Welcome to the year-in-review edition of CZ-Mail, which highlights many of the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) accomplishments in 2017, 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 2018.
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Overview of 2017 at CZM
In 2017, CZM continued to focus on several key initiatives to address climate change and stormwater impacts at the local level. In addition, regional ocean planning, offshore wind energy, and the release of new mapping tools rounded out a busy and productive year for CZM and our partners. To help prepare coastal communities for climate change impacts, CZM’s StormSmart Coasts Program awarded $2.2 million for 16 Coastal Resilience Grants, which fund efforts to reduce or eliminate risks associated with coastal storms, erosion, and sea level rise. CZM continues to support and provide assistance in EEA’s new Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program, which awarded funding to 71 cities and towns to complete a community-driven process to identify hazards and develop strategies to improve resilience. In addition, CZM and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) released Applying the Massachusetts Coastal Wetlands Regulations: A Practical Manual for Conservation Commissions to Protect the Storm Damage Prevention and Flood Control Functions of Coastal Resource Areas, a guide that provides direction to Conservation Commissions and project proponents to address the impacts that proposed projects may have on the storm damage prevention and flood control functions of coastal resource areas. CZM stormwater management efforts centered around the Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Program, which awarded $500,000 for six municipal stormwater projects 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. In ocean planning, CZM worked on behalf of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) to implement the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan and the Northeast Ocean Plan, as a member of the Northeast Regional Planning Body—a collaborative effort to promote better ocean management decisions throughout the region. CZM has been working with partners on advancing science priorities identified in the MA Ocean Plan, including advancing marine habitat mapping, characterizing marine sand deposits, and tracking effects of climate change on MA ocean waters. As part of efforts to increase municipal awareness regarding planning for climate-related impacts, CZM provided extensive direct technical assistance to communities and coastal businesses on coastal resilience and stormwater issues. In other coastal water quality efforts, CZM’s Buzzards Bay National Estuary 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 the area of coastal habitat, CZM and partners continued their efforts to monitor salt marshes for the impacts of sea level rise. Also this year, CZM’s mapping team launched two new tools: the Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Viewer, which includes interactive maps of flooding extents and water level elevations associated with sea level rise scenarios, current coastal flood zones, and federal hurricane surge models, and Coast Guide Online, an interactive mapping tool designed to be used on mobile phones and tablets, as well as desktop computers, that includes more than 1,800 sites along the Massachusetts coast that are open to the public. These and other highlights and accomplishments for CZM and its hosted programs in 2017 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 2017 accomplishments for each CZM program area are listed below.
CZM Coastal Resilience Grant Awards - In August, CZM awarded more than $2.2 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) 2018 grants were awarded to:
- Dennis - $133,300 to study the effect of waves and the movement of sand along Chapin Beach and develop engineering design plans for a small-scale beach nourishment project with a new groin to mitigate severe erosion at Dr. Bottero Road and maintain access to the beach and Aquacultural Research Corporation.
- Duxbury Beach Reservation, Inc. - $36,340 to design and permit a 1,700-foot-long dune restoration project between the first and second crossovers on Duxbury Beach to strengthen the resilience of the barrier beach dune system and protect the Duxbury Beach access road.
- Eastham - $79,676 to study the volume, rate, and direction of sand moving along a six-mile stretch of Cape Cod Bay shoreline in the towns of Eastham and Wellfleet. This data will help inform future design, evaluation and implementation of regional shoreline management efforts.
- Essex - $71,450 to develop a comprehensive database of flooding, erosion, and other coastal hazard data specific to the Great Marsh, conduct regional workshops on emergency management and coastal resilience planning issues, and design and install educational signage on future climate change projections and local adaptation efforts.
- Falmouth - $124,695 to evaluate engineering alternatives to increase protection of Menauhant Beach and associated roadway infrastructure located west of the Bournes Pond Inlet to address current flooding and erosion concerns and potential future sea level rise impacts.
- Gloucester - $97,500 to design and prepare bid specifications for infrastructure improvements at five of its most vulnerable pump stations. The flood proofing measures will be designed to protect the long-term function of the pump stations from anticipated sea level rise impacts.
- Kingston - $497,725 to restore Gray’s Beach to a more natural environment by replacing a deteriorating stone revetment with a marsh and dune system and relocating an existing concession and restroom facility farther inland to accommodate future flooding, erosion and sea level rise impacts.
- Marshfield - $36,000 to analyze existing conditions along the shoreline and conduct a feasibility evaluation of potential town-owned locations to place sand and other sediment that is routinely dredged from Green Harbor for future beach and dune enhancement.
- Mattapoisett - $67,800 to complete final design and permitting of recommended improvements to the water main crossing between Pease’s Point and Point Connett to help ensure that service and water quality will be maintained during storm events.
- New Bedford - $153,045 to complete a detailed analysis of shore protection alternatives and develop permit-level engineering design plans for a preferred beach nourishment project along West Rodney French Boulevard.
- Northeastern University - $202,950 to evaluate, design, and submit permit applications for a mixed-sediment (e.g., sand, gravel, and cobble) dune and beach nourishment project that will provide increased storm damage protection for Canoe Beach and the surrounding public utilities, infrastructure, and facilities.
- Salem - $11,250 to complete permitting activities and prepare final construction design plans to restore a fringing salt marsh using coir rolls and natural vegetation along Collins Cove to provide increased protection from erosion, storm surge, and wave forces.
- Scituate - $210,000 to develop engineering designs and preliminary environmental permit documents for dune nourishment and roadway elevation along a portion of Central Avenue on Humarock Beach to provide storm damage protection for repetitively damaged public and private infrastructure.
- Wareham - $101,100 to obtain required permits and develop final construction plans, specifications, and cost estimates for improvements at three of its most vulnerable pump stations to help endure future storm events and minimize public health and environmental risks.
- Weymouth - $397,500 to replace an existing, collapsing culvert at the entrance to Great Esker Park with a new culvert and “daylight” a portion of the tidal stream to mitigate flooding around Puritan Road and improve the health and function of the salt marsh.
- Winthrop - $77,550 to finalize design plans and prepare permit applications for a coastal bank stabilization project using bioengineering techniques at Coughlin Park to minimize erosion and maintain public access to the beach and nearshore area.
For more information, see the EEA Press Release.
Coastal Community Resilience Projects Completed - In 2017, 18 projects were completed with Coastal Resilience Grant funding from FY 2017:
- Beverly identified climate change risks and developed preliminary strategies to protect the most vulnerable public infrastructure and critical facilities from flooding and sea level rise.
- Boston developed coastal resilience strategies to mitigate flooding at two priority sites identified through the Climate Ready Boston vulnerability assessment, the East Boston Greenway and the Charlestown Schrafft site.
- Dennis evaluated, designed, and prepared 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 prepared 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 assessed areas along the Ipswich River that are vulnerable to erosion and sea level rise impacts and evaluated the feasibility of nature-based stabilization techniques to help protect critical roadways and utilities.
- Marshfield evaluated 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 assessed beach stability under a range of sea level rise and hurricane conditions at Fresh Pond Cove and quantified coastal hazard risk to an existing exposed water main that traverses the beach from Pease’s Point to Point Connett. Modeling results were used to determine options for relocating the water main crossing to ensure service and water quality will be maintained in the two neighborhoods.
- New Bedford evaluated and designed a beach restoration project along an armored section of West Rodney French Boulevard that is particularly vulnerable to erosion and tidal impacts.
- Newburyport restored eight acres of dune habitat and transplanted 10,000 native plants to help reduce erosion and provide wildlife habitat at Plum Island Point. The town also installed Mobi-mats to improve beach access and minimize impacts to dune habitat.
- Plymouth assessed 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 developed climate adaptation strategies for protecting Palmer Street and surrounding water resource and utility infrastructure serving the Germantown neighborhood.
- Salem completed permit-level design plans for 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 evaluated 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 developed design plans 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 identified low-lying flood pathways under current and future storm conditions and installed a tide staff to provide the public and local emergency responders with real-time forecasts of the heights, locations, and pathways of coastal storm flooding.
- Wareham developed 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.
Massachusetts Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Viewer - To support the assessment of coastal flooding vulnerability and risk for community facilities and infrastructure, CZM developed the Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Viewer. This viewer includes interactive maps of flooding extents and water level elevations associated with sea level rise scenarios, flood zones under current conditions, and hurricane surge modeled by NOAA, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Examples of mapped facilities include: electrical generation facilities, fire stations, hospitals, police stations, town/city halls, and wastewater treatment plants. With the viewer, users can zoom in to an area of interest and view public facilities and associated flooding data, switching tabs to compare maps of sea level rise, FEMA coastal flood zones, and hurricane surge. The viewer and technical report are designed as a general planning tool to support broad-scale vulnerability and risk assessments and identification of adaptation strategies consistent with Governor Baker’s Executive Order 569 and programs like CZM’s StormSmart Coasts.
CZM and MassDEP Coastal Manual - CZM and MassDEP released Applying the Massachusetts Coastal Wetlands Regulations: A Practical Manual for Conservation Commissions to Protect the Storm Damage Prevention and Flood Control Functions of Coastal Resource Areas, otherwise known as the Coastal Manual. The Coastal Manual provides direction to Conservation Commissions and project applicants on how to address the impacts that proposed projects may have on the storm damage prevention and flood control functions of coastal resource areas. The guidance helps interpret the existing Wetlands Protection Act Regulations, clarifies how coastal resource areas are delineated, expands on the description of their functions, and guides applicants and Conservation Commissions on how to apply and meet performance standards. In addition, the manual explains in detail how Commissions should use best available tools, data, and information for complete and accurate project review. This guidance is the product of a collaborative effort of experts from CZM and MassDEP, with input from a Technical Advisory Committee comprised of representatives from federal and local government, a consulting firm, a nonprofit group, and a law firm. CZM and MassDEP held 11 workshops in 2017 to train state staff, local officials, consultants, and others on the contents of the document.
Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Underway - Through the new Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program, EEA awarded funding to 71 cities and towns to complete a community-driven process to identify hazards and develop strategies to improve resilience. Through the MVP program, municipalities will be better equipped to plan and prepare for climate change, and state government will gain a better understanding of the challenges communities face across the Commonwealth. Additionally, the program will help ensure coordinated statewide efforts and align programs with the critical challenges facing communities. CZM assisted EEA with training service providers to deliver the MVP program using a standardized toolkit for assessing vulnerability and developing strategies, and the best available statewide climate projections and data.
Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience - In March, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management, in partnership with CZM, the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center, presented the Introducing Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience course in Hyannis and Nahant. The two-day training sessions for local officials and non-governmental partners provided an overview of traditional green infrastructure approaches, including low-impact development techniques, and introduced living shorelines, which use natural materials to manage flooding and erosion. The trainings featured presentations on implementation of local projects and group discussions.
Advancing Nature-Based Coastal Protection - In July, NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management announced an award of $999,999 to The Nature Conservancy, the state coastal zone management programs in New England (including CZM), and the Northeast Regional Ocean Council to increase the effective use of nature-based infrastructure (or “living shorelines”) for flood protection. The NOAA Coastal Resilience Grant Program seeks to address local impacts of coastal storms and sea level rise. Building on a previous NOAA coastal resilience award, CZM will continue to work with regional partners over the next three years to develop information on suitable natural infrastructure types and benefits. This regional effort will support implementation and monitoring of a range of projects to increase natural resilience of coastal banks, beaches, and marshes. For more information, see the NOAA press release.
StormSmart Coasts Outreach - Throughout 2017, CZM’s StormSmart Coasts Program hosted workshops in the coastal regions and presented at other events to provide local officials and others with information on erosion, flooding, coastal storm impacts, sea level rise, alternatives for mitigating erosion and storm damage, and local adaptation planning. Participation at the following events focused on coastal flooding, adaptation, and resilience:
- Environmental Business Council of New England’s Climate Change Program Series on Adaptation and Resiliency Programs at the State Level.
- Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions Annual Environmental Conference.
- New England Water Environment Association’s Creating Resilient Infrastructure & Watersheds Conference.
- NOAA workshop at the Museum of Science to advance education for community resilience.
- Massachusetts Historic Preservation Conference.
- Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2017 Biennial Conference on Coastal Science at the Inflection Point: Celebrating Successes and Learning from Challenges.
Ocean Advisory Commission - In 2017, the Commonwealth’s Ocean Advisory Commission (OAC) convened in January to discuss continued implementation of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan and related topics including ocean-based aquaculture, offshore wind and transmission, offshore sand resources, and updates to the Northeast Ocean Plan and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument designated in September 2016. The OAC includes legislators, representatives from commercial fishing, environmental organizations, offshore renewable energy, coastal planning bodies, and the heads of CZM, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), and Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF). The Commission met again in October and welcomed new legislators, including Senators Joseph Boncore and Julian Cyr and Representative Joan Meschino. Meeting highlights included developing a proposed approach to establish a Special Review Procedure for permitting deep water aquaculture in Massachusetts, an update on offshore energy transmission projects (Deepwater Wind/Revolution Wind, Atlantic Link, and County Line Wind), and an update on offshore sand resources characterization work. The Commission will meet next in early 2018.
Northeast Ocean Plan - In 2017, 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, was actively engaged in implementation of the Northeast Ocean Plan. In May, the RPB, held a Stakeholder Forum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Attendees provided feedback and informed next steps for the implementation of the Northeast Ocean Plan. This forum was followed by a May 24 public meeting at the National Marine Fisheries Offices in Gloucester. In November, the RPB held a workshop at the University of New Hampshire to review and gather feedback on the latest draft data products related to commercial fishing, marine transportation, recreation, marine life, ecological importance, and other ocean planning topics. The outcomes of the workshop will help inform how the Northeast Ocean Data Portal is updated and potential next steps in 2018. At the fall meeting in November, discussions include important updates from RPB members about plan implementation, progress to date, and priorities for 2018.
Renewable Energy Task Force and Offshore Wind Updates - In May, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) convened a Joint Massachusetts and Rhode Island Renewable Energy Task Force Meeting in Falmouth. CZM, EEA, and MassCEC provided updates from the Commonwealth highlighting the collaborative efforts and progress to date, while pointing to some of the next steps, including the upcoming Massachusetts competitive procurement pursuant to the Energy Diversity Act. BOEM provided updates on the status of the offshore lease areas and environmental reviews, and offshore wind developer representatives discussed plans for site characterization surveys and timelines for developing construction and operations plans. Following the Task Force meeting, the Commonwealth convened a public information meeting to share updates and answer questions. Also in May, CZM and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center held meetings of the Fisheries Working Group on Offshore Wind Energy and Habitat Working Group on Offshore Wind Energy. For more information on Massachusetts offshore wind, see the EEA’s Offshore Wind website.
Offshore Wind Renewable Energy - Pursuant to the Act to Promote Energy Diversity, signed in August 2016 by Governor Baker, bids for long-term contracts for offshore wind energy projects were submitted to the Massachusetts Electric Distribution companies, in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, for the procurement of up to 800 megawatts of offshore wind energy in December 2017. CZM continues to coordinate with BOEM, the three offshore wind lease holders/developers, agencies and stakeholders on ongoing and new studies and pending environmental reviews for potential offshore wind projects.
Seafloor Mapping Initiative - In 2017, CZM hired APTIM Environmental and Infrastructure, Inc., and CR Environmental, Inc., to conduct a preliminary characterization of offshore sand resources in five study areas located offshore Massachusetts. Erosion is an issue for many Massachusetts beaches, endangering public infrastructure and assets, impacting coastal property, and degrading important habitat for wildlife. One approach to managing erosion problems is beach nourishment—the process of adding compatible sand onto an eroding beach. Sources of sand can be beneficial reuse from dredging projects, upland sources or offshore areas. As a follow-up to preliminary characterization work done for the 2015 MA Ocean Plan, five areas identified in the plan were selected for further investigation based on a number of criteria including the type of surface sediment, bathymetry, and sidescan sonar images of the seafloor collected as part of the ongoing CZM-USGS Seafloor Mapping Cooperative. When complete, the characterization will provide estimates of the amount of sand available, sand grain size distributions, and a summary of biological resources. Preliminary results indicate that all five sites do have sizable sand deposits. Further analysis will determine total sand volume and compatibility potential for the nourishment of nearby beaches. This effort supports the goals of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan.
Gulf of Maine Council Awards - On June 7, the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment presented its annual awards during a ceremony in Portland, Maine, which included awards to two environmental leaders from Massachusetts. Linda Cabot received a Visionary Award for her documentary, From the Bow Seat, which explores the challenges faced by three Gulf of Maine species: cod, puffins, and lobsters. The film was inspired by a 2011 sailing trip Cabot and her daughters took to document issues impacting the Gulf of Maine. Creating the film led to the launch of Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit founded to empower the next generation of ocean caretakers through art, science, and advocacy. Through an annual Ocean Awareness Contest, Bow Seat challenges students to explore ocean pollution through visual art, film, poetry, and prose. More than 4,000 students from 67 countries have participated since the contest was launched in 2012, and more than $100,000 in scholarships have been awarded. Save the Harbor Save the Bay received a Visionary Award for its work since 1986 to advocate for cleaner water and better access to Boston area beaches and Islands. The organization helped establish the Boston Harbor Islands National Park, and since 2002, has connected more than 100,000 Boston-area youths to Boston Harbor and its islands through fishing expeditions, harbor tours, and other innovative programs. Save the Harbor Save the Bay has also worked to advocate for improved water quality conditions in the region through environmental advocacy, scientific research, and monitoring programs. Congratulations to Linda Cabot and Save the Harbor Save the Bay for this well earned recognition! For a complete list of winners and more information on the awards, see the Gulf of Maine Council website.
Coastal Water Quality
Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Awards - In August, EEA announced $500,000 in funding through CZM’s Coastal Pollution Remediation (CPR) Grant Program for projects to protect coastal water quality in Massachusetts. The FY 2018 winning projects are:
- Barnstable - $59,014 to identify sites in the watershed where stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) can be installed and complete designs at the highest priority locations.
- Everett - $43,496 to prioritize areas suitable for future construction of stormwater BMPs to treat contaminated runoff entering the Malden and Mystic Rivers.
- Kingston - $161,288 to finalize designs, permit, and construct BMPs to treat stormwater runoff contaminated by bacteria that currently impacts water quality in the Jones River.
- Melrose - $50,699 to construct four rain gardens to treat contaminated stormwater runoff currently impacting the water quality of Ell Pond in the Mystic River watershed.
- Plymouth - $175,000 to construct stormwater BMPs addressing stormwater runoff entering Great Herring Pond, protecting water quality and critical habitat for river herring.
- Yarmouth - $10,533 to finalize the design of stormwater BMPs that treat bacteria and nitrogen contaminated runoff impacting waterbodies on Yarmouth’s southern coast.
The grants are being matched by $380,749 from municipal sources, further extending the power of the grant program. Since 1996, nearly $10 million has been awarded through the CPR grant program to coastal watershed communities. For more information, see the EEA press release.
Water Quality Projects Completed in Coastal Watershed Communities - In 2017, these five projects were completed through Coastal Pollutant Remediation (CPR) FY 2017 grant funding:
- Medford - Designed and constructed a stormwater bioretention system to treat stormwater runoff entering Wright’s Pond in the Mystic River watershed.
- Milton - Developed stormwater BMP designs at four priority locations to address water quality in Unquity Brook.
- Plymouth - Assessed stormwater retrofit options and designed BMPs to treat stormwater discharging into Great Herring Pond.
- Salem - Designed and permitted stormwater treatment systems at Winter Island Park to improve water quality in Salem Sound and Salem Harbor.
- Yarmouth - Designed and constructed a gravel wetland stormwater treatment system to reduce pollutants flowing into the Lewis Bay and Bass River watersheds.
Stormwater BMP Retrofit Design Pilot Projects Completed in Coastal Watershed Communities - In 2017, these four projects were completed with Coastal Water Quality Program funding to increase effectiveness and resiliency of stormwater infrastructure in Massachusetts:
- Manchester-by-the-Sea - Designed an infrastructure retrofit to address stormwater entering Sawmill Brook, an important rainbow smelt spawning habitat currently impacted by runoff pollution.
- Melrose - Developed final designs for rain gardens, with a focus on resiliency to anticipated increases in storm intensity and frequency due to climate change.
- Winthrop - Designed infrastructure retrofits in its downtown area to ensure that stormwater management technologies remain effective despite the predicted increase in flooding due to climate change.
- Yarmouth - Evaluated existing stormwater BMPs within areas most vulnerable to climate change and develop retrofit designs for a number of priority locations.
CZM also recently released a Report on Climate Change Impacts to Coastal Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs), which provides practical recommendations to modify existing BMPs and promote green infrastructure options that can be readily adapted to address climate change impacts and reduce costs. Results from the report were presented at several regional/national conferences this year, including the Neponset Stormwater Partnership, New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) Non-Point Source Conference, New England Water Environment Association (NEWEA) Water Resources and Infrastructure Climate Resiliency Conference, and the Maine Stormwater Conference. For more information on the CPR grant program and coastal water quality, contact Adrienne Pappal at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cristina Kennedy at email@example.com.
COASTSWEEP 2017 - From August into November each year, thousands of volunteers throughout Massachusetts turn out for COASTSWEEP—the statewide coastal cleanup sponsored by CZM. Although final 2017 cleanup results are still pending, preliminary reports show that 1,596 volunteers cleaned more than 142 miles of coastline, river bank, marsh, seafloor, and lakeshore in Massachusetts—collecting approximately 15,100 pounds of debris from 75 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 2018 cleanups will begin next spring. Please contact us to receive a sign-up reminder.
CZM Worked with Sail Boston to Help Keep Coastal Waters Clean - In June, Sail Boston 2017 welcomed 40 tall ships to the Port of Boston and featured a Parade of Sail through Boston Harbor with thousands of spectator vessels anchored along the parade route. CZM worked with the event organizers, the U.S. Coast Guard, local harbormasters, and marina operators to ensure that proper pollution prevention protocols and facilities were publicized and available to support the event and the Massachusetts statewide No Discharge Zone, which prohibits the discharge of treated and untreated boat sewage into coastal waters.
Other Water Quality Program Activities - CZM continued to work 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.
Marine Invasive Species Monitoring and Early Detection - This summer, citizen scientists were on the hunt for marine invasive species at docks and rocky shorelines along the New England coast for the 10th annual season of the Marine Invasive Monitoring and Information Collaborative (MIMIC). The goals of the program are to educate the public on threats to marine habitats, monitor patterns of resident introduced species, and detect new invasive species. This year CZM developed a MIMIC project page on iNaturalist.org where volunteers and the general public can view and add observations of both native and introduced marine species. To help identify marine invasive species in your area, see these identification cards. MIMIC monitoring data from 2008 to 2016 can be viewed and downloaded on CZM’s online mapping tool, MORIS, (under “Marine Invasive Species” in the “Biology” folder ). MIMIC is a partnership between CZM and numerous organizations, including the Barnstable Clean Water Coalition (formerly Three Bays Preservation), Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, Gundalow Company, DMF, MassBays National Estuary Program, New England Aquarium live blueTM Ambassador and Service Corps Programs, Salem Sound Coastwatch, and Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, among others. For more information on CZM’s Marine Invasive Species Program, or to report a marine invasive sighting, contact the MIMIC Program Coordinator, Cristina Kennedy, at (617) 626-1231 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Coastal Fellow - In August, CZM welcomed Sean Duffey as CZM’s 9th Coastal Management Fellow from NOAA Coastal Services Center. Nominated by the Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program, Sean was matched with CZM through a rigorous selection and interview process. During his two-year fellowship, Sean will develop a framework to assess and prioritize vulnerable coastal habitats, focusing on Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs). Sean’s project will result in a menu of actions and strategies to maintain ecological services and improve resiliency of coastal habitats in the face of environmental change. Sean hails from Albany, New York and recently received a Master of Oceanography degree from the University of Rhode Island. Welcome Sean!
Long-Term Monitoring of Salt Marshes a Critical Tool for Management - Coastal wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems on earth. Impacts of climate change, particularly sea level rise, can interrupt the delicate balance between the tides, soils, and plant community necessary to sustain the marsh through time—potentially leading to losses if the system is unable to compensate by gaining elevation or moving landward. CZM recently completed a project with Woods Hole Group that applied sea level rise and marsh accretion models to investigate potential changes in the distribution and extent of coastal wetlands, including salt marshes, under multiple sea level rise scenarios. Building on this work, CZM—in partnership with MassDEP and with funding through a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Wetland Program Development Grant—established long-term monitoring stations, or sentinel sites, this summer. Since marsh plants have specific environmental tolerances of water levels and salinity, tracking the movement of plant species through time can indicate whether the marsh is responding to sea level rise by migrating landward. Similar projects have been implemented by the National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERR) and other groups nationwide, including the monitoring projects at the Waquoit Bay NERR in Falmouth. The data CZM collects will expand on these efforts to better characterize and track marsh condition over time at a variety of locations and settings in Massachusetts. By revisiting the sentinel sites every three to five years, investigators will create a long-term dataset to analyze trends. In addition to the on-the-ground data collection, CZM has initiated a mapping program that will use remote sensing to characterize marsh features and track changes across the wider marsh landscape—partnering with a new unmanned aerial systems program at UMass Amherst to collect high resolution drone imagery. CZM recently was awarded new funding through an EPA Wetland Program Development Grant, partnering with MassDEP and UMass Amherst, to continue work to assess salt marsh condition and trends for the next two years. These projects are part of other long-term efforts that CZM and partners have focused on to collect critical data to improve understanding of the threats facing tidal marshes, inform effective policy and management, and ultimately protect this important habitat into the future. For more information, contact CZM’s Habitat and Water Quality Program Manager, Adrienne Pappal, at (617) 626-1218 or email email@example.com.
Coast Guide Online - In June, CZM launched Coast Guide Online, an interactive online outdoor recreation map that includes more than 1,800 publically accessible sites along the Massachusetts coast owned by government agencies (state, local, and federal) or nonprofits. Coast Guide Online includes beaches, rocky coasts, shore-side parks, public boat ramps, local harbor walks, secluded coves, marshes and creeks, scenic overlooks, islands, and small rights-of-way. With this mapping tool, on-the-go users with a smart phone or tablet can view their current location, search for locations, zoom to an area of interest, and easily find the site name, manager/owner, links to additional information, and an overview photo. Coast Guide is continually updated as new sites, information, and pictures as become available.
Port and Harbor Planning
Local Planning Efforts - A number of communities have been working on existing or new harbor plans in 2017. On the North Shore, CZM continues to work with the city of Beverly to provide guidance on the preparation of a comprehensive Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP) for Beverly Harbor and the Bass River areas. These waterfront areas are adjacent to downtown Beverly and the Beverly Depot commuter rail station and are uniquely situated for new mixed-use development opportunities and resource protection. The plan will provide the city’s vision for the waterfront and identify a strategy to protect the environmental resources and provide enhanced public access and other elements that will allow for greater enjoyment of the waterfront. The city of Salem has recently begun efforts to update and renew its 2008 MHP and Designated Port Area (DPA) Master Plan, which is set to expire in June 2018. The city expects to review progress to date on the goals of the 2008 plan and examine new potential opportunities for the waterfront, with a particular focus on redevelopment of the DPA, as the Footprint Power project moves toward completion. The city of Lynn has been working with EEA on a new Open Space Plan for its waterfront, with a completed plan expected sometime in early 2018. In Boston Harbor, the city of Boston submitted an MHP in March 2017 for the Downtown Waterfront District, which extends from Long Wharf to the Moakley Bridge, to EEA/CZM for approval. A decision is expected in early 2018. Other harbor planning work includes the review of a portion of the South Boston DPA, which was submitted in June 2017. Review of the DPA boundary is underway and a decision is expected in early 2018. Also, with funding from the Seaport Advisory Council, work will commence on an MHP for Chelsea in early 2018. On the South Shore, CZM continued to participate in ongoing interagency consultation meetings and project permitting review with representatives from the town of Plymouth regarding design details and project mitigation for the Water Street waterfront redevelopment project. CZM assisted the town of Cohasset in developing a Request for Proposals for consultant services to assist in the development of an MHP for the community. CZM also met with the Scituate Waterways Commission to discuss options and opportunities for updating the Town’s 2011 Waterways Management Plan. In the Cape Cod and Islands Region, a number of communities are working to update and renew existing, state approved MHPs. CZM has been working with representatives from Edgartown and Provincetown to assist them in their plan renewal process. Both plans are expected to be renewed sometime in 2018. In the South Coast Region, CZM worked with New Bedford and Fairhaven on a third, one-year extension of their joint MHP, originally approved in 2010. The one-year extension will expire in June 2018. CZM participated on the Stakeholders Committee of the New Bedford Waterfront Redevelopment Plan that completed 20-year redevelopment plans for the site of a former power generation facility in the central waterfront and another site in the northern part of the waterfront. CZM also provided technical assistance to the New Bedford Harbor Development Commission on the MHP renewal process. CZM anticipates that New Bedford and Fairhaven will initiate an MHP renewal of the joint harbor plan during 2018. CZM also has been working with the town of Dartmouth on its local harbor planning effort. CZM assisted the town in gathering information on harbor planning options and issues, and is a participant on the Dartmouth Harbor Plan Advisory Committee. The town had its first public meeting for its local harbor plan in October and is projecting an 18-month timeline for completion. For more information about CZM’s harbor planning efforts, contact CZM’s Regional Coordinators.
Project/Federal Consistency Review
Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge Plan - As a continuation of the previously authorized U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) draft plan to acquire land, manage habitats, and offer compatible priority public uses to help stem the decline of shrubland-dependent wildlife species, CZM reviewed the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Plan for the use of North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant funds for habitat restoration in the Great Marsh. The project, which seeks to expand early successional and young forest habitat by removing the mature and declining conifer forest to augment the early successional habitat currently existing on Choate Island in Essex, includes clearing forest by hand and with low ground pressure equipment, creating log piles to be covered with wood chips to facilitate decomposition, mowing/masticating any sub-canopy and understory (primarily invasive species), selectively leaving native plants, and using spot herbicide application to control woody invasives growth and hardwood stump regrowth. The use of the funds was found to be consistent with the plan in January 2017.
Dredging and Beach Nourishment Projects - In 2017, CZM reviewed several dredging and/or beach nourishment proposals submitted for Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) office review. These projects include the Charos whale watching dock dredging project in Newburyport, the Dennis Yacht Club improvement dredging project in Dennis, the town of Plymouth’s cobble berm project on Plymouth Beach, the town of Sandwich’s sand bypass project to nourish Town Neck Beach, Quincy Shipyard’s plan to dredge the turning basin between Piers 1 and 4, the dredging of Bass River in the town of Dennis, and the maintenance dredging project at the Port Norfolk Yacht Club 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 Three Bays Preservation/Mass Audubon Society proposed maintenance dredging and beach nourishment project at Dead Neck/Sampson’s Island in Barnstable, the Hingham Shipyard project to perform maintenance dredging of the marina basin in Hingham, the town of Harwich project to reconstruct the existing municipal marina including dredging of Saquatucket Harbor, Mashpee Neck Marina’s plan for facilities improvements including maintenance and improvement dredging, the town of Tisbury’s request to dredge the Tashmoo Pond entrance channel and Lake Street Pier, the 21-acre beach nourishment plan for the town of Scituate’s North Beach, the city of Beverly plan to dredge the Bass River, and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head project to dredge Herring Creek in Aquinnah. CZM also found consistent the town of Kingston’s plan to perform beach nourishment over approximately a 11,545 square foot area, remove an existing, failing seawall, and replace the seawall with a salt marsh and sand dune shoreline protection system that will impact approximately 2,367 square feet on Gray’s Beach. CZM continues its participation on the technical advisory committee for 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. As part of this project, the Massachusetts Port Authority (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 four permits/renewals/modifications, including the EPA General Permit for Remediation Activity Discharges, the Swansea Water District Desalination Plant, the town of Marion Water Pollution Control Facility, and the town of Fairhaven Water Pollution Control Facility.
Federal Agency Actions - CZM worked with the U.S. Coast Guard to review and issue concurrence for the Proposed Rulemaking to permit Sail Boston’s 2017 Parade of Sail. This rule allowed for a 100-yard safety zone around all anchored tall ships, temporary anchorages for spectator vessels along the parade route, safety zones both ahead and astern of the parading tall ships, and a special regulation to lend order to the movement of spectator vessels. A federal consistency concurrence was also issued to Conventures of Boston for the issuance of a U.S. Coast Guard permit for the 2017 Parade of Sails. CZM reviewed and issued a federal consistency concurrence to the USACE to lease, construct, operate, and maintain a solar photovoltaic array system to provide a source of renewable energy to the USACE Cape Cod Field Office in Bourne and to the New Bedford Hurricane Protection Barrier. CZM also issued a federal consistency concurrence to the USACE for the construction of a 1,930 foot long stone revetment along the midsection of an existing seawall located in the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Nantasket Beach Reservation in Hull. CZM found that the USACE proposed modification of the Barnstable Harbor entrance channel project to allow dredged material to be placed at the Cape Cod Bay Disposal Site was consistent with the original determination. The USACE proposed modification to the Menemsha Creek Federal Navigation Project in Aquinnah, allowing an extension of the beach nourishment site along Lobsterville Beach, was also found to be consistent with the original determination issued in 2015. Finally, CZM reviewed and issued a concurrence for EPA’s plan to temporarily expand the boundaries of the Massachusetts Bay Dredged Material Disposal Site to allow for the placement of sediment from the Boston Harbor maintenance dredging project into the old Industrial Waste Disposal Site.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers General Permit for Massachusetts - CZM continues to work closely with USACE in reviewing revisions to the Massachusetts General Permit (GP), issued in January 2015. These revisions, scheduled for approval before the end of 2017, 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.
Changes to Regulations - In 2017, after working with stakeholder advisory groups, holding public comment periods, and conducting public hearings in Gloucester, Boston, and New Bedford in 2016, CZM promulgated 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. Implemented regulations were revised to reflect the updated plan.
- 301 CMR 24 - Ocean Sanctuaries (now 301 CMR 27) - These regulations were 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 (DCR). Reflecting this move from DCR to CZM, the Ocean Sanctuaries Act regulations were promulgated at 301 CMR 27, and regulations at 302 CMR 5.00 were rescinded.
- 301 CMR 26 - Coastal Pollution Remediation Program - These regulations were 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 were rescinded as resources for municipal grants are being provided through other grant programs and authorizations (such as the Seaport Economic Council).
Storm Team Activations for 2017 - On February 13, the Massachusetts Rapid Response Coastal Storm Damage Assessment Team (Storm Team) evaluated coastal impacts from a northeaster. Specifically, impacts were recorded in 13 coastal communities across the upper North Shore, along the South Shore, and bordering Cape Cod Bay. The afternoon high tide resulted in overwash and flooding of coastal roads and parking areas, as well as beach and dune erosion. Erosion exposed segments of two septic systems and caused some damage to beach access stairs from Sandwich to Eastham. Beach and dune erosion were also reported from Salisbury to Rockport and Hull to Marshfield. In Scituate and Marshfield, there was overwash onto roads and around houses. More than 55 detailed reports were entered into the StormReporter online database, which helped inform decisions regarding state and federal resources needed to assist communities. The reports were also used by the National Weather Service to refine their forecasts during the event. From September 20-21, members of the Storm Team were activated to evaluate damages from Tropical Storm Jose on the South Shore and Cape Cod and Islands, which informed response and recovery efforts by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the MassDEP. CZM also staffed the State Emergency Operations Center for both of these storm events.
Underwater Archaeological Resources
Maritime Heritage Programs and Presentation - The Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources (BUAR) gave 12 public and professional presentations for public schools, dive clubs, universities, and international societies. Presentation included general lectures “Massachusetts Hidden History” and “Nature and Maritime Archaeology” and specific field projects, “Minots Ledge Lighthouse,” “Battle of Chelsea Creek”, and “Preliminary Autopsy on Coffins Beach, Gloucester.” A series of hands-on workshops centered on artifact identification and mapping shipwrecks were given at Plymouth Elementary School, Monomoy Middle School, Beach Sisters of Lynn after-school program, and the annual North Shore High Marine Sciences Symposium.
Massachusetts Archaeology Month - In celebration of Massachusetts Archaeology Month, BUAR participated in various archaeology events. On October 10, BUAR Director, Victor Mastone, provided a lecture about Underwater Archaeology in Massachusetts at the West Branch Library in Peabody. On October 14, the Museum of Science (MOS) and the Archaeological Institute of America hosted the 11th annual family-friendly Archaeology Fair at the MOS in Boston, where BUAR sponsored a mock “dig” of a 3D shipwreck and the very popular underwater writing activity. Additionally, the Board participated in the New England Heritage Education Summit on October 13.
Student Maritime Past Initiative - In July, BUAR, in collaboration with maritime archaeologists from SEAMAHP and the PAST Foundation and supported by a grant from the NPS Maritime Heritage Program, embarked on a new collaborative education initiative. In this first-ever hands-on program for middle schoolers in Massachusetts, students and teachers from Salem’s Collins Middle School learned maritime archaeology. During the weeks of July 10-14 and July 24-28, students were instructed with problem-based skills as they investigated the shipwreck of schooner Ada K. Damon at The Trustees of the Reservations’ Crane Estate in Ipswich. The program met Massachusetts Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) standards, and several Collins teachers participated for Professional Development credits. In addition to basic archaeological recording and mapping, students built ship models, visited the NPS Salem Maritime National Historic Site to learn about local maritime history, sailed the schooner Fame, flew drones to record the wreck, and created 3D images of the site. For their capstone project, each student presented their research and demonstrated their skills to Salem Public School faculty and administrators and created a Weebly site web page highlighting aspect of their learning experience and showing a student-produced documentary video.
Summer Institute on Maritime Archaeology - From August 14-18, BUAR Director Vic Mastone was co-lead at the Salem State University Summer Institute on Maritime Archaeology on the North Shore with the Seafaring Education and Maritime Archaeological Heritage Program and the Nautical Archaeology Society (UK) at The Trustees of the Reservations’ Crane Estate in Ipswich. Participants learned how to survey, map, and record shipwrecks with a hands-on experience recording the Ada K. Damon wreck site at the Crane Estate. This is an ongoing effort to provide formal citizen-scientist training to further BUAR’s mission.
Field Investigations - In 2017, BUAR undertook limited field investigations or provided technical expertise on several underwater archaeological sites in Edgartown, Ipswich, Newburyport, Orleans, and on George’s Bank. These sites included unusual artifact recoveries by fishermen, a lost aircraft, and shipwrecks.
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 2017 accomplishments for each region are provided below.
North Shore (Salisbury to Revere) - Coastal erosion, coastal redevelopment, and preparation for climate change continue to be issues of concern for North Shore communities, and CZM continues to provide technical assistance on sea level rise adaptation as these communities advance their planning for climate change. In the first half of 2017, CZM regional staff continued to provide guidance and technical assistance to the community of Beverly on their coastal resiliency planning efforts, and with the communities of Ipswich, Newburyport, Salem, and Swampscott on green infrastructure planning and implementation projects. Each of these projects was successfully completed by June 30. CZM worked with municipal officials early in 2017 to assist in development of project ideas for CZM’s 2018 Coastal Resilience Grant Program, resulting in four successful proposals funded on the North Shore. CZM is now providing guidance and technical assistance to the community of Gloucester to complete infrastructure improvement and incorporate adaptation measures necessary to protect of five of the city's most vulnerable pump stations from 2070 flooding projections; working with Salem to build upon previous work funded by CZM Coastal Resilience Grants to permit a restoration of a salt marsh in Collins Cove to improve resilience to storms; assisting Essex on a number of tasks associated with developing a transferable framework for merging coastal resilience and emergency preparedness for outreach and education; and working with Northeastern University as they design and prepare permit documents for a mixed sediment dune and beach nourishment project to mitigate erosion at Canoe Beach in Nahant. CZM participated in training for EEA’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program and is now working with eight North Shore communities to provide technical assistance on vulnerability assessments and develop action oriented resiliency plans toward becoming certified as MVP communities. CZM also continues 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, particularly for possible opportunities for beneficial reuse of dredge materials from the Piscataqua River and Merrimack River dredge projects. In 2017, CZM provided technical assistance to several North Shore communities who are undertaking waterfront planning efforts, including open space planning in Lynn and early stages of Municipal Harbor Planning in both Beverly and Salem. In November, CZM again joined our Great Marsh Coalition partners for the sixth annual Great Marsh Symposium. This year’s workshop, titled Great Marsh Symposium: Putting the Plan into Action!, was held at Woodman’s of Essex, and attracted more than 150 citizens and local and state decision makers. The meeting featured the unveiling of the Great Marsh Coastal Adaptation and Resiliency Plan, a culmination of a two-year Hurricane Sandy grant-funded effort by the multi-partner Great Marsh Resiliency Partnership, to identify vulnerabilities and adaptation strategies to improve resilience for the communities of Salisbury, Newburyport, Newbury, Rowley, Ipswich and Essex. Great Marsh symposium presentations are available on the Great Marsh Coalition website. As an active partner in the Great Marsh Resiliency Partnership, the Great Marsh Coalition (GMC), and the Parker Ipswich Essex Rivers (PIE-Rivers) groups on the North Shore, CZM has committed to working with partners on ongoing assistance to communities for implementation of the action items identified the Plan. CZM 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 ability to tap into each member’s expertise for problem solving across municipal boundaries.
Boston Harbor (Winthrop to Weymouth) - CZM completed projects with the cities of Boston, Weymouth, Winthrop, and Quincy that were funded by CZM’s Coastal Resilience Grant Program and one project with Medford funded by the Coastal Community Green Infrastructure Grant Program. In Boston, CZM supported the Climate Ready East Boston and Charlestown project, which was partially funded through a Coastal Resilience Grant. This project developed plans to implement new resiliency measures to protect East Boston and Charlestown from current and future flooding as a result of climate change. CZM began to provide assistance to the cities of Winthrop and Weymouth on projects funded by the FY 2018 round of CZM’s Coastal Resilience Grant Program and to Everett and Melrose on projects funded by the FY 2018 round of the Coastal Pollutant Remediation Program. CZM also supported the next phase of Boston’s resiliency planning in the Climate Ready South Boston project. This project, as with the East Boston/Charlestown project, seeks to understand future flood pathways and outline near-term and long-term opportunities to reduce the impacts of these flood pathways. CZM continued to provide technical assistance to the city of Boston on issues relating to harbor planning, including the development of the city of Boston’s Downtown Waterfront MHP and the review of a portion of the city of Boston’s South Boston DPA. 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 2017. 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 2018.
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 removal of the Mordecai Lincoln Dam in Scituate as part of the Bound Brook Diadromous Fish Restoration; investigating post-restoration ecology of Straits Pond in the towns of Cohasset, Hingham, and Hull; providing the keynote address to the Straits Pond Watershed Association (SPWA) Annual Meeting on the health of the pond and performing follow-up monitoring in the pond to document performance of tide gate operations; providing technical and coordination assistance for Coastal Resilience Grants awarded to the towns of Scituate, Marshfield, Kingston, and the Duxbury Bay Reservation, Inc. and Coastal Pollution Remediation Grants awarded to the communities Kingston and Plymouth; and participating in the fourth annual Marshfield Furnace Brook Middle School Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Symposium, where 310 eighth grade students participated in activities focused on issues associated with sea level rise and climate change. During the first half of 2017, CZM partnered with the MassBays National Estuary Program and Conservation Agents from the towns of Norwell and Braintree to implement and facilitate the South Shore Conservation Commission Network.
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 the impacts from coastal flooding and implement measures to improve their coastal resilience, coastal erosion and beach management, water quality monitoring, stormwater management, harbor planning, and dredging. CZM assisted the towns of Harwich, Dennis, and Truro to complete a variety of coastal resilience projects funded through CZM’s Coastal Resilience Grant Program. CZM staff are currently working with representatives from Eastham, Falmouth, and Dennis to complete coastal resilience projects funded in the 2018 grant round. CZM co-chairs the Cape Cod Stormwater Collaborative Workgroup, which is working to organize a Cape Cod Stormwater Collaborative and to assist communities with meeting upcoming EPA municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4) permit requirements. CZM worked closely with the Barnstable County Dredge Program to help them develop and implement a new dredge program, based on operating two dredges concurrently. The county recently purchased and commissioned a new dredge to increase the capacity of the program. 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, Barnstable, Truro, Orleans, Gosnold, Harwich, Nantucket, Oak Bluffs, Provincetown, and Tisbury. CZM assisted in planning and coordinating the 2017 Cape Coastal Conference in Barnstable from December 5-6. CZM gave presentations on Ocean Renewable Energy projects and on Implementing Coastal Resilience projects at the conference. Finally, 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 (Wareham to Seekonk) - CZM worked closely with both the Buzzards Bay and Narragansett Bay National Estuary Programs (NEPs), participating on their Steering Committees and assisting with the oversight of four projects awarded through EPA’s Southeast New England Coastal Watershed Restoration Program funding. CZM is also participating on the review and selection committee for the Narragansett Bay NEP’s 2017 Bay and Watershed Research Program. CZM helped guide an EPA Flood Resilience Workshop for the town of Wareham to help them better understand potential flooding impacts and potential mitigation strategies. Early in 2017, CZM organized the second meeting of the Southeastern Massachusetts wastewater treatment plant superintendents to discuss common issues, concerns, and possible solutions to shared challenges. Through a Coastal Resilience Grant, CZM worked closely with the city of New Bedford to develop conceptual coastal engineering alternatives for protection of the seawall along West Rodney French Boulevard. This seawall protects the street and the city’s main sewer line that carries all of the city’s wastewater to the treatment facility. Also through CZM’s Coastal Resilience Grant Program, the town of Wareham developed permit-level designs for retrofit measures to increase the coastal resilience of three of the town’s most critical pump stations that are likely to be damaged by various storm events and sea level rise, and which serve the majority of the town’s sewer area. The town of Mattapoisett also received a Coastal Resilience Grant to assess the risk posed by sea level rise and storm conditions to an existing water main crossing over a barrier beach between Pease’s Point and Point Connett. Through this project, the town also developed options for fortifying the water main and increasing its resilience to storm-related damage. Earlier in the year, CZM coordinated with the South Coastal municipalities on the coastal access points that were included in state’s Coast Guide Online interactive mapping tool that includes more than 1,800 sites along the Massachusetts coast that are open to the public and provide public access to the coast. Along with these issues CZM continued to provide technical assistance to municipalities, agencies, consultants, and individuals on a variety of coastal topics and specific projects.
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 2017 are included below.
Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program
Buzzards Bay NEP Awards Water Quality and Land Protection Grants - In September, the Buzzards Bay NEP awarded more than $130,000 to fund land protection projects and support water quality monitoring in Buzzards Bay. Projects are funded to help municipalities and other program partners meet the goals and objectives of the Buzzards Bay Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan. The following grants were awarded:
- Acushnet - $35,000 to work with its partner, the Buzzards Bay Coalition, to protect 38 acres in the towns of Acushnet and Fairhaven that benefits water resources associated with Tripps Mill Brook and the Mattapoisett River and supports wildlife habitat, expands trail-based recreational opportunities, and protects a large contiguous undeveloped block of forest.
- Mattapoisett - $35,000 to work with its partners, Mattapoisett Land Trust and Buzzards Bay Coalition, to protect a 53-acre property designated as habitat for rare species and containing a historic quarry with deep ties to New England history and culture. The Town and its partners intend to use the property for environmental and historical educational purposes.
- Rochester - $35,000 to work with its partners, Rochester Land Trust and Buzzards Bay Coalition, to permanently protect a 78.6-acre property that contains extensive wetlands, including an Atlantic white cedar swamp to provide trail-based recreational opportunities for the public.
- Buzzards Bay Coalition - $40,000 to support an additional season of monitoring of the Baywatchers program, a comprehensive volunteer-based water quality monitoring program that has been in existence for 25 years. With the help of trained volunteers, basic water quality measurements of dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, and water clarity will be made at approximately 150 stations in and around Buzzards Bay. The water quality data collected will be used to track nutrient pollution effects and will be made available to federal, state and local decision makers.
The Buzzards Bay NEP also closed out over $1 million dollars in Southeast New England Coastal Watershed Restoration Program grants awarded in the previous year.
Buzzards Bay NEP Stormwater Collaborative and MS4 Support - Since 2016, the Buzzards Bay NEP has been working with the Buzzards Bay Stormwater Collaborative, which consists of five towns (Dartmouth, Acushnet, Fairhaven, Mattapoisett, and Wareham) and the Buzzards Bay Action Committee (BBAC). The BBAC has been coordinating the effort to map stormwater networks and monitor stormwater discharges that are contributing to shellfish bed closures and other pollution-caused impairments. This work—which is supporting municipal efforts to meet the goals of their MS4 stormwater management plans—began in the fall of 2015 when the BBAC received a $200,000 Healthy Communities Grant from EPA, and is ongoing thanks to two additional smaller EPA grant awards to the BBAC and Buzzards Bay NEP. During the past two years, 642 stormwater system samples have been collected and 723 no flow observations have been made for 251 discharges. The NEP has updated the project's quality assurance plan to include additional sampling parameters and has prepared outreach materials for the stormwater collaborative educational component. Additionally, thousands of catchbasins, manholes, and discharges have been mapped. The collected GPS data is maintained in an NEP-administered GIS system that documents the stormwater network throughout the watershed. The NEP is also maintaining a database for the sampling data that will be analyzed for land-use impacts on stormwater quality. See the mapping and monitoring program’s interactive map for details.
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 450 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 helping these organizations and the Buzzards Bay Action Committee prepare grant applications and develop materials for education and outreach. The Buzzards Bay NEP continues to work with the Buzzards Bay Coalition Science Advisory Committee and a team of scientists in Woods Hole to identify land use and climate driven changes in water quality and living resources in Buzzards Bay.
Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program
Rain Garden How-to-Video - Episode 25 of Ask This Old House in 2017 included a segment on rain gardens, featuring a home site located on the Great Marsh and MassBays Regional Coordinator Peter Phippen. Rain gardens help capture, infiltrate, and slow stormwater and stop pollutants from entering coastal marshes and waters. To view the episode, see the Ask This Old House website (the segment begins about 15 minutes into the episode).
Boston Harbor Ecosystem Network - The Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center (MassBays’ Metro Boston Regional Service Provider) launched the Boston Harbor Ecosystem Network (BHEN, formerly Boston Harbor Habitat Coalition) to bring together stakeholders working on coastal/estuarine management, research, education, and/or civic engagement within this region, which stretches from Saugus to Hull. BHEN meets twice a year, and in 2017 hosted expert-led field trips to showcase Boston ecosystems—Rumney Marsh in Revere and tidal flats in Quincy. In April, BHEN joined with partners to host the Boston Harbor & Islands Science Symposium. To receive notices of meetings and events, subscribe to the BHEN e-newsletter, like their Facebook page, and join the informal discussion listserv.
MassBays Program Evaluation - In April, a delegation from EPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., visited MassBays for two days of meetings and site visits to evaluate program progress and meet with the MassBays Management Committee. All NEPs are subject to full evaluation every five years as a condition of continued financial support from the agency. MassBays received a “better than passing” final assessment based on the 5-year review package submitted to EPA (top item under Annual Reports). MassBays would like to thank their many partners in MassBays cities and towns from Salisbury to Provincetown for their commitment to protecting and restoring estuary habitats!
MassBays 2017-2018 Workplan - MassBays’ scope of work (PDF, 1 MB) was approved for funding through June 2018 by EPA. Projects include completing development of Monitoring and Communications plans, supporting a new Citizen Monitoring Coordinators’ Network, new grant awards under the Healthy Estuaries Grant Program, and technical assistance to towns across the MassBays planning area.
Coastal Acidification Monitoring - MassBays teamed up with UMass Boston’s Center for Environmental Sensing Networks to secure $70,000 from EPA and $130,000 from MIT Sea Grant to deploy at least two monitoring systems in Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay. Real-time information about water conditions will be posted to the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) and used to predict potential impacts on shellfish. This effort was featured by WGBH in June.
Estuary Delineation and Assessment, 2.0 - MassBays published an update to the 2013 Estuarine Delineation and Assessment, which compiles comprehensive data for 68 assessment units—embayments, beaches, tidal flats, and rocky shores. The document (PDF, 3 MB) and maps are available on the MassBays website.
MassBays Healthy Estuary Grant Program - In December, MassBays released a Request for Responses seeking pre-proposals for the Healthy Estuary Grant Program. For 2018, this program will provide up to $110,000 for projects that help characterize the 68 assessment areas identified in the 2017 MassBays Estuary Delineation and Assessment. MassBays is seeking projects that will: generate new data and information on trends and conditions of estuarine resources; apply new or innovative approaches to improve estuarine conditions (including restoration efforts); advance on-the-ground actions that result in the reduction of identified stressors; and provide information for decision-making and resource management. Applicants can request from $8,000 to $35,000 and a 25 percent non-federal match of the total project cost is required. To view the Request for Responses and download required forms, see the COMMBUYS website. For questions, contact Prassede Vella at firstname.lastname@example.org. Pre-proposals are due by January 16, 2018.
MassBays Newsletter - Consider subscribing to receive quarterly updates on MassBays’ work. Each issue showcases a research effort in the Bays, highlights new resources and publications from EPA and other partners, and provides calendar of events hosted by MassBays’ Regional Service Providers. Check out the Fall 2017 issue.
Staff & People
In looking back over the year, CZM welcomes new staff (and existing staff in new roles) and thanks our dedicated interns.
Assistant Director - In November, Lisa Berry Engler was named Assistant CZM Director, stepping up from her previous role as Boston Harbor Regional Coordinator. Having worked as a regional coordinator, Lisa brings extensive experience in technical assistance, port and harbor planning, waterfront planning and development, coastal resilience planning and projects, and public access issues. Previously, Lisa held positions at CZM’s MassBays National Estuary Program—including a period as Acting Director and as the MetroBoston/Outreach Coordinator, as well as worked within the DCR Areas of Critical Environmental Concern Program and the Department of Transportation. Lisa replaces Brad Washburn, who left CZM in August to become the new Planning & Development Director for the town of Scituate. Brad served as Assistant Director for five years, as well as the CZM Boston Harbor Regional Coordinator from 2007-2010. As Assistant Director, Brad was responsible for the oversight of CZM programs related to municipal technical assistance, port and harbor planning, coastal shoreline and floodplain management, climate change adaptation, and project review, bringing his extensive planning expertise to this critical position. In particular, Brad’s experience with harbor planning supported and informed CZM’s role in renewing and revitalizing port areas along the Massachusetts coast. We wish Brad the best of luck in Scituate and welcome Lisa to her new role!
2015-2017 Coastal Fellow - CZM said goodbye to NOAA Coastal Fellow Ashley Green. Ashley’s project focused on stormwater management, compiling information and resources to facilitate effective stormwater management at the local level, including a list of funding sources available for stormwater projects in Massachusetts. We wish Ashley all the best as Salem’s Staff Planner and Conservation Agent.
Interns - CZM welcomed the following interns to help with various projects through the summer and fall:
- Coastal Resilience Intern - This fall, CZM and the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve brought on board Brad Downey to help expand implementation of green infrastructure and living shoreline approaches to increase coastal resilience to erosion, flooding, and storm impacts. Brad’s internship is focused on developing outreach products for the Commonwealth’s coastal communities using Living Shorelines in New England: State of the Practice (PDF, 6 MB), a report developed through a Northeast regional coastal resilience effort. Brad recently received a B.S. in Sustainable Community Development from the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst. While at UMass, he had the opportunity to help develop a climate change adaptation strategy for Dangriga, Belize, and investigate the development and implementation of adaptation plans for several small Caribbean cities. He plans to return to UMass to pursue graduate studies in urban planning.
- BUAR Archaeological Interns and Volunteers - During 2017, BUAR was aided by a number of volunteers and hosted an unpaid intern whose assistance was significant and very helpful. Rico Roldan (recent graduate of the University of Guam) continued his unpaid internship working on a variety of field, research, and administrative tasks. Dr. Naomi Riddiford (University of London) continued volunteering in the office, assisting with environmental compliance review. She specializes in paleo-environmental archaeology and pollen analysis. BUAR unpaid Research Fellow Leland Crawford (University of Southern Denmark) along with Greg Lott (Massachusetts Archaeological Society) and Ana Opishinski (UMass-Boston) assisted in field projects and educational programming. Madden Bremer (Salem State University) completed her work on transforming the BUAR site files into a geo-referenced database and shipwreck atlas. Additionally, on-going collaboration with Dr. Calvin Mires (Bridgewater State University and SEAMAHP) and Laurel Seaborn (University of New Hampshire and SEAMAHP) resulted in two successful summer programs: a STEM middle school program and a college field school on the Ada K Damon shipwreck. Thank you all for your valuable assistance!