CZ-Mail Year in Review - 2018

Published January 2019

Welcome to the year-in-review edition of CZ-Mail, which highlights many of the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) accomplishments in 2018, 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 2019.

The next regular edition of CZ-Mail will be in February. Additional information about CZM's programs, publications, and other coastal topics can be found on the CZM website, and daily CZM updates are posted on Twitter. To subscribe to CZ-Mail, send a blank email to join-env-czmail@listserv.state.ma.us. Please feel free to share CZ-Mail with colleagues and friends—and if you have any suggestions for future editions, would like your name added to the mailing list, or would like your name removed, please email your request to CZ-Mail@mass.gov.

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Overview of 2018 at CZM

CZM focused on a range of issues in 2018—with helping coastal communities address climate change and stormwater impacts topping the list. CZM awarded $3.2 million in Coastal Resilience Grants for 19 projects that reduce risks of coastal storms, erosion, and sea level rise. CZM also continued to support the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program, which awarded a second round of funding to communities to identify hazards and develop and implement strategies to improve resilience. CZM’s Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Program awarded $500,000 for six on-the-ground, municipal stormwater projects that reduce coastal water pollution and improve the health of coastal resources. Other major CZM initiatives for 2018 focused on ocean planning and offshore wind energy, harbor planning, marine invasive species, and storm response. CZM worked on behalf of EEA to implement the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan—and work has begun on the next 5-year review of the plan, which is due by 2020. In addition, offshore wind planning kicked into gear with the selection of Vineyard Wind to develop an 800-megawatt wind energy project off Martha’s Vineyard. CZM worked on harbor planning activities in several communities this year, most significantly overseeing the EEA review of Boston’s Downtown Waterfront District Municipal Harbor Plan and the South Boston Designated Port Area boundary. CZM and partners conducted the sixth Marine Invasive Species Rapid Assessment Survey in July, with scientific experts visiting marinas from Buzzards Bay to southern Maine to observe, identify, and record the marine species found. In March, CZM’s Storm Team was busy during three back-to-back northeasters that caused extensive coastal erosion and property damage. And in November, CZM said farewell to 24-year veteran and CZM Director Bruce Carlisle, who is now the Senior Director for Offshore Wind at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). CZM Assistant Director Lisa Berry Engler is serving as CZM Acting Director. These and other highlights 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 2018 accomplishments for each CZM program area are listed below.

StormSmart Coasts - Managing Erosion and Flooding

CZM Coastal Resilience Grant Awards - In August, CZM awarded more than $3.2 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) 2019 grants were awarded to:

  • Braintree - $42,410 to conduct a feasibility assessment and prepare conceptual design alternatives for stabilizing an eroded shoreline section at Watson Park on the Fore River.
  • Chatham - $182,122 to use tidal, wave, and sediment transport models to quantitatively evaluate the inlet and tidal channel dynamics at Chatham Harbor/Pleasant Bay. The study will support a detailed analysis of potential shoreline management options that could sustain the east-facing Chatham shoreline over the next 20-30 years.
  • Chelsea and Everett - $323,406 to coordinate the development of design plans for flood mitigation along the northern tip of the Island End River to comprehensively reduce flooding and sea level rise risks to vulnerable populations, infrastructure, and numerous businesses.
  • Dennis - $101,603 to finalize engineering plans and permit documents for a project that will stabilize an eroding section of Chapin Beach using added sand and a coastal structure to hold the sand in place.
  • Duxbury Beach Reservation, Inc. - $500,000 to construct a 3,600-foot-long dune restoration project between the first and second crossovers on Duxbury Beach to improve the resilience of the barrier beach system and provide storm surge and wave protection to the Duxbury Beach access road and the communities of Duxbury and Kingston.
  • Gloucester - $63,345 to evaluate, design, and permit a flood mitigation project to help protect the Gloucester High School building, athletic fields, parking areas and neighborhood, which are vulnerable to coastal flood waters overtopping low-lying shoreline structures along the Annisquam River/Blynman Canal.
  • Hull - $142,011 to develop conceptual designs to enhance the resiliency and protective value of the coastal beach and dune system on North Nantasket Beach, including both near-term dune rehabilitation strategies and long-term, large-scale beach and dune nourishment.
  • Hull - $148,350 to replace the Water Pollution Control Facility’s incoming underground electrical service and transformer with a new overhead service and elevated transformer to account for increased flooding and future sea level rise impacts.
  • Ipswich - $156,155 to develop design plans for nature-based approaches or green infrastructure to help protect Argilla Road from increased flooding and climate change impacts.
  • Ipswich - $66,010 to develop permit-ready plans for stabilizing an eroding section of coastal bank along the Ipswich River to protect a stormwater pipe outfall and other infrastructure.
  • Kingston - $50,000 to develop and implement a comprehensive monitoring procedure to help ensure the establishment and long-term sustainability of a recently completed salt marsh and dune restoration project at Gray’s Beach Park.
  • Marion - $93,660 to evaluate the vulnerability of wastewater pumping stations and related infrastructure to storm surge and sea level rise impacts and recommend improvements and future actions to reduce risk to the pumping stations.
  • Mattapoisett - $498,750 to relocate an existing water main that traverses an inlet between Pease’s Point and Point Connett to a more landward and deeper location to help ensure that service and water quality will be maintained during storm events and future sea level rise.
  • Nantucket - $75,000 to create three-dimensional visualizations of projected flooding and sea level rise at vulnerable sites to expand public awareness and communication of climate change impacts and help advance local resiliency planning efforts.
  • Provincetown - $149,153 to design and prepare permit applications for a dune enhancement project along Ryder Street Beach to help provide storm damage protection to critical infrastructure assets and commercial and residential properties.
  • Salem - $216,550 to restore 0.75 acres of fringing salt marsh using coir rolls and native vegetation to provide increased protection from erosion, storm surge, and wave forces along the shoreline of Collins Cove.
  • Wareham - $153,375 to install mechanical sewer bypass connections at the Hynes and Cohasset Narrows pump stations to allow the pump stations to immediately continue servicing critical infrastructure facilities in the event of a catastrophic flood event.
  • Wareham - $63,750 to determine the additional storage capacity needed at the Water Pollution Control Facility overflow lagoons for heavy precipitation and peak flow conditions with elevated groundwater due to sea level rise.
  • Winthrop - $222,417 to stabilize 360 linear feet of an eroding coastal bank along the bayside of Coughlin Park by nourishing the beach with cobbles and installing coir (or coconut fiber) rolls and planting native vegetation to reduce storm damages at the park and maintain access to the beach.

For more information, see the EEA press release.

Coastal Community Resilience Projects Completed - In 2018, 16 projects were completed with Coastal Resilience Grant funding from FY2018 (see the CZM Grant Viewer for details on funded projects):

  • Dennis studied the effect of waves and the movement of sand along Chapin Beach and developed 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. designed and permitted a 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 studied 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.
  • Essex developed a comprehensive database of flooding, erosion, and other coastal hazard data specific to the Great Marsh, conducted regional workshops on emergency management and coastal resilience planning issues, and designed and installed educational signage on future climate change projections and local adaptation efforts.
  • Falmouth evaluated 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 designed and prepared bid specifications for infrastructure improvements at five of its most vulnerable pump stations. The flood-proofing measures are designed to protect the long-term function of the pump stations from anticipated sea level rise impacts.
  • Kingston restored 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 analyzed existing conditions along the shoreline and conducted 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 completed 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 completed a detailed analysis of shore protection alternatives and developed permit-level engineering design plans for a preferred beach nourishment project along West Rodney French Boulevard.
  • Northeastern University evaluated and designed 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 completed permitting activities and prepared 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 developed 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 obtained required permits and developed 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 replaced an existing, collapsing culvert at the entrance to Great Esker Park with a new culvert and “daylighted” a portion of the tidal stream to mitigate flooding around Puritan Road and improve the health and function of the salt marsh.
  • Winthrop finalized design plans and prepared 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.

Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness - Through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program, EEA awarded funding to 27 coastal communities in 2018 to identify climate vulnerabilities and develop strategies to improve resilience. Upon completion of the MVP planning process in 2019, 52 of the 78 coastal communities will have received an MVP designation, and 16 coastal communities are actively working on MVP-funded resilience projects to advance priority actions. CZM continues to support EEA’s administration of the MVP Program and provide technical assistance to community planning and implementation projects.

Sea Level Rise Projections - The Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center has updated sea level rise projections for Massachusetts, which are available on EEA’s resilient MA: Climate Change Clearinghouse for the Commonwealth website. Clearinghouse users can launch a map viewer and overlay climate data and projections with other information, including the location of emergency facilities, infrastructure, and natural resources. The Clearinghouse supports decision-making by helping to identify coastal flooding and other issues, investigate adaptation strategies, and take action. CZM led EEA’s efforts to release and communicate the updated sea level rise projections.

State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan - In September, the State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan for the Commonwealth was signed by Governor Baker and approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This plan fulfills Executive Order 569 calling for a statewide climate adaptation plan while maintaining the Commonwealth’s eligibility for federal disaster recovery and hazard mitigation funding. It is a first of its kind plan to comprehensively address climate change and natural hazards and to assess risk and vulnerability within state agencies, communities, and across the Commonwealth. EEA, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) led the planning process. The plan presents more than 100 initial actions state agencies and executive offices have identified to increase resiliency and respond to natural hazards and climate change. CZM served on the Project Management Team for the 2017-2018 planning process, completed an agency vulnerability assessment, and committed to assisting with continued stakeholder engagement and strategy implementation over the next five years. More information on the Commonwealth’s climate initiatives can be found on the EEA Climate Action website.

Advancing Nature-Based Coastal Protection - CZM continued to work with The Nature Conservancy, other state coastal zone management programs in New England, and the Northeast Regional Ocean Council to increase the use of nature-based infrastructure (or “living shorelines”) for flood protection through a regional project funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). CZM and regional partners focused on monitoring metrics and protocols for a range of projects to increase natural resilience of coastal banks, beaches, and marshes. The project team presented at the ninth National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration and Management in December.

StormSmart Coasts Outreach - Throughout 2018, CZM’s StormSmart Coasts program provided local officials and other partners with information on erosion, flooding, coastal storm impacts, sea level rise, alternatives for mitigating erosion and storm damage, and local adaptation planning through presentations at a variety of events, including:

Coastal Water Quality

Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Awards - In July, EEA announced $500,000 in funding through CZM’s Coastal Pollutant Remediation (CPR) Grant Program for projects to protect coastal water quality in Massachusetts. The FY2019 awarded projects are:

  • Barnstable - $59,988 to identify two or more priority locations and complete design and permitting for stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) that will reduce pollutants in the Three Bays watershed.
  • Milton - $56,860 to design and construct green stormwater BMPs at the Milton Police Station to improve overall water quality and migratory fish habitat in the Neponset River watershed.
  • Provincetown - $95,250 to develop final designs, construction specifications, and cost estimates for the final phase of a porous pavement project to improve water quality in Provincetown Harbor.
  • Salem - $128,650 to construct stormwater treatment systems at Winter Island Park to improve water quality in Salem Harbor.
  • Sandwich $95,742 to design and construct infiltrating stormwater BMPs at various locations in Sandwich Harbor with a goal to reclassify the harbor as fully approved for shellfishing.
  • Yarmouth - $63,510 to construct a bioretention and subsurface gravel wetland to treat stormwater runoff contaminated with bacteria and nitrogen impacting waterbodies on Yarmouth’s southern coast.

The grants are being matched by $549,743 from municipal sources, further extending the power of the grant program. Since 1996, more than $10 million has been awarded through the CPR grant program to coastal watershed communities. For more information, see the press release.

Water Quality Projects Completed in Coastal Watershed Communities - In 2018, six projects were completed with Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant funding from FY2018 (see the CZM Grant Viewer for details on funded projects):

  • Barnstable identified sites in the Three Bays watershed where stormwater BMPs could be installed and completed designs for two high priority locations.
  • Everett prioritized areas suitable for future construction of stormwater BMPs to treat contaminated runoff entering the Malden and Mystic Rivers.
  • Kingston finalized designs, permitted, and constructed BMPs to treat bacteria-contaminated stormwater runoff that currently impacts Jones River water quality.
  • Melrose constructed rain gardens and infiltration chambers to treat contaminated stormwater runoff currently impacting the water quality of Ell Pond in the Mystic River watershed.
  • Plymouth constructed stormwater BMPs treating runoff entering Great Herring Pond to protect water quality and critical habitat for river herring.
  • Yarmouth finalized the design of stormwater BMPs that treat bacteria and nitrogen contaminated runoff impacting waterbodies on Yarmouth’s southern coast.

For more information on the CPR grant program and coastal water quality, contact Cristina Kennedy at cristina.kennedy@mass.gov.

COASTSWEEP 2018 - From August into November each year, thousands of volunteers throughout Massachusetts turn out for COASTSWEEP—the statewide coastal cleanup sponsored by CZM. Although final 2018 cleanup results are still pending, preliminary reports show that 3,044 volunteers covered over 129 miles of coastline, river bank, marsh, seafloor, and lakeshore in Massachusetts—collecting more than 6 tons of debris from 89 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 2019 cleanups will begin in the spring. Please contact us to receive a sign-up reminder.

Other Water Quality Program Activities - CZM worked on the following additional Coastal Water Quality activities this year:

  • In coordination with the Coalition for Buzzards Bay, the town of Wareham, and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), CZM continued monitoring efforts to establish a baseline and validate model projections of water quality under a scenario where Wareham would relocate its treated wastewater outfall from the Wareham River to the more well-flushed Cape Cod Canal.
  • CZM assisted the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program with identifying a contractor to model the flushing rate of more than 45 embayments from Provincetown to Salisbury.
  • CZM worked with MassDEP on a biologically based plan to revise the dissolved oxygen standards for the Mt. Hope Bay and Taunton River estuary, supported in part by two water quality monitoring buoys in the bay.
  • CZM participated in a Science Advisory Committee to advise Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), city of Lynn, and town of Swampscott on potential solutions to ongoing bacterial contamination on DCR’s King’s Beach.

Ocean Management

Ocean Advisory Commission and Science Advisory Council - The Commonwealth’s Ocean Advisory Commission (OAC)—which includes legislators, representatives from commercial fishing, environmental organizations, offshore renewable energy, coastal regional planning agencies, and the heads of CZM, MassDEP, and Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF)—is charged with assisting the EEA Secretary in developing and reviewing/updating the state’s ocean management plan. The OAC met in January to discuss offshore wind energy development and transmission, offshore sand analyses, the Draft Proposed Program for the upcoming 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (PDF, 35 MB) released by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and aquaculture management and review. Also, a proposed approach for the next Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan review was presented to the Commission for consideration. Under the 2008 Oceans Act, the plan must be reviewed at least once every 5 years. The OAC convened again in September in a joint meeting with the Ocean Science Advisory Council, which includes nine scientists with expertise in marine sciences and data management who assist the EEA Secretary in the science and technical aspects of developing and implementing the ocean plan. The meeting introduced the Ocean Acidification Commission to be convened under the 2018 Environmental Bond Bill (Section 97) and presented the federal Executive Order 13840—Regarding the Ocean Policy to Advocate the Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States, which repealed and replaced Executive Order 13547Stewardship the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes. Presentations on the Northeast Ocean Data Portal, artificial reefs in Massachusetts, and an offshore wind fisheries science framework were also provided.

Northeast Ocean Plan - In the first half of 2018, 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—continued to be actively engaged in implementation of the Northeast Ocean Plan. On June 21, the RPB met to review, communicate, and discuss the use of the Northeast Ocean Plan and the Northeast Ocean Data Portal. At this meeting, the RPB discussed how to move forward following the repeal and replacement of the Executive Order on National Ocean Policy with Executive Order 13840, which established a new Ocean Policy and Federal Ocean Policy Committee and dissolved all RPBs. The Ocean Planning Committee of the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC)—a state and federal partnership that facilitates the New England states, federal agencies, regional organizations, and other interested regional groups in addressing ocean and coastal issues that benefit from a regional response—will essentially take on the roles and tasks previously led by the RPB and continue to coordinate issues related to ocean planning in New England, as well as with the Federal Ocean Policy Committee. In November, NROC hosted a meeting on Northeast ocean planning with a focus on data needs and priorities, along with a work plan to sustain and enhance the Northeast Ocean Data Portal. Later in November, the NROC Fall Meeting featured discussions on the new federal ocean policy and how to move forward in the Northeast, coastal and ocean acidification, coastal resilience, and offshore sand resource management.

Renewable Energy Task Force and Offshore Wind Updates - In April, BOEM convened a Joint Massachusetts and Rhode Island Renewable Energy Task Force Meeting in Falmouth. CZM, EEA, and Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) provided updates from the Commonwealth highlighting collaborative efforts and progress to date, while pointing to some of the next steps, including the Massachusetts competitive procurement pursuant to An Act Relative to Energy Diversity. BOEM provided updates on the status of the offshore lease areas—including a proposed sale for previously unleased areas off Massachusetts—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. In May, CZM and MassCEC held meetings of the Fisheries Working Group on Offshore Wind Energy and Habitat Working Group on Offshore Wind Energy to share updates on the offshore wind projects currently in the planning and permitting phase. Meetings of the Fisheries Working Group were also held in June and September with agenda items including transit areas within lease areas, gear interactions and loss, and a potential regional fisheries science panel. In October, BOEM announced that it would hold an auction on December 13 for three lease areas totaling nearly 390,000 acres offshore Massachusetts. Details were published in a Final Sale Notice (PDF, 233 KB) in the Federal Register. The December 13 BOEM auction carried over to December 14, and after the completion of the competitive lease sale, the three areas were sold to Equinor Wind US LLC, Mayflower Wind Energy LLC, and Vineyard Wind LLC for $135 million each—a new record for highest grossing renewable energy competitive lease sale. CZM continues to support stakeholder engagement, coordinate with federal and state agencies, and conduct environmental reviews of the proposed offshore wind projects. For more information on offshore wind, see the Massachusetts Offshore Wind website, and for additional information on the procurement process, see the MassCEC website.

Offshore Wind Energy Procurement - On May 23, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that the Commonwealth’s Electric Distribution Companies selected the Vineyard Wind 800-megawatt project under the first offshore wind energy procurement authorized by Energy Diversity Act. CZM is currently participating in the environmental review of this project in state and federal waters. Also announced was the State of Rhode Island’s decision to enter into contract negotiations with Deepwater Wind for a 400-megawatt offshore wind energy project. For more information on these selections, see the press release.

Seafloor Mapping Initiative - CZM and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released new seafloor data and renewed efforts to continue mapping the Commonwealth’s seafloor. Continuous Bathymetry and Elevation Models of the Massachusetts Coastal Zone and Continental Shelf is a comprehensive elevation dataset that covers the entire Massachusetts Coastal Zone. This new dataset includes both “over-the-land” topography and “underwater” bathymetry and provides a continuous surface, which is necessary to identify flood, hurricane, and sea level rise inundation hazard zones. Sampling data collected in Cape Cod Bay, Buzzards Bay, and Vineyard Sound; south of Martha’s Vineyard; and south and east of Nantucket, Massachusetts, in 2011, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity and Sampling data collected in Ipswich Bay and Massachusetts Bay, Massachusetts, in 2012, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity are compilations of sampling data collected in Massachusetts waters during research cruises in 2011 and 2012. Data collected included sediment samples, still photography, and video of the seafloor. These data are an important component of CZM/USGS efforts to accurately map the seafloor to better inform marine resource protection. Also in 2018, CZM and the USGS Woods Hole Science Center agreed to renew and expand their cooperative efforts by continuing high resolution seafloor mapping in unmapped areas of state waters, piloting a coupled ocean atmosphere wave sediment transport model, and advancing shoreline change and erosion forecasting. This work will collect geophysical data, bottom samples, and photos and video in southern Cape Cod Bay beginning in summer 2019. The coastal processes model will assess the movement of sand during select storm events (such as the 2018 winter northeasters), providing coastal managers with better information on how, where, and when sand is transported. This research will focus on western Cape Cod Bay. Finally, USGS scientists will develop a new present-day shoreline (2018-2019) for inclusion in CZM’s Shoreline Change Project. For more information on these various projects, see the USGS Geologic Mapping of the Massachusetts Seafloor website. For more information on CZM’s role in mapping Massachusetts waters, see CZM’s Seafloor and Habitat Mapping Program website.

Gulf of Maine Council Awards - On June 5, the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment presented its annual awards during a ceremony in Gloucester, which included awards to two environmental leaders from Massachusetts. Bob Zimmerman, former Director of the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA), received a Visionary Award for his nearly three decades of work improving the Charles River. Since 1990, he helped the CRWA expand its focus to include scientific research and analysis, ecosystem and land-use planning studies, land and water regulation reform, and restorative technologies, while winning major battles to restore and protect the Charles River and its parklands. Under his leadership, CRWA was successful in restoring shad populations and increasing sustainable water resource management among the 35 cities and towns in the watershed. Thanks to Bob’s tireless efforts to monitor and advocate for water quality improvements, conditions in the Charles River have improved dramatically from receiving a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grade of D in 1995 to an A- in 2013. Also receiving a Visionary Award is Maritime Gloucester for its establishment of a vibrant community center for learning and exploration in the marine and environmental sciences. In 1999, Geoffrey Richon of Gloucester organized nearly 300 Cape Ann community members to create a nonprofit educational institution. The mission of Maritime Gloucester is to inspire students and visitors to value marine science, maritime heritage, and environmental stewardship through hands-on education and experiential learning that emphasize four core values—inspiring discovery, exploring science, embracing history, and living stewardship. For nearly 20 years, Maritime Gloucester has revitalized an important harbor-side facility that preserves Gloucester’s maritime heritage. This center provides services to 70 schools and school groups, and annually attracts more than 4,500 students in classrooms, workshops, and drop-in programs. For a complete list of winners and more information on the awards, see the Gulf of Maine Council website.

Coastal Habitat

Marine Invasive Species Rapid Assessment Survey - From July 23-27, CZM staff and a team of scientific experts visited marinas from Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, to Casco Bay, Maine, to observe, identify, and record native and invasive marine species found on floating docks and piers. The Rapid Assessment Survey (RAS), the sixth held since 2000, is critical for detecting new species introductions and identifying regional trends. During this survey, the team documented a number of established marine invasive species, such as the skeleton shrimp Caprella mutica, the red algae Grateloupia turuturu, the bryozoan Tricellaria inopinata, and several sea squirts. Some invasive organisms that were more common in the 2013 survey were absent or found in fewer numbers in 2018, such as the orange-striped anemone Diadumene lineata and the European oyster Ostrea edulis. Notably, native grass shrimp and invasive shrimp were commonly found along the docks in past surveys, but were collected at just one site in New Bedford this year. The final results of the RAS will be presented in a summary report once the RAS scientists have carefully gone through their samples and confirmed all identifications. Funding for the 2018 RAS was provided by CZM, the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, and the Massachusetts Bays and Buzzards Bay National Estuary Programs. To view photos and a video of the team in action, see these articles from the South Coast Today and the Salem News, and visit CZM’s RAS 2018 flickr album. For more information on the methods, sampling sites, and data from the last survey performed in 2013, see the Report on the 2013 Rapid Assessment Survey of Marine Species at New England Bays and Harbors (PDF, 53 MB), and see CZM’s Marine Invasive Species Program website for additional details on this topic.

Volunteer Monitoring of Marine Invasive Species - Every summer, citizen scientists are on the hunt for marine invasive species at docks and rocky shorelines along the New England coast as part of the Marine Invasive Monitoring and Information Collaborative (MIMIC) coordinated by CZM. This summer was the 11th season of MIMIC. See the MIMIC Project Page on iNaturalist.org to view species observed during monitoring. For data from past years, see CZM’s Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (MORIS) online mapping tool (under “Marine Invasive Species” in the “Biology” folder). 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 cristina.kennedy@mass.gov.

Vulnerability Assessment for Coastal Areas of Critical Environmental Concern - Massachusetts is home to diverse coastal habitats that provide important benefits, such as wildlife habitat, nursery areas for commercial fish species, and storm damage protection for shoreline properties—benefits that are impacted by many factors including nonpoint source pollution, development pressure, invasive species, and current and future climate change impacts (such as increased temperature, drought, precipitation changes, and sea level rise). As part of a NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship project to examine risk to and resiliency of coastal habitats, CZM is conducting a vulnerability assessment of coastal Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). ACECs have been formally designated by the state and receive special recognition because of the quality, uniqueness, and significance of their natural and cultural resources. As part of this project, existing data and information on habitat diversity and the level of human influence have been analyzed to characterize each of the coastal ACECs. These characterizations were used to inform the selection of the Sandy Neck Barrier Beach System ACEC as the site for the vulnerability assessment and analysis. Site-specific data gathering and analysis—such as an assessment of tidal crossings impacting the ACEC’s watersheds, field data collection on salt marsh condition, and information gathering on current management practices within the ACEC—have been used to prioritize the coastal habitats most at risk in the Sandy Neck ACEC. A technical advisory committee with members from other state agencies, including DCR and the Division of Ecological Restoration, has continued to inform the vulnerability assessment. Local stakeholders, such as municipal officials, nonprofit organizations, and restoration practitioners, have also been asked to help identify vulnerabilities and local interests. Policy, conservation, restoration measures, and other options that promote the capacity of these habitats to adapt to future changes are being investigated. The final products of this project will include a report on tidal crossings to inform restoration prioritization, a story map describing the habitats within the Sandy Neck ACEC and some of the threats they face, and a report with recommendations for improving the resilience of the ACEC. This work, which is expected to be completed by summer 2019, will provide a broader understanding of coastal habitats in Massachusetts, the threats they face, and the potential adaptation measures to help ensure their resilience. For more information on this project, contact CZM’s NOAA Coastal Fellow Sean Duffey at sean.duffey@mass.gov.

Long-Term Monitoring of Salt Marshes - 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. For details, see the project report. Building on this work, CZM—in partnership with MassDEP and with funding through an EPA Wetland Program Development Grant—established long-term monitoring stations, or sentinel sites, in salt marshes during summer 2017. In 2018, CZM collected hydrology data at these sentinel sites and coordinated efforts with the unmanned aerial systems program at UMass Amherst, with a goal to use high resolution drone imagery to characterize marsh features and track changes across the wider marsh landscape. 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 adrienne.pappal@mass.gov.

Salt Marsh Response and Resilience Workshop Proceedings - The New England National Estuarine Research Reserves held a regional workshop in April 2018 on the impacts of sea level rise on salt marshes and their ability to adapt to a changing climate. Workshop proceedings and speaker presentations—including Marsh Impairment and Future Considerations: A Massachusetts Overview (PDF, 3 MB) by CZM’s Marc Carullo—are now available on the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve website.

Citizen Science Symposium at the Fall 2018 NEERS Meeting - In October, CZM organized a special symposium entitled Citizen Science—Linking Science, Management, and Stewardship and presented on the MIMIC program, as part of the New England Estuarine Research Society (NEERS) Fall Meeting.

Data and Information Management

CZM Grant Viewer - In May, CZM launched the CZM Grant Viewer—an online mapping tool for exploring grants awarded by CZM’s Coastal Resilience Grant Program and Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Program, the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program grants and funding, and the Massachusetts Bays Healthy Estuaries Grants. The viewer’s interactive map was developed for use on mobile phones and tablets, as well as desktop computers. Points on the map are color coded by grant program and can be selected to view details on each grant award. Information can be sorted by grant program, category (including Construction - Living Shoreline, Construction - Stormwater Infrastructure, Construction - Other Infrastructure, Design & Permitting, Habitat Restoration, Land Protection, Planning & Outreach, Research & Monitoring, and Vulnerability Assessment), and year that the grants were awarded. The map includes grants awarded throughout the Massachusetts Coastal Zone and Coastal Watershed, representing a strong investment in clean estuaries, resilient coasts, and healthy habitats. Funds for these grant programs may be from the Commonwealth or the federal government (through either EPA or NOAA).

Port and Harbor Planning

Local Planning Efforts - A number of communities have been working on harbor plans in 2018. On the North Shore, CZM continued to work with Beverly on the preparation of a comprehensive harbor plan for Beverly Harbor and the Bass River areas, which 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. While the planning process determined that a state-approved Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP) is not currently necessary to implement their vision for the waterfront, Beverly continues to work toward a comprehensive approach to meet development priorities while protecting environmental resources, improving coastal resilience, and providing enhanced public access to the waterfront. Salem requested and was granted a one-year extension to their existing 2008 MHP and Designated Port Area (DPA) Master Plan, which was set to expire in June 2018. CZM continues to work closely with the city as they assess progress on the goals of the 2008 plan and examine new opportunities for the waterfront, with a particular focus on the DPA portion of the planning area. Lynn continued to work with EEA on finalizing a new Open Space Plan for its waterfront and began a new Waterfront Master planning process this year. CZM is working with the city as they prepare to undergo a renewal and amendment process for the existing 2010 Lynn MHP and DPA Master Plan to implement the goals of the Open Space and Waterfront Master planning efforts. In Boston Harbor, the EEA Secretary issued the Decision on the City of Boston’s Request for Approval of the Downtown Waterfront District Municipal Harbor Plan (PDF, 946 KB) in April, which builds on prior city planning initiatives and seeks to frame an overarching vision for a critical stretch of Boston’s waterfront. In May, CZM issued the Designation Decision for the South Boston Designated Port Area, Boston, MA (PDF, 3 MB), which modified the boundary of the South Boston DPA in accordance with criteria governing the suitability of contiguous lands to accommodate water-dependent industrial uses. Other harbor planning initiatives underway include the development of an MHP and DPA Master Plan for the Chelsea Creek waterfront by the city of Chelsea, which has received funding by the Seaport Economic Council and technical assistance from CZM and MassDEP. For more information on this planning process, see CZM’s Notice to Proceed (PDF, 2 MB) issued in June. On the South Shore, CZM continued to provide technical assistance and support to the town of Cohasset for developing an MHP, which is being funded with a grant from the Seaport Economic Council. In the Cape Cod and Islands region, a number of communities are working to update and renew existing, local and state-approved MHPs. CZM has been working with representatives from Edgartown on plan renewal, which is expected in 2019. CZM provided technical assistance to Provincetown in their development of an MHP amendment, which was submitted for Secretary review in August. A decision on the MHP amendment is expected in early 2019. On the South Coast, CZM worked with New Bedford and Fairhaven on a fourth, one-year extension of the joint state-approved MHP, originally approved in 2010. CZM anticipates that New Bedford and Fairhaven will initiate a renewal of their joint MHP during 2019. CZM also has been working closely with Dartmouth on its local Apponagansett Bay Harbor Plan, which is targeted for completion in the spring of 2019. For more information about CZM’s harbor planning efforts, contact the CZM Regional Coordinators.

Project Review

MEPA Review - The following projects were reviewed under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) process:

  • Vineyard Wind - CZM reviewed and provided comments for the Environmental Notification Form, Draft Environmental Impact Report, and Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Report submitted to MEPA for Vineyard Wind’s proposal to install two offshore export cables to connect a large-scale wind energy project within the federally designated Wind Energy Area offshore of Massachusetts to the New England bulk power grid. (This project is part of a larger project that seeks to construct and operate an 800-megawatt offshore wind facility under the BOEM Outer Continental Shelf Renewable Energy Program. Major elements of the larger project include a wind turbine array, offshore electrical service platforms, offshore transmission to shore, onshore underground transmission, and an onshore substation.) The cable project presents two alternative offshore export cable corridors that can make landfall at one of three potential sites. CZM is conducting federal consistency review of this project and will review the Final Environmental Impact Report as part of that process.
  • Dredging and Beach Nourishment Projects - CZM reviewed several dredging and/or beach nourishment proposals submitted for MEPA review. These projects include the placement of approximately 300,000 cubic yards of sediment from the Portsmouth Harbor and Piscataqua River Federal Navigation Project and up to approximately 200,000 cubic yards of future Merrimack River dredge sediments for beneficial reuse to nourish nearshore areas off Plum Island in Newbury and Salisbury Beach in Salisbury; the placement of up to 700,000 cubic yards of clean, beach-compatible material along approximately 6,800 feet of shoreline on the Nantasket Beach Reservation; and dune nourishment through the placement of approximately 56,000 cubic yards of compatible sediment (obtained from an upland source) along 3,600 feet of Duxbury Beach. CZM also reviewed Edgartown’s proposed modification to the existing 10-year comprehensive dredge permit to allow for improvement dredging within Lighthouse Pond and placement of the dredged material along the adjacent Fuller Street Beach for beach nourishment and dune restoration, as well as Plymouth’s plan for the dredging of five areas within Plymouth Inner Harbor for a cumulative dredge footprint of approximately 9.6 acres of maintenance dredging and 4.7 acres of improvement dredging, with a total estimated dredge volume of approximately 84,050 cubic yards of material.
  • Additional MEPA Review Projects - In addition to dredging and beach nourishment projects, CZM also reviewed Manchester-by-the-Sea’s Masconomo Park/Morss Pier seawall reconstruction project, the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park Master Plan update for South Boston, the Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Plan in Boston and Revere, the Coughlin Park shoreline stabilization project in Winthrop, the reconfiguration and reconstruction of the Hough’s Neck Maritime Center in Quincy, Salem’s Collins Cove living shoreline project, restoration of tidal flow in Little Parkers Pond in Osterville, the renovation of the Cape Pond Ice facility in Gloucester, the restoration of the Coonamessett River in Falmouth, the Lynn Landfill cap repair project in Lynn, the Weweantic River restoration and Horseshoe Mill Dam spillway removal project in Wareham, the Hendersonville Substation construction project in Everett, and Orleans’s Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan.
  • CZM continues to participate on the technical advisory committee for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Boston Harbor Deep Draft Navigational Improvement Project, which is underway and incorporates 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) will 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, the Massport Medford Street Terminal on the Mystic River, and the existing 38-foot channel in the Chelsea River.

Federal Consistency Review - 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. The following projects were reviewed for federal consistency:

  • CZM issued federal consistency concurrences on projects including the periodic opening of Oyster Pond in Edgartown, Massport’s plan to construct a new deep-water container ship berth and to dredge both the new Berth 10 and existing Berth 11, maintenance dredging of the Palmers Cove Yacht Club in Salem, proposed sand bypassing system for the town of Sandwich, Dennis 10-year comprehensive dredging permit, Harwich comprehensive maintenance dredging and beach nourishment permit, Wellfleet proposed maintenance dredging of a historic channel and anchorage area within Wellfleet Harbor, dredging of 16,000 cubic yards of material from the Port Norfolk Yacht Club in Boston, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Kent’s Island Salt Marsh Restoration Project in Newbury (which includes the removal and replacement of a dilapidated bridge crossing), Bourne’s Pond bridge replacement and inlet widening for Falmouth, Dennis Sesuit Harbor dredging and beach nourishment project, and Oak Bluff beach nourishment and groin/jetty rehabilitation project for Jetty Beach, North Bluff Beach, Pay Beach, and Inkwell Beach. CZM also found consistent DCR’s plan to place up to 700,000 cubic yards of sand on the beach at the Nantasket Beach Reservation in Hull, and the DCR Boston Harbor mooring program for Gallops, Georges, and Peddocks Islands.
  • CZM completed review of a proposed project to deploy and grow sugar kelp on a maximum of 350 kelp longlines across three permitted sites in Nantucket Sound off Harding’s Beach in Chatham. The project will take place in stages, with the initial deployment in year one limited to 15 kelp longlines from 150-200 feet long. Deployment of additional lines will be contingent on DMF review of stage one.
  • CZM completed its review and issued a concurrence of the proposed Harbor Electric Energy Company (HEEC) project to install a new, approximately 4.2-mile-long electric power cable across Boston Harbor from Eversource’s K Street Substation in South Boston to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority Deer Island Sewage Treatment Plant.

EPA NPDES Permits - As part of CZM’s federal consistency review of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, concurrences were issued for three permits/renewals/modifications, including the U.S. Coast Guard Boston Light discharge, the UMass Boston campus discharge, and the North Station Railroad Terminal permit. Gloucester’s application for federal consistency review of their water pollution control facility was withdrawn from review in August until a new draft permit could be prepared.

Federal Agency Actions - CZM worked with the U.S. Coast Guard to review and issue concurrences for dredging near Station Point Allerton’s boathouse in Hull and replacement of the failing wastewater treatment system at Station Menemsha in Chilmark. USACE’s proposed modification to the Plymouth Harbor Federal Navigation Project, allowing an extension of the lifespan of the §401 Water Quality Certificate for an additional five-year period, was also found to be consistent with the original determination issued in June 2018. CZM also issued a federal consistency concurrence to USACE for construction of a 1,930-foot-long stone revetment along the midsection of an existing seawall in DCR’s Nantasket Beach Reservation in Hull.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers General Permit for Massachusetts - CZM worked closely with USACE, MassDEP, DMF, EPA, and the National Marine Fisheries Service in reviewing revisions to the Massachusetts General Permit (GP), issued in January 2015. These revisions make the GP more user-friendly and provide clarifications based on stakeholder input. 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. CZM issued a federal consistency concurrence for these revisions on April 5.

2018 Navigational Dredging Grants Pilot Program - CZM coordinated with the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) to announce the availability of $4 million to support public marine navigational dredging projects for the Commonwealth’s 78 coastal cities and towns. The pilot program is designed to prepare coastal communities for success and contribute to the long-term strength and sustainability of the Commonwealth’s blue economy, with an emphasis on shovel-ready projects. Projects should increase navigation and access to waterways in support of tourism and commercial activities, support resiliency and climate adaptation projects, and improve public safety and water quality in coastal communities. Projects were evaluated based on readiness, direct economic impact, and local match. Awards were made to Barnstable, Chatham, Falmouth, Harwich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marshfield, Nantucket, Plymouth, Scituate, Swansea, Tisbury, Truro, and Yarmouth.

Emergency Management

Storm Team Activations for 2018 - From January 4-8, 23 members of the Massachusetts Coastal Storm Damage Assessment Team and five additional volunteers conducted visual assessments of the damage from January 4 northeaster collecting 126 reports documenting the damage in 28 communities. These reports indicated widespread moderate flooding along north- and east-facing shorelines, with pockets of major flooding in Boston Harbor, along the South Shore, as well as on the north shore of Cape Cod and on Nantucket. Flooding damaged homes, cars, roads, and utilities, including the breach of a 20” sewer force main near the harbor on Nantucket. In addition to extensive flooding, there was some damage to siding, decks, access stairs, and building foundations reported in five communities. The storm surge combined with sea ice also damaged numerous beach access structures, docks, piers, and floats. From March 2-5, 48 members of the Storm Team and 26 volunteers submitted 792 reports in 47 communities. Reports include widespread beach and dune erosion, flooding, and overwash and erosion affecting coastal roads, buildings, and infrastructure. Damage to buildings was reported in 16 communities. Beach access structures and boat ramps were undermined and damaged or destroyed, and many floats, piers, docks, and boats were damaged or displaced. Damage to seawalls and other shore protection structures was reported in 14 communities. For the March 8 storm, 23 members of the Storm Team were activated to assess damages. Erosion and flooding on roads and around buildings were reported along east and northeast facing shorelines, but it was difficult to determine if this storm caused any additional damage. For the March 13 storm, CZM activated 10 Storm Team members, who reported beach erosion, flooding of coastal roads, splashover of coastal engineering structures, water flow around buildings, overwash of barrier beaches, possible further damage to seawalls that failed in the March 2-5 storm, and possible additional damage to houses and buildings damaged in early March. For the March 21-22 storm, CZM activated 13 members of the Storm Team who reported minor splashover and erosion north of Boston and along the north shore of Cape Cod; flooding of roads and water flow around buildings on the South Shore from Hull to Plymouth, in Chatham, and on Nantucket; erosion that undermined roads, seawalls, and a bridge abutment; and significant erosion and overwash of low-lying barrier beaches in three communities. All reports were submitted into an online tool on the MyCoast website, which is used by MEMA in storm recovery efforts, by the National Weather Service to fine tune forecasting of future events, and others for floodplain management and planning. CZM staff were in the State Emergency Operations Center on March 1-5, preparing for the first March storm and providing emergency support.

Underwater Archaeological Resources

Maritime Heritage Presentation and Programs - The Board of Underwater Archaeology (BUAR) made 15 public and professional presentations for schools, dive clubs, universities, and international societies. Presentations included general lectures (Massachusetts Hidden History and Nature and Maritime Archaeology), as well as specific field projects (Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse, 1775 Battle of Chelsea Creek, and 17th Century Nipmuc Mishoonash [dugout canoes] in Lake Quinsigamond). Hands-on certification workshops through the Nautical Archaeology Society that centered on maritime archaeology and mapping shipwrecks were given at the Robbins Museum of Archaeology in Middleborough and at East Coast Divers in Brookline. In addition, an artifact identification program was held with the students at the Hastings Elementary School in Lexington.

Unusual Catches Day - On March 3, the second annual Unusual Catches Day was sponsored by and held at the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center in New Bedford. Maritime archeologists, including BUAR Director Vic Mastone, were on hand to examine the unusual items that commercial fishermen have pulled up in nets and dredges. Among the most unusual recovered objects was an ancient walrus skull.

Massachusetts Archaeology Month - In celebration of Massachusetts Archaeology Month, BUAR participated in various archaeology events in October. The BUAR Director gave lectures on Maritime Archaeology: Revealing Massachusetts’ Hidden History at the Manchester Historical Museum in Manchester-by-the-Sea on October 16 and for the Center Club of the North Shore in Lynnfield on October 24.

Summer Institute on Maritime Archaeology - From July 16-20, BUAR’s Director Victor Mastone co-lead a Salem State University Summer Institute on Maritime Archaeology on the North Shore in partnership with the Seafaring Education and Maritime Archaeological Heritage Program and the Nautical Archaeology Society (UK) at The Trustees of the Reservations Misery Islands. Participants learned how to survey, map, and record shipwrecks with a hands-on experience recording the side-wheel coastal steamer City of Rockland wreck site at Little Misery Island. This is part of an ongoing effort to provide formal citizen-scientist training to further BUAR’s mission.

Field Investigations - In 2018, BUAR undertook limited field investigations or provided technical expertise on several underwater archaeological sites in Edgartown, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Newburyport, Orleans, Rowley, Salisbury, Scituate, and Shrewsbury/Worcester, and on George’s Bank. These sites were intertidal zone or underwater, and included unusual artifact recoveries by fishermen, exposed ancient clay deposits with imprints, two lost aircraft, and shipwrecks.

BUAR Director Receives Citation for Outstanding Performance - In December, BUAR Director Victor Mastone was presented with a 2018 Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance by EEA Secretary Matthew Beaton. Vic, who has been with BUAR since 1987, was recognized for his tireless dedication to the protection of the Commonwealth’s sunken treasures and his work to educate and provide advice on the laws and guidelines that safeguard our underwater archaeology resources. To read more about Vic and his work, see this January 2018 Boston Globe article. Congratulations Vic!

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 2018 accomplishments for each region are provided below.

North Shore (Salisbury to Revere) - Coastal erosion, redevelopment, and climate change are significant issues for North Shore communities, and CZM continues to provide technical assistance on sea level rise adaptation to advance climate change planning. In the first half of 2018, CZM provided guidance and technical assistance to Essex, Gloucester, Salem, and Northeastern University on their FY2018 Coastal Resilience Grant projects, which were completed by the end of June. CZM also worked with municipal officials to develop project ideas for the FY2019 grant round—resulting in four awards on the North Shore. CZM is currently working on the following projects: helping Gloucester to evaluate, design, and permit a flood mitigation project to protect Gloucester High School and its surroundings; working with Ipswich and The Trustees of Reservations to develop design plans for nature-based approaches to protect Argilla Road from increased flooding and climate change impacts; working with Ipswich and the Ipswich River Watershed Association to develop permit-ready plans to stabilize an eroding coastal bank along the Ipswich River; and helping Salem and Salem Sound Coastwatch to restore and monitor 0.75 acres of fringing salt marsh using coir rolls and native vegetation to provide increased protection from erosion, storm surge, and waves. CZM worked on MVP Planning Grants with eight communities, helping with vulnerability assessments and resiliency plans so they could become certified as MVP communities, and is currently working with seven other communities on MVP certification. CZM is providing technical assistance to Essex on two MVP Action Grants looking at resiliency approaches for the Great Marsh in Essex, Ipswich, and Newbury. CZM continues to be actively involved in the Merrimack River Beach Alliance, providing technical assistance and regulatory guidance on coastal resilience in the region, particularly for beneficial reuse of dredge materials from the Piscataqua River and Merrimack River dredge projects. CZM continues to provide technical assistance to Beverly, Lynn, and Salem on waterfront planning efforts. In November, CZM joined with partners from the Great Marsh Coalition for the seventh annual Great Marsh Symposium, which featured experts on a range of topics to highlight and celebrate the influence of the Great Marsh on the environmental, economic, cultural, and recreational well-being of the region (see the 2018 Great Marsh Symposium presentations). CZM continues to partner with members of the Parker Ipswich Essex Rivers Restoration team to work toward protection and better awareness of the importance of the Great Marsh. CZM also continues to coordinate 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, and grant postings, as well as the ability to tap into each member’s expertise for problem solving across municipal boundaries.

Boston Harbor (Winthrop to Weymouth) - CZM supported Coastal Resilience Grant projects in Boston, Braintree, Chelsea, Everett, Weymouth, and Winthrop. In Boston, CZM assisted with the development of Coastal Resilience Solutions for South Boston (PDF, 21 MB), which outlines plans to implement new resiliency measures to protect South Boston from current and future flooding, such as that seen in the 2018 winter storms. CZM provided financial and technical support to Weymouth and Winthrop on projects started with FY2018 Coastal Resilience Grants, while preparing to support projects in Braintree, Chelsea and Everett, and Winthrop through the FY2019 grant program. In an example of moving projects from design to implementation, Winthrop designed and permitted plans for shoreline stabilization at Coughlin Park with their FY2018 Coastal Resilience Grant and will use FY2019 funds to construct the project. CZM is supporting Milton’s plans for a rain garden at a community police station with an FY2019 CPR grant and technical assistance. CZM continued to provide technical assistance to coastal communities within the Boston Harbor region, most notably assisting Boston and Chelsea with port and harbor planning and supporting communities that received FY2019 MVP Action Grants, including Weymouth, Winthrop, and Boston, which is developing climate-resilient zoning and design guidelines. CZM continued to represent the EEA Secretary on the Fort Point Channel Operations Board and provide support for board efforts. The Operations Board had another successful round of Watersheet Activation Grants, which 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 2019.

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. CZM partnered with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, MassBays National Estuary Program, and municipal stakeholders to convene and facilitate a regional coastal resiliency informational sharing network to discuss local resiliency initiatives, identify needs for future activities, and discuss opportunities for inter-municipal and regional-scale efforts. CZM also took part in the fifth annual Marshfield Furnace Brook Middle School Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Symposium, where more than 300 eighth grade students participated in activities focused on sea level rise and climate change, including a “hands-on” tutorial utilizing the online NOAA Sea Level Rise Viewer. CZM provided technical and coordination assistance for Coastal Resilience Grants awarded to the Duxbury Bay Reservation, Inc., Hull, Kingston, Marshfield, and Scituate; coordinated and provided technical assistance for CPR Grant projects in Kingston and Plymouth; and participated in stakeholder workshops for the Cohasset MVP program. Finally, CZM continued ongoing investigations of post-restoration ecology of Straits Pond in Cohasset, Hingham, and Hull, provided an associated presentation to the Straits Pond Watershed Association Annual Meeting on the health of the pond, and performed follow-up monitoring to document performance of tide gate operations.

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 impacts from coastal flooding and implementation of measures to improve coastal resilience, coastal erosion and beach management, water quality monitoring, stormwater management, harbor planning, and dredging. CZM is currently working with representatives from Barnstable, Chatham, Dennis, Nantucket, and Provincetown to implement Coastal Resilience Grant projects funded in the FY2019 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 served as vice-chair of the Barnstable County Coastal Resource Committee, which helps coordinate state, local, and county coastal management initiatives. CZM worked closely with the Barnstable County Dredge Program to help 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 Barnstable, Brewster, Chatham, Chilmark, Dennis, Harwich, Nantucket, Oak Bluffs, and Provincetown. CZM co-sponsored the third biannual Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Conference on June 6, which focused on water quality, coastal processes, and coastal resilience and had more than 135 people in attendance. CZM assisted in planning and coordinating the 2018 Cape Coastal Conference in Barnstable and facilitated a panel discussion on permitting living shoreline projects in Massachusetts. Over 400 people attended the December 4-5 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 these three South Coastal communities that received FY2018 Coastal Resilience Grants: Mattapoisett on designs to replace a water main on a barrier beach between Pease’s Point and Point Connett that is frequently exposed following coastal storms; New Bedford to develop a detailed shoreline alternatives analysis and final engineering designs for an innovative beach nourishment and infrastructure protection project along West Rodney French Boulevard; and Wareham on designs to retrofit three of the town’s most vulnerable pump stations (Narrows, Hynes Field, and Cohasset Narrows) to be more resilient to coastal storms and sea level rise. CZM also participated in MVP Community Resilience Building Workshops in Marion, Mattapoisett, New Bedford, Rehoboth, Swansea, Wareham, and Westport. CZM continues to coordinate closely with both the Buzzards Bay and Narragansett Bay National Estuary Programs through participation on their Steering Committees and selection committees for Bay and Watershed Research Grants, Mini-Grants, and $4.5 million of EPA Southeast New England Coastal Watershed Restoration Program (SNEP) Grants. CZM also participated on the U.S. Coast Guard’s Port and Waterways Safety Assessment for Buzzards Bay and the Mass DEP’s Oil Spill Advisory Committee. CZM is working with the Buzzards Bay Coalition, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and Bourne, Marion, Plymouth, and Wareham on a regional wastewater management project. CZM regularly attends the meetings of the Buzzards Bay Action Committee to help facilitate CZM’s liaison function with coastal communities. Throughout the year, CZM provides technical assistance on state and federal grant programs including CZM’s Coastal Resilience and CPR Grants, MassDEP’s 604(b) Grants, EEA’s MVP Planning and Action Grants, and EPA’s SNEP Grants.

National Estuary Programs

CZM hosts and administers two National Estuary Programs (NEP)—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 2018 are included below.

Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program

Habitat and Water Quality Grants - In June, the Buzzards Bay NEP awarded $48,920 in federal funds for habitat restoration and water quality protection projects in the region. These Municipal Mini-Grants, funded by EPA, will be matched by $43,950 in municipal and private contributions and will support the NEP’s goals to reduce boat waste and address salt marsh die off in Buzzards Bay. These two grants were awarded:

  • Gosnold - $13,920 to purchase a stationary, self-service boat waste pumpout unit for the Cuttyhunk Vessel Pumpout Station, which will be made available at no cost to recreational boaters.
  • Dartmouth - $35,000 to perform a restoration study to determine the causes of deterioration in Cow Yards salt marsh, located at the mouth of the Little River in Dartmouth.

For more information, see the EEA Press Release.

Grant to Protect Wildlife Habitat - In December, the Buzzards Bay NEP awarded $35,000 in federal funds from EPA for habitat protection. Dartmouth received $35,000 to permanently protect 73 acres of undeveloped land fronting on Dike Creek. The property contains wetlands, saltmarsh, and upland forest, and is designated as habitat for rare species. The grant funding will be matched by $11,550 in private contributions and will support the NEP’s goals to protect water quality and habitat in Buzzards Bay. For more information, see the EEA Press Release.

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. These data were issued as technical reports to participating municipalities. 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 Global Positioning System (GPS) data is maintained in an NEP-administered Geographic Information System (GIS) 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.

Buzzards Bay/MMA Stormwater Partnership - In December, the Buzzards Bay NEP announced that it was expanding the Buzzards Bay Stormwater Collaborative through a new partnership with the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) to map municipal stormwater networks and monitor stormwater discharges. This initiative will begin in February and is funded by a $160,000 award from the Buzzards Bay NEP to MMA. Under the agreement, MMA will provide staff support and student interns to work with Buzzards Bay municipalities and the Buzzards Bay NEP under the guidance of NEP staff, with oversight of MMA faculty. The effort will involve students participating in the college’s Marine Science, Safety, and Environmental Protection program, together with four part-time work study students during the school year, and five full time interns during the summer. For more information about the effort, see Buzzards Bay NEP website.

Technical Assistance - The Buzzards Bay NEP continued to assist municipalities and other partners with development of local regulatory protection strategies, review of local projects, municipal MS4 stormwater permits, and design of stormwater treatment systems. The NEP provided more than 765 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 BBAC 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

Investigating Eelgrass Loss in Duxbury-Kingston-Plymouth Bays - Eelgrass (Zostera marina) provides one of the most valuable shallow water coastal habitats in Massachusetts, forming a complex underwater seascape that stabilizes the seafloor and adjacent shorelines, filters sediments and nutrients out of the water, and provides valuable habitat. Documented eelgrass losses in Duxbury-Kingston-Plymouth bays (up to 56% between 1995 and 2014, an additional 29% between 2014 and 2017) have spurred scientists and managers to investigate potential causes. MassBays secured funding from EPA and teamed up with DMF and the North and South Rivers Watershed Association to develop a protocol to document eelgrass extent and condition. Then, in August, they joined trained citizen scientists to head out on the water and test the method, collecting data from 250 locations. For more information, contact Prassede Vella at prassede.vella@mass.gov.

New Technology to Examine Eelgrass Loss in Duxbury-Kingston-Plymouth Bays - As part of the investigation into the causes of eelgrass loss in the Duxbury-Kingston-Plymouth area, MassBays partnered with SeaTrac Systems to deploy a self-driving vessel in June and again in August (during peak eelgrass growing season) to collect continuous, real-time, water quality data. SeaTrac’s vessel runs on a solar-powered engine system and water quality sensors were loaned to MassBays for the project by DMF. For more information, contact Prassede Vella at prassede.vella@mass.gov.

Healthy Estuaries Grants - In May, MassBays awarded $110,000 in federal funds from EPA to help towns and organizations improve ecosystem health in Ipswich Bay and Massachusetts Bay. The Healthy Estuaries Grants will be matched by $86,210 in municipal and private contributions and focus on supporting MassBays mission to protect, restore, and enhance the estuarine resources of the region. These five grants were awarded:

  • Ipswich River Watershed Association - $18,000 to advance restoration efforts in the Ipswich watershed, with a goal to prioritize projects that will improve streamflow and tidal exchange.
  • Massachusetts Oyster Project (MOP) - $15,545 to support MOP’s aquaculture and education efforts in Gloucester and at the Front Street Boatyard in Marblehead.
  • Mystic River Watershed Association - $33,000 to work with DCR, bordering cities, and local nonprofits to advance plans to re-establish salt marsh communities and improve tidal flow along Mill Creek in Chelsea and establish a marsh on an eroded beach at Draw Seven State Park in Somerville.
  • Salem State University - $27,715 to continue research to improve understanding of the connections between high phytoplankton levels, deteriorating water quality, and decreasing eelgrass habitat.
  • The Trustees of Reservations - $15,740 to demonstrate a new technique to reduce the negative impacts of past “ditching” on marsh habitat in the Parker River Estuary.

For more information, see the EEA Press Release.

Data Visualization Workshop - With funding from MassDEP and EPA, the Boston Harbor Ecosystem Network (convened by the MassBays Metro Boston region) hosted a professional development workshop at Northeastern University, presented by the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science Integration and Application Network. For more information on this workshop, including some useful online tools, go to this News@Northeastern article.

MassBays Receives EPA Exchange Network Grant - EPA’s Exchange Network funds efforts to improve state-level data management and archiving, using EPA databases like the Water Quality eXchange (WQX). In October, MassBays was awarded $200,000 to build capacity among citizen monitoring groups that contribute to baseline monitoring in the region. Over the next two years, MassBays and partners will produce a new online application for developing quality assurance project plans, hire a circuit rider to provide one-on-one technical support and host workshops, and facilitate data upload to WQX. Beginning in 2020 and into the future, MassBays will use the information gathered to build a visual report on the State of the Bays. For more information and to join the Citizen Monitoring Coordinators’ Network mailing list for future announcements, contact Pam DiBona at pamela.dibona@mass.gov.

MassBays Newsletter - Each quarterly issue of the MassBays email newsletter showcases research efforts, highlights new resources and publications from EPA and other partners, and features opportunities to learn about the region. See the MassBays website for archives and subscribe to receive the newsletter.

Staff & People

In looking back over the year, CZM says goodbye to a long time-team member, welcomes new staff (and existing staff in new roles), and thanks our dedicated interns.

CZM Director - In November, CZM Director Bruce Carlisle left CZM to become the Senior Director for Offshore Wind at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. Bruce had been with CZM for more than 24 years, starting in 1993 as an intern with the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program while researching and writing his Master’s thesis. From 1994 to 2003, he served as CZM’s Wetlands and Water Quality Specialist, working on technical and policy issues in the protection of the Commonwealth’s coastal and marine resources. Bruce also invested significant time and energy in applied research projects developing wetlands assessment methods and examining trends in coastal wetlands. In 2005, Bruce was named Assistant CZM Director and served as Acting Director in 2007 and again in 2010 before becoming Director in 2011. Through his CZM tenure, Bruce served with diligence, passion, and an unmatched capacity to do everything from policy development to GIS analysis to report writing and field research. CZM will surely miss his inside knowledge of the Massachusetts coast and such a wide range of coastal issues (as well as his booming voice throughout the office). Smooth sailing in you new position at MassCEC, Bruce!

Acting Director - With Bruce Carlisle’s departure, CZM Assistant Director Lisa Berry Engler became Acting Director. Lisa has served as Assistant Director for CZM since November 2017 and directs policy development, planning efforts, and technical approaches for the agency. Previously, Lisa served as CZM Boston Harbor Regional Coordinator, where she provided technical assistance and expertise on 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 NEP and worked within the DCR Areas of Critical Environmental Concern Program and the Department of Transportation.

Boston Harbor Regional Coordinator - In October, CZM welcomed Erikk Hokenson as the new Boston Harbor Regional Coordinator, covering the communities in the Metro-Boston area from Winthrop to Weymouth. In this role, he provides technical assistance to communities, coordinates local and regional initiatives, and performs project review with a specific focus on waterfront and port planning and management as well as climate resilience and shoreline/floodplain management. Erikk brought a range and depth of experience and skills in coastal planning to this position. For the last three years, he was a waterfront planner for the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), where he worked on various planning initiatives balancing public access, resilience to impacts of climate change, and economic development. Erikk also managed grant programs that sought to improve waterfront transportation and draw the public to waterfront destinations. Prior to the BPDA, Erikk spent two years working for Mass Development as an assistant project manager where he provided technical assistance to municipalities on urban planning and development.

Interns - CZM welcomed the following interns to help with various projects through the summer and fall:

  • GIS Intern - In May, CZM welcomed Erin Hasselgren as a GIS intern. Erin, a Geo-Information Science graduate student at Salem State University, is working to develop mobile applications for CZM’s Coast Guide Online web mapper.
  • BUAR ALIVE Intern - In June, BUAR welcomed Victor Cabrera as the 2018 ALIVE intern. ALIVE (Active Learning through Internship or Volunteer Experience) is a high school senior capstone project of the Match Charter Public High School in Boston. Victor assisted BUAR with various administrative and research tasks during this month-long program and he is now attending the University of Maine at Orono, where he plans to major in marine biology.
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