February 2016, the Buzzards Bay NEP launched stormwater.buzzardsbay.org, a new website to support the activities of the newly formed Buzzards Bay Stormwater Collaborative, which consists of five towns (Dartmouth, Acushnet, Fairhaven, Mattapoisett, and Wareham) that are working with the Buzzards Bay Action Committee (BBAC) and the Buzzards Bay NEP to map stormwater networks and monitor stormwater discharges that are contributing to shellfish bed closures and other pollution-caused impairments. This work began in the fall of 2015 when the BBAC received a $200,000 Healthy Communities Grant from EPA. The Buzzards Bay NEP, which is partnering with the BBAC on the grant, has dedicated staff time to support the municipal effort. The BBAC also hired a stormwater specialist and interns to collect dry and wet weather stormwater samples. This work is supporting municipal efforts to meet the goals of their municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4) stormwater management plans. During the year, significant progress has been made mapping stormwater networks and collecting hundreds of stormwater discharge samples to test for pollution and evidence of illicit tie-ins. The NEP is also administering a GIS system for the towns to manage data.
Massachusetts Estuaries Project - The Buzzards Bay NEP continues to provide technical support to MassDEP in the review of Massachusetts Estuaries Project Total Maximum Daily Load reports and the data used in these reports.
Technical Assistance - 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 439 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. The Buzzards Bay NEP partnered with the Buzzards Bay Coalition, Woods Hole Research Center, the Marine Biological Laboratory, and the Westport Fishermen’s Association to investigate the causes of salt marsh erosion in the Westport Rivers using field investigation and historic aerial photographs dating back to 1938. The Buzzards Bay NEP is also working with the Buzzards Bay Coalition Science Advisory Committee and a team of scientists in Woods Hole to identify climate-induced changes in water quality in Buzzards Bay.
Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program
MassBays Awards Healthy Estuary Grants - In April, MassBays awarded $97,828 to fund projects through the Healthy Estuaries Grants Program that help towns and organizations improve ecosystem health in Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay. These grants were awarded by MassBays through CZM with funding from EPA. The grants are being matched by $99,112 in municipal and private contributions and focus on supporting MassBays mission to protect, restore, and enhance the estuarine resources of the region. The following five grants were awarded:
- Center for Coastal Studies - $31,986 to conduct an extensive assessment of contaminants of emerging concern in Cape Cod Bay estuaries to evaluate ecological health risks and provide a more complete understanding of how land-use patterns affect water quality beyond nutrient contamination.
- MIT Sea Grant College Program - $28,500 to conduct surveys to identify specific river herring habitat preferences and resource use that will inform ongoing restoration efforts to convert cranberry bogs to natural wetland and restore fish passage in Fresh Pond in Plymouth.
- The Association to Preserve Cape Cod - $15,010 to prioritize restoration projects and identify two top-priority projects to develop for planning and construction, including submission of proposals for funding.
- Town of Braintree - $16,000 to conduct comprehensive wetland delineation and develop a sediment management plan for the restoration of a fish passage to the 180-acre Great Pond Reservation.
- Town of Wellfleet - $8,640 to use an existing hydrodynamic tide-height model to assess various culvert configurations for the Mayo Creek Restoration.
For more information, see the EEA Press Release.
King Tides - MassBays teamed up with Boston Harbor Now, New England Aquarium, and the Museum of Science, Boston to call attention to the King Tide that occurred from October 17 through 19. King Tides occur twice a year, when Earth, the moon, and the sun align and maximize gravitational forces to produce extreme tides and currents. Extreme high tides illustrate what may become—with sea level rise—the new tidal norm. More than 115 people provided 404 images documenting the effects of this natural phenomenon on coastal structures and natural resources all around Massachusetts, using CZM’s MyCoast app. See MyCoast to browse the photos and download the app, which is used year-round to record coastal storm impacts as well.
Citizen Monitoring Coordinators’ Network - On September 29, MassBays held a summit for citizen monitoring coordinators to share resources and consider forming a network of coastal monitoring programs to address capacity-building needs. The resulting Citizen Monitoring Coordinators’ Network will connect organizations with scientists who can help them formulate their own questions and approaches to answering those questions; facilitate equipment exchange and joint training for volunteers; provide training on communicating results to local and state decision makers; and help to secure funding to sustain long-term programs and jump-start lapsed ones. Visit the MassBays website for more information and to join the effort.
Tide Gate Inventory - CZM and MassBays completed work under a $148,709 grant from the NOAA Office for Coastal Management to compile an inventory of tide gates (a type of flood-control structure) located in Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay. The effort identified 149 tide gates in the coastal zone from Salisbury to Provincetown. Results of field inspections of 76 tide gates and file reviews for all of the structures are compiled in an online database that will provide state and local staff with a means to prioritize restoration and improve management of the existing structures. These data are available in CZM’s mapping tool, MORIS. An Executive Summary documenting follow-up work during summer and fall 2016, and the current status of all structures, is in development.
Grant Writing Workshops - In the spring, MassBays, MassDEP, and Bay State Roads collaborated to present three professional development workshops for municipal and nonprofit staff on writing proposals for state grants. The program included an introduction to logic models for project planning, budgeting considerations, and an opportunity for attendees to discuss their project ideas with state grant program representatives. See the MassBays website for materials from the workshop (scroll down to “technical transfer resources”).
Blue Carbon, Green Eelgrass - With supplemental funding through EPA’s Climate Ready Estuaries program, MassBays supported scientists at MIT Sea Grant and EPA Region 1 to conduct research into the capacity of eelgrass to store carbon over long periods (to aid in climate change mitigation). MassBays convened an expert roundtable to evaluate findings in the context of known sequestration by salt marshes. The experts concluded that carbon storage by this native seagrass is comparable to that of marshes. EPA continues to invest in validating this new information across New England, while MassBays and MIT spread the word to resource managers and the public through new outreach products. For more information, see Blue Carbon, Green Eelgrass: Estimating Carbon Storage in Eelgrass in the Gulf of Maine. 2015 (PDF, 1 MB) and Eelgrass Mapping in Cohasset and Sandwich in Support of Blue Carbon Studies. MA Division of Marine Fisheries, 2016 (PDF, 5 MB).
Eelgrass Mapping - MassBays secured resources to support efforts by DMF to map eelgrass meadows (PDF, 2 MB) in Duxbury-Kingston-Plymouth Bay and Salem Sound. The project served to ground-truth maps produced by MassDEP based on historical aerial photos, and to lay the basis for identifying causes of eelgrass loss across the region.
Staff & People
In looking back over the year, CZM welcomes new staff (and existing staff in new roles) and thanks our dedicated interns.
Graphic Designer - After 18 years of inspired creativity on behalf of the Massachusetts coast, Arden Miller, CZM’s long-time graphic artist, has followed the sun to Savannah, Georgia. In addition to designing hundreds of magazines, reports, posters, invitations, web images, and so many other impressive items, Arden served as a writer and editor for CZM’s Coastlines Magazine and wrote many of the more interesting CZM pieces, including these CZ-Tips: Summer Evenings of Sunsets, Sand Sculpting, Sails, and More; Massachusetts Most Intriguing Marine Creatures; and Repurposing with a Purpose. She also managed CZM’s Flickr Photo Gallery and COASTSWEEP social media, which includes Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We will miss her unique perspective and commitment to her craft—from choosing the best possible font and grooming each line of type to collecting colorful trash to make marine debris sculptures. Best of luck, Arden, in your new and warmer home!
Marine Spatial Planner - In November, CZM’s Marine Spatial Planner, Emily Chambliss Huntley, relocated to North Carolina with her family. Hired in 2008, Emily played an important role in the development of the groundbreaking 2009 Massachusetts Ocean Plan, and her mapping and analysis are imprinted on both that plan and its 2015 successor. Emily also worked on a myriad of other CZM efforts, including seafloor mapping, developing and cultivating the Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (MORIS), delineating the Commonwealth’s Designated Port Areas (DPAs), and creating and maintaining much of spatial data that CZM uses on a daily basis. We will miss her many technical skills, willingness to dig in to any project no matter how big or small, and unsurpassed attention to detail. Most of all, however, we will miss her friendly professionalism, work ethic, and pure positivity. Best of luck Emily in all your future endeavors!
Marine GIS and Mapping Specialist - In November, CZM welcomed Samantha Coccia-Schillo as the new Marine GIS and Mapping Specialist. Samantha, who recently graduated with a Master’s in Geographic Information Science for Development and Environment from Clark University, brings strong GIS and data analysis skills to CZM. Her expertise will be applied to a bevy of CZM programs including seafloor mapping, our online mapping tool MORIS, coastal public access, and ocean planning. Welcome Samantha!
Internships - CZM welcomed the following interns to help with various projects through the summer and fall:
- Ocean Planning Intern - During summer 2016, CZM hosted Fiona Maguire as the 2016 Ocean Planning intern. Fiona assisted CZM with characterizing ocean-based aquaculture by researching, conducting interviews, and developing a document synthesizing policies, regulations, economic benefits, and potential conflicts. This work laid the groundwork for CZM to develop an offshore aquaculture work group to support the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan. In addition, Fiona updated the EEA Wind Energy webpage and assisted CZM in tracking emerging scientific publications on climate change. Fiona is completing her senior year of studies in Marine Biology and Environmental Studies at Eckerd College in Florida.
- COASTSWEEP Intern - In June, CZM welcomed Brad Riew as the 2016 COASTSWEEP Intern. While at CZM, Brad contributed to this year’s successful cleanup campaign by helping recruit new volunteer groups and creating a database of contacts for future coordinators. He also researched innovative methods to tackle the number one item found at cleanups—cigarette butts. Brad took a hands-on approach to the job, collecting trash along the Charles River and the Boston Harborwalk, sorting it, logging it, and coming up with some creative ways to encourage people to recycle. Brad is now back at Harvard where he is a psychology major. Thank you Brad and good luck with your studies! To learn more about beach cleanups in Massachusetts, see the COASTSWEEP website.
- BUAR Archaeological Interns and Volunteers - During 2016, the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources was aided by a number of volunteers and hosted several unpaid interns. Their assistance was significant and very helpful to BUAR. Annika Heinold (Bridgewater State University) continued serving as an unpaid research assistant completing development of a site plan for the Ada K. Damon shipwreck site. Reina Hernandez (Match Charter High School; now attending Assumption College) completed a one month unpaid internship in May assisting in administrative and research tasks. In September, Rico Roldan (University of Guam) began an 18-month unpaid internship working on a variety of field, research, and administrative tasks. Dr. Naomi Riddiford (University of London) continued volunteering in the office. She specializes in paleo-environmental archaeology and pollen analysis. BUAR unpaid Research Fellows, Leland Crawford (University of Southern Denmark) and Jennifer Jones (East Carolina University), along with Greg Lott, Caitlyn Gibbons, Catie Murphy, and Mike Moscho (the latter three are students from Salem State University), assisted in field projects and educational programming. Madden Bremer (Salem State University) is currently working on transforming the BUAR site files into a geo-referenced database and shipwreck atlas. Thank you all for your valuable assistance!
- MassBays Intern - MassBays hosted Boston University graduate Nick Moreno as a paid intern to carry out three projects: 1) document and characterize ongoing monitoring in Massachusetts Bay, Cape Cod Bay, and the North Shore; 2) conduct field visits and file reviews for the tide gate inventory; and 3) help plan and implement the Citizen Monitoring Coordinators’ Summit. Nick’s ability to multitask and his facility with ArcGIS made him an invaluable member of the MassBays team from July to October 2016.