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CZ-Mail Year in Review - 2019

Published January 2020

Welcome to the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) year-in-review edition of CZ-Mail, which highlights CZM accomplishments for 2019, provides news and information about our programs and regions, and discusses some notable achievements of our partners. CZM would like to thank all of the people and organizations that contribute their time, effort, expertise, 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 2020.

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 (please be sure that the email is completely blank, with no signature line) to join-env-czmail@listserv.state.ma.us. Also, 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 2019 at CZM

CZM welcomed an entire new leadership team in 2019 and continued to focus on a range of coastal management priorities—with helping coastal communities address climate change and stormwater impacts topping the list. In March, Lisa Berry Engler was named CZM Director, and CZM's Project Review and Dredging Coordinator, Robert Boeri, was appointed to serve as Acting Assistant Director. In May, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton stepped down, and EEA Undersecretary of Climate Change Katie Theoharides was selected to serve as EEA Secretary. Finally, in September, CZM welcomed Tyler Soleau as CZM Assistant Director. In 2019, CZM grant programs supported local efforts to promote resilient coasts, protect water quality, and support healthy habitats. In September, CZM announced $2.4 million in funding for 21 new Coastal Resilience Grant projects to reduce risks associated with coastal storms, flooding, erosion, and sea level rise. Also through the Coastal Resilience Grant program, 19 projects funded last year were completed in 2019, representing $3.2 million in grant funds and $2.3 million in match. CZM also continued to support the EEA Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program, which awarded a new round of funding to communities to identify hazards and develop and implement strategies to improve resilience. To date, 73 of the 78 coastal communities are in line to receive an MVP designation. Through CZM’s Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Program, $500,000 in funding was awarded this year for five new on-the-ground municipal stormwater projects that reduce coastal water pollution and improve the health of coastal resources. Six CPR projects were also completed in 2019, representing $875,963 in CPR grant funding and more than $1 million in match. Other major CZM initiatives for 2019 focused on ocean planning, offshore wind energy, and harbor planning. CZM worked on behalf of EEA to implement the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan—and work is underway on the next five-year review to be completed in 2020. In addition, offshore wind planning continued with the selection of Mayflower Wind to develop an 800-megawatt wind energy project south of Nantucket. CZM worked on harbor planning activities with several coastal communities this year, including Beverly, Chelsea, Cohasset, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Gloucester, Lynn, New Bedford, Provincetown, Salem, and South Boston. Highlights of CZM’s 2019 efforts 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 2019 accomplishments for each CZM program area are listed below.

StormSmart Coasts - Managing Erosion and Flooding

CZM Coastal Resilience Grant Awards - In September, CZM awarded more than $2.4 million in funding through the Coastal Resilience Grant Program to advance 21 local projects to reduce risks associated with coastal storms, flooding, erosion, and sea level rise. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 grant awards are listed below. For additional details on these grant awards, see the EEA Press Release, and for more information on the Coastal Resilience Grant Program contact Patricia Bowie at patricia.bowie@mass.gov.

  • Braintree - $79,624 to complete the design of a coastal bank stabilization project at Watson Park and to advance permitting of the project.
  • Chatham - $51,666 to evaluate alternatives for reducing erosion along the mainland shoreline while improving habitat for threatened and endangered shorebirds. The project will focus on augmenting the shoals and tidal flats north of Tern Island to naturally protect the mainland shoreline from wave impacts and erosion.
  • Chatham, in partnership with the Pleasant Bay Alliance - $70,050 to assess salt marsh vulnerability in Pleasant Bay, develop a methodology for evaluating the suitability of potential approaches to prevent salt marsh loss, and design a pilot project to test the effectiveness of salt marsh protection through a nature-based approach.
  • Duxbury Beach Reservation, Inc. - $131,894 to design a comprehensive management approach and initiate permitting for activities that will increase resilience at vulnerable locations along Duxbury Beach.
  • Eastham - $149,014 to perform a vulnerability assessment of four critical, low-lying roadways to identify risks to public infrastructure and coastal resources located along the roadways and prioritize adaptation strategies with respect to future sea level rise and storm surge scenarios.
  • Essex County Greenbelt Association - $34,740 to conduct outreach with municipal partners in Gloucester and Essex on land conservation for flood storage and coastal resiliency.
  • Gloucester - $70,650 to conduct a feasibility assessment and prepare conceptual design alternatives for protecting the long-term function of its primary wastewater treatment plant from current and future flooding.
  • Hull - $118,936 to design and permit a dune restoration project with an accessible crossover ramp at A Street and Beach Avenue that closely matches the adjacent dune configurations to reduce flooding while providing public access to the beach. The project seeks to close a large, non-permitted path through the dune along Beach Avenue and continue public engagement efforts to involve year-round and seasonal residents in dune restoration, crossing design, and long-term plans to add sand to the dune.
  • Hull - $259,896 to prepare final design plans and permit applications for a combination of adaptation measures, including vegetated berms, flood gates, and low flood barrier walls, to improve the resilience of the town’s waste water treatment facility to flooding and sea level rise impacts.
  • Ipswich and The Trustees of Reservations - $163,732 to perform additional evaluations of adaptive roadway design alternatives that balance access, resiliency, and wetland health at Argilla Road and advance a preferred alternative to permit-level plans.
  • Kingston - $39,823 to continue to refine and implement monitoring and maintenance for a recently constructed living shoreline project at Gray’s Beach, including assessing the health of vegetation, surveying dune and beach heights, and managing invasive species to help ensure the living shoreline project successfully gets established and buffers coastal storms.
  • Marblehead - $93,545 to assess the vulnerability of municipally owned facilities and infrastructure in Marblehead Harbor to current and future flooding and sea level rise.
  • Marshfield and Duxbury - $175,842 to plan, design, and begin permitting activities for nourishment and dune enhancement projects at vulnerable coastal beaches along their east-facing shorelines.
  • Mattapoisett - $119,487 to complete planning and engineering design plans for the replacement of a vulnerable section of the Eel Pond sewer force main. The project proposes to horizontally directional drill the force main at a lower depth to help safeguard public health and safety and environmental resources.
  • Nantucket - $42,225 to prepare engineering plans and file permit applications for a project to stabilize and reduce wave impacts to a coastal bank at Sesachacha Pond along a vulnerable section of Polpis Road.
  • Oak Bluffs - $138,396 to study the effect of tides, waves, storm surge, and sediment movement along the harbor shoreline and develop conceptual shore protection strategies to enhance the stability of the barrier beach system, reduce wave impacts in the harbor, and minimize coastal flooding impacts to areas surrounding the harbor over the next 50 years.
  • Scituate - $203,820 to create a 50-year vision for the coastline through a robust public participation process to help set the stage for development of a 10-year action strategy.
  • Tisbury - $129,951 to develop an understanding of flooding and sediment transport along the Vineyard Haven shoreline to support a detailed analysis of potential shoreline management strategies.
  • The Trustees of Reservations - $82,000 to use their coastal properties as case studies to evaluate flooding and erosion vulnerabilities and potential adaptation strategies for barrier beaches, coastal banks, and publicly accessible shorelines.
  • Wareham - $151,140 to develop final engineering plans and complete permitting of a third, lined equalization lagoon to provide additional required capacity of the Water Pollution Control Facility during extreme rain events to reduce the potential for overtopping and sewer overflow to the Agawam River.
  • Wellfleet - $115,000 to partner with the adjacent towns of Provincetown, Truro, and Eastham to develop a comprehensive framework for managing approximately 35 miles of shoreline in a mutually beneficial manner. The project is a first step in addressing the complexities of inter-municipal shoreline management with the goals of maximizing and sustaining the resilience of Eastern Cape Cod Bay through effective management techniques and consistent responses to the increased threat of coastal storms and climate change.

Completed Coastal Resilience Projects - The 19 projects listed below were completed this year with the support of CZM and Coastal Resilience Grant funding from FY 2019. See the CZM Grant Viewer for award amounts and links to additional information. More than 40% of the total cost of the resilience projects was matched using local cash and the time of municipal staff, watershed groups, and other partners.

  • Braintree - Conducted a feasibility assessment and prepared conceptual design alternatives for stabilizing an eroded shoreline section at Watson Park on the Fore River.
  • Chatham - Evaluated inlet and tidal channel dynamics at Chatham Harbor/Pleasant Bay and conducted 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 - Coordinated on 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 - Finalized 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. - Constructed 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. See this June 4 DredgeWire article for details.
  • Gloucester - Evaluated flood vulnerability and designed a project to help protect the Gloucester High School building, athletic fields, parking areas, and neighborhood, which are vulnerable to coastal flood waters that overtop low-lying shoreline structures along the Annisquam River/Blynman Canal.
  • Hull - Developed 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 - Also replaced 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 - Developed design plans for nature-based approaches to help protect Argilla Road from increased flooding.
  • Ipswich - Also developed 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 - Enhanced Gray’s Beach Park with native salt marsh and dune vegetation and developed monitoring protocols to help ensure the continued establishment of the living shoreline project. For more information on this project, see Earth Day 2019: Working with nature to adapt to climate change.
  • Marion - Evaluated the vulnerability of wastewater pumping stations and related infrastructure to storm surge and sea level rise impacts and recommended improvements and future actions to reduce risk to the pumping stations.
  • Mattapoisett - Relocated a water main that traversed 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 - Created 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 - Designed and prepared 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 - Restored 0.75 acres of fringing salt marsh using coir rolls and native vegetation to provide increased protection from erosion, storm surge, and waves along the shoreline of Collins Cove. See the story map created by Salem Sound Coastwatch and this June 10 Salem News article for more.
  • Wareham - Installed mechanical sewer bypass connections at the Hynes and Cohasset Narrows pump stations to allow the pump stations to continue servicing critical infrastructure facilities in the event of a catastrophic flood event.
  • Wareham - Also determined 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 - Stabilized 360 linear feet of an eroding coastal bank along the bayside of Coughlin Park by nourishing the beach with cobbles, installing coir rolls, and planting native vegetation to reduce storm damages at the park and maintain access to the beach.

EEA Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Community Designations and Grant Awards - In June, 28 new coastal communities received Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program designations for completing planning activities that identified climate hazards and strategies to improve resilience. Currently, 74% of coastal communities are MVP designated. Fifteen additional coastal communities (Aquinnah, Danvers, Dartmouth, Dennis, Dighton, Fairhaven, Harwich, Marshfield, Mashpee, Milton, Norwell, Plymouth, Saugus, Seekonk, and Somerset) are actively working on MVP planning. Upon completion of the planning process in 2020, 73 of the 78 coastal communities will have received MVP designation. Also in June, EEA awarded MVP Action Grants to implement priority adaptation actions and 17 of these were awarded to coastal communities. CZM continues to support EEA’s administration of the MVP program and provide technical assistance to community planning and implementation projects. For more information on MVP planning and action, see the EEA Press Release.

Seawall Repair Awards - CZM continued to support EEA’s administration of the Dam and Seawall Repair or Removal Program, which was established in 2013 by the Massachusetts Legislature to promote public safety, public health, and ecological restoration. CZM assisted EEA in reviewing and selecting 14 projects for more than $10.2 million in grants, including three seawall repair and reconstruction projects in Plymouth, Quincy, and Salem. For details on these grant awards, see the EEA Press Release.

Resilient MA Action Team Launched - In August, the Baker-Polito Administration launched the Resilient MA Action Team (RMAT), an inter-agency team working to implement the State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan and improve resilience to climate change across state government. EEA and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency lead the RMAT, and it is staffed by Climate Change Coordinators from each Executive Office. CZM is a member of the RMAT and is supporting RMAT initiatives to explore development of climate resilience standards for state projects and grant programs. For more information, see the EEA Press Release.

StormSmart Coasts Outreach - Throughout 2019, 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 new web content and presentations at a variety of events, including:

  • Catalogue of Plants for Coastal Landscaping - CZM added Coastal Landscaping in Massachusetts - Plant Highlights and Images to the Coastal Landscaping website. The new section includes pages on grasses and perennials, shrubs and groundcovers, and trees with photographs, descriptions, and links to additional information.
  • Coastal Resilience Grants Information Sessions - Last spring, CZM held four information sessions for municipal officials and nonprofit partners on funding and technical assistance available through CZM’s Coastal Resilience Grant Program. Participants learned about eligible activities, program priorities, best available coastal flood risk data, and funded success stories, and had an opportunity to network, brainstorm, and get answers to advance coastal resilience project ideas.
  • Coastal Bank Erosion Workshops - CZM conducted workshops for the North Shore Conservation Commission Network, South Shore Climate Network, and Cape Cod Conservation Commission Network, as well as for New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission partners from across the country, to show where coastal bank losses have occurred along the Massachusetts shoreline over the last 30 years. The coastal bank erosion data presented at the workshops can be viewed on EEA’s ArcGIS online mapping portal.
  • Gulf of Maine 2050 International Symposium - CZM participated on a panel at the Gulf of Maine 2050 International Symposium to promote coastal resiliency efforts and opportunities around the region. CZM also presented a poster on a regional coastal resilience project promoting the application of living shoreline approaches to address erosion, flooding, and sea level rise.
  • Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions Conference - At the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commission’s Annual Environmental Conference in March , CZM led workshops with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and EEA on Land Subject to Coastal Storm Flowage performance standards, climate resilience, and the MVP program.
  • Nature-Based Shoreline Stabilization Webinar - In collaboration with Wilkinson Ecological Design, CZM presented Bioengineering Techniques for Shoreline Stabilization in Coastal Regions as part of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve’s Sustainable Shorelines Designs Webinar Series. The webinar on non-structural, nature-based solutions to stabilize coastal shorelines featured the CZM StormSmart Properties fact sheets as well as Massachusetts case studies.
  • Shorebird Conservation Workshop - CZM collaborated with the Coastal States Organization and Manomet on a workshop on restoring and enhancing beaches and wetlands for coastal resilience and shorebird habitat to help support the recovery of shorebird populations. See the Atlantic Flyway Shorebird Initiative for more information.
  • King Tide Reporting - The Museum of Science helped raise awareness about King Tides and promote the documentation of King Tide flooding in October using CZM’s MyCoast application. Over 200 reports of King Tide impacts were submitted.

Coastal Water Quality

Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Awards - In August, EEA announced $500,000 in funding through CZM’s Coastal Pollutant Remediation (CPR) Grant Program for projects to protect coastal water quality in Massachusetts. Since 1996, CPR has awarded more than $11 million to coastal watershed communities. The five projects funded for FY 2020 are listed below. These grants are being matched by $466,765 from municipal sources, further extending the power of the CPR grant program. For additional details on these grant awards, see the EEA Press Release. For more information on the CPR grant program and coastal water quality, contact Cristina Kennedy at cristina.kennedy@mass.gov.

  • Arlington - $135,000 to finalize designs and construct two bioretention basins and multiple infiltration trenches to treat stormwater runoff entering Alewife Brook, part of the Mystic River Watershed.
  • Barnstable - $155,538 to complete final design and install a green infrastructure project to treat stormwater runoff in the Three Bays watershed.
  • Kingston - $44,083 to finalize plans and complete permitting to retrofit existing stormwater green infrastructure to improve its resiliency to climate change impacts and treat pollutants entering the Jones River and Kingston Bay.
  • Sandwich - $92,000 to construct porous pavement and sand filters to treat bacteria and nutrients in stormwater as part of a multi-year effort to improve water quality, protect coastal habitat, and open shellfish harvesting areas in Sandwich Harbor.
  • Yarmouth - $73,380 to construct stormwater green infrastructure at a high priority location and develop final designs for a second site to target bacteria and nitrogen affecting water quality on Yarmouth’s southern coast.

Completed CPR Projects - The six projects completed in 2019 with Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant funding from FY 2019 are listed below (see the CZM Grant Viewer for details on funded projects).

  • Barnstable - Constructed green infrastructure, including a rain garden and sand filter, at two priority locations as part of a five year project targeting bacteria and nutrients in the Three Bays Watershed.
  • Milton - Constructed two rain gardens at the town police station, building on past CPR funding to improve water quality in the Neponset River Watershed.
  • Provincetown - Developed final designs for the fifth and final phase of a porous pavement project along Commercial Street to treat bacteria in stormwater entering Provincetown Harbor. The town and project partners received a 2019 Environmental Merit Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their work to target stormwater.
  • Salem - Constructed a rain garden with a biofiltration system and a grass swale to capture and treat stormwater from a large parking lot in Winter Island Park before it enters Salem Harbor. The Greenscapes North Shore Coalition produced a video on the project: Winter Island Rain Garden 2019.
  • Sandwich - Constructed stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) and developed designs for further work to target bacteria in stormwater affecting aquaculture resources in Sandwich Harbor.
  • Yarmouth - Constructed BMPs and developed designs to treat nitrogen and bacteria affecting coastal water quality in Lewis Bay.

COASTSWEEP 2019 - From August into November each year thousands of people in Massachusetts volunteer for COASTSWEEP—the statewide coastal cleanup sponsored by CZM. Although final 2019 cleanup results are still pending, preliminary reports show that 3,288 volunteers covered over 227 miles of coastline, river bank, marsh, seafloor, and lakeshore in Massachusetts—collecting more than 19 tons of debris from 167 sites. These numbers all represent an increase from 2018. CZM sends out heartfelt thanks to the thousands of volunteers who turned out for this year’s 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 2020 cleanups will begin in the spring. If you are interested in organizing a cleanup next year, send a blank email (completely blank, with no signature line) to join-env-coastsweep-coordinators@listserv.state.ma.us, and you will receive a reminder in June 2020 to register as a local coordinator. To receive reminders when the new cleanup lists are posted in August for 2020, send a blank email to join-env-coastsweep-volunteers@listserv.state.ma.us.

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

  • Wareham Wastewater Outfall - In coordination with the Coalition for Buzzards Bay, the Town of Wareham, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and MassDEP, CZM continued monitoring efforts to establish a baseline to support the relocation of the Wareham wastewater outfall from the Wareham River to the more well-flushed Cape Cod Canal.
  • Modeling of Embayment Flushing - CZM assisted the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Partnership (MassBays) with managing a project to model the flushing rate of more than 45 embayments from Provincetown to Salisbury.
  • Dissolved Oxygen Standards - CZM worked with MassDEP to establish the species of interest and the biological endpoints necessary to revise the dissolved oxygen standards for the Mt. Hope Bay and Taunton River estuary.
  • MWRA Monitoring - CZM participated in an ad hoc committee to support the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority Outfall Monitoring Science Advisory Panel in evaluating which parts of the existing MWRA monitoring program could be replaced to address issues and contaminants of emerging concern.
  • Grant for Water Quality Study in Salem Sound - CZM and MassBays received a $60,000 grant from EPA to continue a program to study the spatial and temporal variability in nutrients and pH in Salem Sound.
  • Massachusetts Shellfish Initiative - CZM participated in the Massachusetts Shellfish Initiative, a process to take public comment and produce a strategic plan for shellfish culture, harvest, and restoration, including the use of shellfish to improve water quality in estuaries.

Ocean Management

Massachusetts Ocean Acidification Commission Convenes - On November 8, the Massachusetts Ocean Acidification Commission held its first meeting at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. The Commission was established by Resolve H.4133 from the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture. The Commission’s charge is to: 1) identify the actual and potential effects of coastal and ocean acidification on commercially valuable marine species, 2) identify the scientific data and knowledge gaps that may hinder the Commonwealth’s ability to craft policy and other responses to coastal and ocean acidification, and 3) prioritize the strategies for filling those gaps to provide policies and tools to respond to the adverse effects of coastal and ocean acidification on commercially important fisheries and the Commonwealth’s shellfish aquaculture industry. The 19 commissioners include legislators, commercial fishermen and scientists appointed by the Governor, and the heads of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), MassDEP, and CZM. Ocean acidification, or a decrease in ocean pH, occurs as carbon dioxide from the atmosphere dissolves in the world’s oceans. The problem is exacerbated in coastal waters in Massachusetts due to increases in freshwater runoff from rivers and the input of nutrients from stormwater and wastewater. Recent research has shown that the marine waters from Cape Cod to Salisbury, part of the Gulf of Maine, are decreasing in pH and are more at risk to further pH decreases than marine waters in other parts of the world. The Commission will meet a minimum of three more times to review data and research, with a goal of making policy recommendations to legislators by the end of 2020.

Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan Survey - The Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan promotes sustainable use of state ocean waters and protects critical marine habitat and important water-dependent uses by setting siting and management standards for new ocean-based projects. The Oceans Act of 2008 requires that the plan—which was originally released by EEA in 2009 and updated in 2015—be reviewed at least once every five years. In April, a survey was conducted on the main management and science aspects of the ocean plan (including siting and management standards, designation of areas of important habitat and water-dependent uses, public participation, and research and science priorities). The survey was designed for managers, academia, nonprofits, recreational and commercial ocean users, and the interested public. Preliminary results were shared with the Ocean Advisory Commission and Science Advisory Council at their joint meeting in May. Results are being used to inform the ongoing review of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan.

Ocean Advisory Commission and Science Advisory Council - The Commonwealth’s Ocean Advisory Commission—which includes legislators; representatives from commercial fishing, environmental organizations, offshore renewable energy, and coastal regional planning agencies; and the heads of CZM, MassDEP, and DMF—is charged with assisting the EEA Secretary in developing and reviewing/updating the state’s ocean management plan. The Ocean Science Advisory Council 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. These two groups held a joint meeting in May to discuss the next Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan review. Under the 2008 Oceans Act, the plan must be reviewed at least once every five years. Other agenda items included: updates on offshore wind development, a proposed new telecommunications cable from Europe to Lynn, management and permitting plans for ocean aquaculture, a two-year collaborative agreement between CZM and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for seafloor mapping, results from the ocean plan public survey, and updates on regional ocean planning. At the meeting, DMF’s Kathryn Ford announced an initiative by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to fund fisheries research in wind energy lease areas (WEAs) off of Massachusetts and presented DMF’s fisheries and habitat research priorities for the WEAs.

Northeast Ocean Plan - In 2019, the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC) Ocean Planning Committee (OPC) continued to advance regional priorities for ocean planning and management following the 2018 federal Executive Order that dissolved all Regional Planning Bodies. The committee developed a Work Plan to guide its efforts to support offshore planning and management in 2019-2020. At a June 4 OPC meeting that focused on offshore wind development, updates were offered on the current status of offshore wind planning, leasing, and regulatory review, and details were provided to the OPC work groups on available data products for use throughout the region. NROC also continues to oversee the management of the Northeast Ocean Data Portal, and additional funding will enable the update of portal data as detailed in the Northeast Ocean Data Portal 2019 Work Plan. NROC will also continue to support the implementation of the Integrated Sentinel Monitoring Network’s (ISMN) Science Plan, a framework for monitoring ocean changes. In addition, with funding awarded to ISMN, the Center for Analysis, Prediction and Evaluation (CAPE) will be created to engage regional experts in short-term activities, enable integrated analysis across datasets, generate information products about the status of the Northeast region ecosystems, and address identified needs for ecosystem-based information and skills for federal and state agencies and other stakeholders. Lastly, NROC is also working with the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at University of California Santa Barbara to develop an Ocean Health Index (OHI) for the northeast. CZM participated in a series of NCEAS webinars and provided input on the quality of the OHI data sources.

Renewable Energy Task Force and Offshore Wind Updates - CZM worked with federal and state agencies and the public this year to review and comment on various offshore wind submittals. For Vineyard Wind, the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Final Environmental Impact Report certificate was issued in June, the §401 Water Quality Certification and Chapter 91 license from MassDEP were issued in August, and CZM began its federal consistency review of the Federal Environmental Impact Statement in June. Federal consistency is currently stayed while the Department of Interior conducts a cumulative impact study on the assemblage of offshore wind proposals between New York and Massachusetts. CZM has been working with Ørsted on its South Fork Wind, Bay State Wind, and Sunrise Wind projects. CZM has reviewed the Construction and Operations Plan for South Fork Wind and continues to work with Ørsted on seafloor and fisheries assessments for all three projects. As with Vineyard Wind, the federal permitting process for all of the Ørsted projects is paused while BOEM conducts a cumulative impact study. The Habitat Work Group on Offshore Wind Energy met in March, and work group members including scientists and technical experts from state and federal agencies, environmental organizations, and academia were provided updates from offshore wind energy developers. Attendees also discussed the agreement between environmental groups and Vineyard Wind to enhance protection of North Atlantic right whales during construction and future survey plans for marine mammals, sea turtles, and avifauna. The Fisheries Work Group on Offshore Wind Energy—which is comprised of commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, scientists, and state and federal agencies—met three times this year for updates on offshore wind, followed by discussions about ongoing studies (e.g., Massachusetts and Rhode Island port access routes), the recently established Gulf of Maine Task Force on Offshore Wind (which met for the first time in December), and planning for prioritized regional fisheries science studies funded by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.

BOEM Gulf of Maine Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force - On December 12, BOEM convened the first meeting of the Gulf of Maine Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force in Durham, New Hampshire. The Task Force was established to facilitate coordination and consultation between federal, state, local, and tribal governments related to renewable energy planning activities on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Maine. The purpose of the first meeting was to discuss the multi-jurisdictional coordination of BOEM’s renewable energy leasing process, share information on existing activities and conditions in the Gulf of Maine, provide updates on regional offshore wind goals and developer activities, and provide the opportunity for public and stakeholder input. More information about the Task Force is available on the BOEM website.

Offshore Wind Energy Procurement - In September, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) announced three bids that would be considered for the state’s next procurement of up to 800 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind energy. Submissions were received from Mayflower Wind (Shell New Energies), Vineyard Wind 2 (Avangrid Renewables), and Bay State Wind (Ørsted). In October, DOER, with assistance from three utilities (Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil), selected Mayflower Wind’s 804 MW proposal for a federal lease more than 20 miles south of Nantucket. Vineyard Wind I had previously won the first 800 MW procurement for an area south of Martha’s Vineyard.

Seafloor Mapping Initiative - In 2019, CZM and USGS published Shallow Geology, Sea-Floor Texture, and Physiographic Zones of the Inner Continental Shelf from Aquinnah to Wasque Point, Martha’s Vineyard, and Eel Point to Great Point, Nantucket, Massachusetts, which presents a series of interpretive maps that describe the geology, distribution, and texture of seafloor sediments, as well as landforms of the seafloor, along the south and west shores of Martha’s Vineyard and the north shore of Nantucket. These maps were created from previously released high-resolution geophysical data collected in 2013. This report was prepared as part of a cooperative mapping program between CZM and USGS, which began in 2003 and has mapped more than 2,403 square kilometers (928 square miles) of the Commonwealth’s coastal waters. Over the summer, USGS completed the 2019 Geologic Seafloor Mapping Cruise of Cape Cod Bay, the first-ever comprehensive, high-resolution geophysical survey of Cape Cod Bay and the first systematic bathymetric mapping of the entire bay since the 1930s. Researchers covered approximately 550 square kilometers of seafloor, finding sandy shoreface deposits, potential new fishing grounds, buried lakes, evidence for glaciotectonics (glacially induced deformations in the Earth’s crust), and even an uncharted shipwreck. For more information, see CZM’s Seafloor Mapping Program website and the USGS Geologic Mapping of the Massachusetts Seafloor website, or contact CZM’s Dan Sampson at daniel.sampson@mass.gov.

Gulf of Maine Council Awards - On July 10, the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment presented its annual awards, which included six awards to Massachusetts environmental leaders described below. For a complete list of winners and more information on the awards, see the Gulf of Maine Council website.

  • Dr. Sofie Van Parijs from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole and Dr. Leila Hatch from the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary received Visionary Awards for their research to understand underwater sound in the Gulf of Maine. For 10 years, they worked together from separate National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offices, producing information and publications on the marine acoustic environment. Their work helped with development of NOAA's Ocean Noise Strategy, research on Atlantic cod and North Atlantic right whales, and efforts to collect baseline noise conditions. As their research continues, they will work to develop new approaches to studying the dynamic sounds in the Gulf of Maine.
  • Don Palladino, President of Friends of Herring River, was given a Visionary Award in memoriam for his volunteer work with the Herring River Restoration Project in Wellfleet. The largest tidal restoration project in the Northeast, this project seeks to restore the 1,100-acre estuary, which was cut off from tidal flow over 100 years ago by a dike at the river’s mouth. In 2008, Don founded the nonprofit Friends of Herring River and worked to grow community support for river restoration by speaking directly with citizens—which led the Wellfleet Town Meeting to vote overwhelmingly to support the project in 2017. Under Don’s leadership, Friends of Herring River also raised over $8 million to support project planning, design, and permitting, and has contributed over $500,000 of in-kind match. Don served as President of Friends of Herring River from its founding in 2008 until his death in 2018. He was an inspirational leader who left a lasting legacy for Wellfleet and the entire Gulf of Maine.
  • Bruce Carlisle, former CZM Director, was awarded a Distinguished Service Award for his leadership as past Chair of the Council. Bruce helped to raise awareness and promote opportunities to share resources and tools to help Gulf of Maine communities to become resilient and sustainable in the face of climate change. Bruce’s expertise on regional challenges associated with sea level rise and climate change benefited coastal communities and managers at all levels.
  • Ann Rodney, formerly of EPA, received a Distinguished Service Award for her work as an active and effective member of the Council’s Working Group, sharing her insights and experience about outreach and education to help advance the Council’s work. Ann was a major contributor to the Gulf of Maine Council’s 25th Anniversary events, helping with the production of the publication Facing Change: Sustaining the Vitality of the Gulf of Maine Region (PDF, 4 MB).
  • Jack Schwartz, from DMF, was awarded a Distinguished Service Award for his many years of work with the Council’s Gulfwatch monitoring program and Working Group. Jack brought knowledge and thoughtful advice to the Gulf of Maine Council’s efforts to support sustainable fisheries in the Gulf of Maine watershed. He also helped raise awareness of emerging contaminants and promote solutions to key environmental problems related to water quality, habitat, and marine life.

Gulf of Maine Climate Resilience Conference - From November 4-8, the Gulf of Maine 2050 International Symposium, Challenges and Opportunities for Regional Resilience, was held in Portland, Maine. Organized jointly by the Gulf of Maine Council for the Marine Environment, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, and Huntsman Marine Science Center, the conference focused on the changes expected in the Gulf of Maine over the next 30 years with a goal to help develop ideas, next steps, and collaborations for climate resiliency throughout the region. The conference was well attended by scientists, managers, and others from various industry sectors. Valuable input was gathered during the afternoon working sessions that will inform management actions and potential research to address impacts of increased storms and precipitation, sea level rise, coastal and ocean acidification, and increased sea surface temperatures. Additional information, including scientific scenario papers developed to inform the interdisciplinary work and discussion at the symposium, are available on the GOM 2050 Symposium website.

Coastal Habitat

Marine Invasive Species Monitoring Program Updates - Every summer, citizen scientists are on the hunt for marine invasive species as part of the Marine Invasive Monitoring and Information Collaborative (MIMIC), a partnership between state, federal, and nonprofit organizations coordinated by CZM. Since 2006, hundreds of trained MIMIC volunteers have searched for marine invasive species at more than 130 sites from Rhode Island to Maine. This year, CZM updated the MIMIC program to incorporate new species and provide current information to volunteers and the public. In January 2019, CZM launched the Marine Invasive Monitoring in New England Story Map, an interactive map that allows users to explore MIMIC data. The new story map includes: an introduction to MIMIC; photos, descriptions, and links to identification cards for monitored species; interactive maps of species observations over time and monitoring sites; and more on how data was collected, project partners, links to additional resources, and MIMIC contact information. In July 2019, CZM released an updated set of identification cards that provide information on 18 established invasive species monitored by MIMIC. Each card covers a species type, including tunicates, bryozoans, crustaceans, anemones, bivalves, and seaweeds. The front of each card provides identification information and some natural history background, and the back describes similar-looking native and invasive species. The new cards were developed for use by trained MIMIC volunteers, but can also be used by anyone interested in identifying invasives and some common native species. To view the story map and identification cards, and learn more about MIMIC visit CZM’s MIMIC Program Page. For questions on CZM’s Marine Invasive Species Program contact Cristina Kennedy, at cristina.kennedy@mass.gov.

Using DNA Analysis to Identify Non-Native Species During Rapid Assessment Surveys - A report by researchers from Clarkson University, DNA Barcoding of Polychaetes Collected During the 2018 Rapid Assessment Survey of Floating Dock Communities from New England, describes how DNA barcoding, or use of a single gene to identify species, can be effective, cheaper, and less time consuming that traditional identification methods. The study was conducted on polychaetes collected from docks in New England during the 2018 Rapid Assessment Survey of Marine Invasive Species organized by CZM.

Wetlands Updates - CZM continues to advance long-term efforts to collect critical data, review current scientific research, coordinate with stakeholders, and develop geospatial tools to improve understanding of the threats facing tidal marshes. As co-lead of the Massachusetts Ecological Climate Adaptation Network’s Salt Marsh Working Group, CZM, along with UMass Amherst, is working with scientists and managers to tackle complex issues surrounding salt marshes and climate change. CZM has recently been awarded a two-year Wetland Program Development Grant from EPA to continue the generation of long-term data sets at salt marsh sentinel sites (long-term monitoring stations) across Massachusetts. A number of exciting geospatial tools are in development, including the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM) Viewer, which will allow users to explore model results for wetland change over several sea level rise scenarios and time steps. In addition, CZM has begun a salt marsh project with the U.S. Geological Survey Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center to develop and apply a vulnerability metric—the unvegetated-vegetated marsh ratio (UVVR)—to all salt marshes in Massachusetts. For more information, contact CZM’s Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Manager, Adrienne Pappal, at adrienne.pappal@mass.gov.

NOAA Fellowship Project Completed - As part of a 2017-2019 NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship project, CZM completed a vulnerability assessment of the Sandy Neck Barrier Beach System Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). The assessment investigated the current and future impacts of factors such as nonpoint source pollution, development pressure, invasive species, and sea level rise on critical coastal habitats in the ACEC. Site-specific data collection and analysis, including an assessment of stream crossings impacting the watersheds of the ACEC and field data collection on salt marsh condition, were used to investigate the vulnerability of different habitats. A technical advisory committee including staff from the Department of Recreation and Conservation (DCR) and the Division of Ecological Restoration, continually informed the project. Throughout 2019, CZM presented on aspects of the project at multiple local and national meetings, including a Sandy Neck Symposium. The final products of this project include a report on stream crossings to inform restoration prioritization (PDF, 25 MB), an ESRI 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 habitat resilience of the ACEC. For more information on this project, contact Coastal Habitat Specialist Sean Duffey at sean.duffey@mass.gov.

Data and Information Management

Coastal GeoTools 2019 - From February 11-14, Coastal GeoTools 2019 was held in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and focused on geospatial and technical information needs of coastal management programs with sessions on flood risk and protection, mapping benthic habitats, coastal bathymetry, tools for risk management, hurricane forecasting, and more. CZM presented at the conference. Samantha Coccia-Schillo presented a new analysis of the state-designated important fish resources areas that better informs ocean management decision making (PDF, 2 MB), and Sean Duffey discussed how a story map can be a useful interactive tool for communicating climate change vulnerabilities in coastal habitats (PDF, 7 MB).

New Coastal Trails Map for Coast Guide Online - Coast Guide Online was updated to include a map of public access sites that contain trails, walkways, or harbor walks. Developed by CZM for use on mobile phones, tablets, and desktop computers, Coast Guide Online is an interactive mapping tool that features more than 1,900 sites along the Massachusetts coast that are owned by government agencies and nonprofits and open to the public—including sandy beaches, shore-side parks, rocky shorelines, small rights-of-way, public landings, and more. Users can zoom in to view sites and click pop-up boxes displaying the site name, manager/owner, links to additional information, and a photo (if available). To get started, see Coast Guide Online—Launch and Go.

CZM Grant Viewer 2019 Updates - The CZM Grant Viewer has been updated to include data from the latest grants awarded in 2019. This online mapping tool allow users to explore grants awarded through CZM’s Coastal Resilience Grant Program and Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Program, Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program grants and funding, and Massachusetts Bays Healthy Estuaries Grants. The viewer’s interactive map can be used 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, and year that the grants were awarded.

Port and Harbor Planning

Local Planning Efforts - A number of communities continue to develop harbor management plans in 2019, as summarized by region below. For more information about CZM’s harbor planning efforts, contact the CZM Regional Coordinators.

  • North Shore - CZM completed work with Beverly on their draft of a comprehensive harbor plan for Beverly Harbor and the Bass River areas, which focuses on meeting development priorities while protecting environmental resources, improving coastal resilience, and providing enhanced public access to the waterfront. The current draft of the Beverly Harbor and Waterfront Plan was completed in July. CZM provided technical assistance to Salem as they drafted their Request for Responses to update the existing 2008 Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP) and Designated Port Area (DPA) Master Plan, and work on the planning process for the update is expected to begin early in 2020. CZM will continue to work closely with Salem as they assess progress toward the goals of the 2008 plan and examine new opportunities for the waterfront, with an expanded harbor planning area and a particular focus on the DPA portion of the planning area. CZM continued to provide technical assistance to Lynn on the development of their Open Space Plan and the updated Waterfront Master Plan, which were both approved by the Lynn City Council during the summer. CZM worked with Lynn to develop and prepare a renewal and amendment for the existing 2010 Lynn MHP and DPA Master Plan (Plan) to implement the goals of the Open Space and Waterfront master planning efforts. Lynn expects to submit the Plan to EEA for review soon. CZM also began working with the Gloucester Planning Department to provide guidance as the city begins to plan an update to their 2014 Gloucester Harbor MHP and DPA Master Plan.
  • Boston Harbor - CZM supported the on-going development of an MHP and DPA Master Plan for the Chelsea Creek waterfront by the City of Chelsea, which received funding from 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 2018. CZM also co-chaired an advisory committee with MassDEP to inform the development and review of the final Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park Master Plan Update, a Marine Industrial Park master plan that will advance the continued growth of water-dependent industry in the South Boston DPA.
  • South Shore - CZM provided technical assistance to Cohasset in the development of a Cohasset MHP, which is being funded through an $80,000 grant from the Seaport Economic Council.
  • Cape Cod and Islands - The EEA Secretary issued the Decision on the Town of Provincetown’s Request for Approval of the Provincetown Harbor Management Plan Renewal and Amendment 2019 Pursuant to 301 CMR 23.00 (PDF, 7 MB) in April, which builds on and advances the planning principles and priorities of previous Provincetown harbor planning efforts, as well as approves substitutions at two locations within the harbor planning area.
  • South Coastal - In early 2019, CZM completed participation in Dartmouth’s local Padanaram Harbor Management Plan, which was officially adopted by the town in May. CZM also worked with New Bedford and Fairhaven on a fifth, one-year extension of the joint state-approved MHP, originally approved in 2010. CZM worked with the New Bedford Port Authority to consider conducting a vulnerability analysis of the New Bedford/Fairhaven Designated Port Area infrastructure. The two municipalities are currently seeking funding for this vulnerability analysis. Late in 2019, CZM, in its role as a member of the MassDEP State Enhanced Remedy Advisory Committee, began working with the New Bedford Port Authority on the Phase V navigational dredging project. Planning, approval, and implementation of this dredging project will continue throughout 2020 and beyond.

Project Review

MEPA Review - The following are a sampling of projects that were reviewed by CZM under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) process:

  • Baxter Road and Siasconset Bluff Stabilization Project - CZM provided comments on the Notice of Project Change (NPC) for the project involving the expansion of the existing 947-foot-long geotube system on the coastal bank in the Siasconset area of Nantucket. The work involves construction of four tiers of 45-foot circumference geotextile tubes to protect approximately 767 linear feet of bluff to the north and approximately 1,916 linear feet to the south of the existing project. Denuded portions of the bluff face will be vegetated with American beach grass and other native vegetation. A sand mitigation program is proposed to mitigate for the armoring of the bank, which is a sediment source, and beach profile monitoring is proposed to assess the performance of the project and need for further mitigation. According to the NPC, the project will alter approximately 2,683 linear feet of coastal bank, permanently alter approximately 104,860 square feet of coastal beach for installation of the geotextile tubes, and temporarily alter 105,000 square feet of the beach for the water trench to be constructed seaward of the tubes to allow for tube installation.
  • Amitié Submarine Cable System - CZM reviewed and commented on the Expanded Environmental Notification Form submitted by Amitié to install a fiber-optic telecommunications Submarine Cable System linking the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. The length of cable in U.S. waters is approximately 200 miles, of which approximately 29.4 miles will be placed in Massachusetts waters. The project would cross the municipalities of Rockport, Gloucester, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Beverly, Salem, Marblehead, Swampscott, and Lynn with a cable 1-1.5 inches in diameter at a target burial depth of four to six feet below the seafloor. The preferred landfall is at Lynn via an existing 0.8-mile horizontal directional drilling conduit that connects to a manhole in the median of the Lynnway/Nahant Road/Lynn Shore Drive traffic circle.
  • West Beach Nourishment - CZM reviewed the Expanded Environmental Notification Form and supported the proposed project to construct a 3,830-foot-long beach nourishment project seaward of an existing seawall along West Rodney French Boulevard in New Bedford that protects the road as well as the main sewer line that conveys the city’s wastewater to the treatment facility located at the end of the peninsula at Fort Rodman. The existing seawall was substantially damaged during the 1938 Hurricane and rebuilt afterward. The area was nourished in 1958 and 1977. Continued erosion over time has lowered the beach and exposed the toe of the seawall and caused concerns with the seawall’s ability to protect the road and sewer line infrastructure directly behind the road. Should significant damage occur to the main sewer line, wastewater service to the entire city would be jeopardized. To increase the longevity of the nourished sand, the project will include approximately eleven T-head groins to act as breakwaters that will reduce the wave energy hitting the nourished beach and the existing seawall. The footprint of the T-head groins will be approximately 24,271 square feet. To mitigate the resource area impacts of these new structures, portions of five existing groins (with an estimated area of approximately 25,577 square feet) will be removed in the project area. The T-head groins also help reduce impacts on eelgrass resources located seaward of the proposed project.
  • Vineyard Wind Connector - CZM completed its review of the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the Vineyard Wind Connector, a proposal to install two 10-inch diameter 220 kV AC offshore export cables from the federally designated Wind Energy Area off Massachusetts to the existing electrical grid on Cape Cod. The Vineyard Wind Connector is part of a larger project that seeks to permit an 800-megawatt offshore wind farm under the jurisdiction of BOEM. Major elements of the total project include a wind turbine array, offshore electrical service platforms, offshore electrical transmission to shore, onshore underground transmission, and an onshore substation. The FEIR maintains two alternative offshore export cable corridors (a Western route and an Eastern route) that can make landfall at one of two potential sites: the preferred location at Covell’s Beach in Barnstable and the alternative at New Hampshire Avenue in Yarmouth. Each proposed cable construction corridor may be up to 810 meters wide. The Western corridor to Covell’s Beach would pass through 20.9 miles of state waters, and the Eastern corridor would pass through 22.6 miles of state waters. The New Hampshire Avenue alternative would pass through 21.4 miles for the Western corridor and 23.3 miles for the Eastern corridor. Both proposed cable routes through Nantucket Sound include sections within federal waters in the center of the sound. The cables will be buried approximately 1.5 to 2.4 meters below the seafloor and laid with a combination of hydroplowing (through flat, soft sediments), jetting (through small sand waves), suction dredging (through large sand waves), and mechanical dredging (through compacted sand/gravel/cobble). Dense aggregations of boulders will be avoided while solitary boulders may be removed from the cable pathway and placed in another location within the construction corridor. CZM is also conducting the federal consistency review of this project.
  • Suffolk Downs Redevelopment - CZM reviewed and provided comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the proposed Master Plan for the redevelopment of the existing Suffolk Downs site in Boston and Revere. The site includes approximately 161 acres (109 acres in Boston, 52 acres in Revere). Currently, the existing site includes a one-mile-long oval horse race track, a vacant administration building, clubhouse, grandstand, maintenance buildings, horse barns, and supporting space for staff, as well as roadways and parking areas. Sales Creek runs through the project site along the municipal border between Boston and Revere, from the northwest corner of the site through the northern portion of the race track infield to east of the project site, where it connects portions of the Revere watershed to the Belle Isle Marsh. Both Sales Creek and the Belle Isle Marsh are within the Rumney Marshes Area of Critical Environmental Concern. The site also includes a manmade pond and other resource areas. The project will permanently alter 3,495,000 square feet (approximately 80 acres) of Land Subject to Coastal Storm Flowage. The Master Plan proposes approximately 11 million square feet of development in Boston, and 5.5 million square feet of development in Revere, which will include a mix of commercial, residential, retail, and business spaces, as well as publicly accessible open space. Forty acres of the site are proposed to be developed and maintained as open space, with both active and passive recreation areas, including incorporation of the existing wetland areas on site.
  • Cold Brook Ecological Restoration Project - CZM reviewed and provided comments for the ENF for the project to restore wetland and stream habitat on approximately 49 acres of retired commercial cranberry bogs in Harwich. The project would also reduce nitrogen loads from the property through reconstruction of a sinuous stream channel, in-channel pond construction, and revegetation along wetland surfaces to slow surface water flow.  The project proposed to address legacy agricultural impacts, restore ecological processes, improve aquatic habitat, reduce nitrogen loads to Saquatucket Harbor, and establish conditions for a self-sustaining and healthy ecosystem within the Cold Brook watershed.

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. In 2019, CZM reviewed and issued determinations on over 100 projects. CZM issued federal consistency concurrences on projects including the Coughlin Park Shoreline Restoration project in Winthrop, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation South Coast Rail Project Phase I in New Bedford/Fall River, the Town of Truro Pamet Harbor Dredging project, the Cow Bay Road Bridge and Causeway Repair project in Edgartown, the federal funding of the Town Farm Road Preservation Parcel purchase in Ipswich, the Harbor Electric Energy Co. Cable Removal project in Boston Harbor, the Charlestown Marina Pier 6 Rehabilitation and Reconstruction in Charlestown, the Town of Duxbury Seawall Replacement project, and the Atlantic Bridge Project-Weymouth Compressor Station in Weymouth. As part of CZM’s federal consistency review of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, a concurrence was issued for one permit renewal, the Boston Sand and Gravel Company’s discharge in Charlestown. CZM also worked with the U.S. Department of the Navy to review and issue a concurrence for the Uniform National Discharge Standards Program for Phase II Batch Two Discharges. In Phase II, EPA and the U.S. Department of Defense are jointly promulgating performance standards for discharges from military vessels into U.S. waters. CZM, working with NOAA, reviewed and issued concurrences for the Programmatic Environmental Assessment of Field Operations in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the Hydrographic Survey of 3 NM East of Cape Cod. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) project that was proposed for the maintenance dredging of the Annisquam River federal channel in Gloucester was also found to be consistent, as was the maintenance dredging of Cuttyhunk Harbor’s federal channel in Gosnold. CZM also issued a federal consistency concurrence to USACE after reviewing the Major Rehabilitation Evaluation Report and accompanying Draft Environmental Assessment for the Cape Cod Canal Bridges, Cape Cod Canal Federal Navigation Project in Bourne. CZM coordinated with the U.S. Coast Guard to issue a concurrence for the Communications Tower Removal project on Reservation Terrace in Newburyport. This project involved the removal of a 100-foot communications tower as it is no longer operationally necessary. Demolition of the tower requires the removal of the tower, foundations, fences, and associated equipment. Finally, CZM reviewed and issued a concurrence for the designation of the Isles of Shoals North Ocean Disposal Site, located in the waters of New Hampshire. EPA is proposing to designate Isles of Shoals North, an area in federal waters, for the purpose of dumping dredge material, primarily collected from navigational channels along the Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine coasts. The estimated total disposal volume is 1.5 million cubic yards over 20 years from approximately 18 disposal events between Cape Porpoise Harbor, Maine, and Essex River, Massachusetts. The material will be primarily fine-grained silts and clays that are not suitable for beneficial use options and must conform to Ocean Dumping Regulations.

2019 Navigational Dredging Grants Program - CZM coordinated with the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development to complete the 2019 round of the Massachusetts Dredging Program, the Commonwealth’s first standalone grant program to offer focused funding for saltwater dredging on a competitive, annual basis. The goal of this program is to prepare coastal communities for success by investing in dredging projects that support the long-term strength and sustainability of the Commonwealth’s blue economy. Projects were evaluated based on readiness, direct economic impact, and local match. Awards for 2019 were made to Beverly, Chatham, Dennis, Gloucester, Hingham, and Nantucket.

Underwater Archaeological Resources

BUAR Leadership Transition and New Membership - This year was marked by a significant leadership transition for the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources (BUAR), as its Chief Archaeologist and Director, Victor Mastone, retired in April after 32 years of service to the Commonwealth and was succeeded in May by David S. Robinson.

  • Victor Mastone - Vic joined BUAR as the first staff archaeologist in 1987 and helped shape the board in a number of important and lasting ways. Vic’s accomplishments include the establishment of the state's first underwater archaeological preserve, revision and simplification of BUAR regulations, development of a variety of policy guidance documents made available online for public use, and creation and implementation of innovative outreach/educational programming. In addition to his work directing BUAR, Vic was also active in the leadership of multiple regional, national, and international professional and avocational archaeological societies, and co-organized/co-chaired many annual forums, symposia, and conferences. He also contributed to the nomination of Stellwagen Bank as a National Marine Sanctuary and served on NOAA’s Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee and Ocean Exploration Grant Application Review Committee.
  • David S. Robinson - David joined BUAR in May and is excited to direct the next chapter of BUAR in its mission to identify, preserve, and interpret the Commonwealth’s underwater cultural heritage and non-renewable public resources for the recreational, economic, environmental, and historical benefit of its citizens. Since 2001, David has been one of the most active marine archaeological researchers in Massachusetts. He was a frequent BUAR permittee and served as Principal Investigator on several of the largest marine archaeological investigations conducted to date in the Commonwealth. David also served two consecutive terms as the maritime heritage representative on the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, and, more recently, was, like Vic, the cultural resources representative on the NOAA Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. David brings more than 28 years of regional and international submerged cultural resource management and public education experience to BUAR and CZM. He was previously a marine archaeologist at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography and President and CEO of his own marine archaeological consulting firm.
  • BUAR Membership - In September, Mark McClanan was appointed by Governor Baker to serve on the board as a new representative of the Commonwealth’s recreational diving community. Mark is an active diver with broad underwater experience and multiple certifications in a variety of diving specialties. Welcome aboard and thank you for your service to BUAR, Mark!

Maritime Heritage Presentations and Programs - BUAR gave five public and professional presentations on maritime heritage-related topics and participated in multiple meetings and programs throughout Massachusetts this year. Lecture topics included Massachusetts shipwrecks and southern New England’s submerged paleocultural landscapes. Presentations were given during National American Indian Heritage Month at the NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Office in Gloucester, as well as during Massachusetts Archaeology Month at the Robert S. Peabody Institute of Archaeology at Philips Academy in Andover, the Robbins Museum of Archaeology in Middleborough, and the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park in New Bedford. BUAR  participated in on-site meetings in Plymouth with representatives from the Tribal Historic Preservation Offices of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), in Quincy and Gloucester with the Bay State Council of Divers, at the Waquoit Bay National Estuary Research Reserve in East Falmouth with staff of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) and diving veterans from the Tactical Reintegration Project, in Turners Falls with members of the Battle of Great Falls/Wissatinnewag-Peskeopmskut Mapping Project Advisory Committee, in Aquinnah and Chilmark with the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah’s) Tribal Historic Preservation Office staff, and in Boston with the WHOI’s marine archaeological research staff to discuss opportunities for future collaboration in research and public education and outreach.

Awards - On October 18, David S. Robinson, accepted the Eva Butler Scholar Award from the Exeter, Rhode Island-based Tomaquag Museum. The award was presented to David at the museum’s Annual Honoring Ceremony and Cultural Showcase held at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, where David was also recognized by Rhode Island Governor Raimondo and United States Congressmen Langevin, Reed, and Whitehouse “for his commitment to Native American-led research in marine archaeology to share the history of the Indigenous communities of Southern New England.” For the past 18 years, David has worked with Tribes of the region as an advocate for the recognition, identification, and protection of submerged paleocultural landscapes and archaeological sites at risk of damage or destruction from impacts related to offshore activities. As part of this work, he has engaged Tribal communities and built relationships and capacity between Tribes, federal and state agencies, and the scientific community to better enable successful collaboration. The Tomaquag Museum is Rhode Island’s only Indigenous museum dedicated to sharing Native culture, arts, and history from a first-person perspective. For more information, see the museum website. Congratulations David!

Unusual Catches Day - On March 2, the third annual Unusual Catches Day was sponsored by and held at the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center in New Bedford. Maritime archeologists, including the BUAR’s current and former Directors, David Robinson and Vic Mastone, were on hand to examine the unusual items that commercial fishermen have pulled up in nets and dredges. Among the more unique items recovered was an ancient mastodon tooth, dating from 12,000 to 24,000 years ago when sea levels were significantly lower and the continental shelf off Massachusetts was exposed land.

Field Investigations - In 2019, BUAR undertook limited field investigations or provided technical expertise on several underwater and intertidal archaeological sites located in Boston, East Falmouth, Edgartown, Hyannis, Ipswich, Marshfield, Mashpee, Middleborough, New Bedford, Plymouth, Stellwagen Bank, Turners Falls, and Worcester. The sites were situated in coastal and inland waters, and included unusual finds made by local fishermen and residents walking and boating along the shore, as well as federal, state, and Tribal agency representatives and marine surveyors.

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. The 2019 accomplishments for each CZM 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 2019, CZM provided guidance and technical assistance to Ipswich, Gloucester, and Salem for FY 2019 Coastal Resilience Grant projects, as well as for a joint project with Ipswich and the Trustees. These projects were completed by the end of June. CZM also worked with municipal officials to develop project ideas for the FY 2020 grant round—resulting in four awards on the North Shore and a joint project with the Cape Cod and Islands region. CZM, in partnership with Salem State University, coordinated a grants workshop on March 19 for municipal officials on funding opportunities available through CZM’s Coastal Resilience and Coastal Pollutant Remediation grants, and EEA’s MVP program. CZM is currently involved with the following projects: working with Gloucester on a feasibility and alternatives analysis of engineering solutions to ensure the uninterrupted service of its primary wastewater treatment plant from current and future flooding; assisting Ipswich and The Trustees to perform additional evaluations for a second phase of adaptive roadway design alternatives that balance access, resiliency, and wetland health while increasing road elevations at Argilla Road near Crane Beach; providing technical assistance to Marblehead as they assess the vulnerability of municipally owned facilities and infrastructure in Marblehead Harbor to current and future flood impacts; and working with Greenbelt as they conduct outreach and education on land conservation and coastal resiliency with municipal partners in Essex and Gloucester. In addition, CZM is working with The Trustees on the publicly accessible shoreline portion of their Coastal Resilience Grant project, which will use their coastal properties as case studies to evaluate flooding and erosion vulnerabilities and potential adaptation strategies for barrier beaches, coastal banks, and publicly accessible shorelines. CZM provided technical assistance as needed for MVP Planning Grants and MVP Action Grants for the North Shore region. CZM also 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, and in the North Shore Coastal Coalition, providing support for a regional approach to resilience. In November, CZM worked with partners from the Great Marsh Coalition to provide a series of field trips and site visits to highlight the extensive work in the Great Marsh to improve resilience of the marsh and its communities. CZM continues to partner with members of the Parker Ipswich Essex Rivers Restoration Partnership team (PIE Rivers) to work toward protection and better awareness of the importance of these watersheds to the health and resilience of the Great Marsh. In 2019, CZM joined the steering committee for the PIE Rivers team, working specifically on the land use planning sub-committee. CZM also continues to coordinate the North Shore Regional Conservation Commission Network listserv, which links more than 50 local community staff and commission members for collaboration and problem solving and provides timely information on coastal issues, training opportunities, and grant postings. CZM also partnered with the MassDEP Northeast Regional Circuit Rider this year to provide three training opportunities for North Shore Conservation Commission members and staff.

Boston Harbor (Winthrop to Weymouth) - CZM supported Coastal Resilience Grant projects in Braintree, Chelsea, Everett, and Winthrop. In Braintree, CZM assisted with a feasibility assessment and preparation of conceptual design alternatives for stabilizing the eroded shoreline at Watson Park on the Fore River. An FY 2020 Coastal Resilience Grant will support the development and permitting of the preferred alternative. 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 FY 2018 and FY 2019 MVP Action Grants, including Boston, Weymouth, and Winthrop. MVP Action Grants in Boston and Winthrop are for activities that will promote the resilience of critical recreational parks to the impacts of climate change. CZM has continued to provide technical assistance to Quincy and Weymouth for efforts to repair and maintain critical coastal engineering structures that were damaged in the winter storms of 2018. CZM also represented EEA on the Fort Point Channel Operations Board and provided 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 2020.

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 continued to partner with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, MassBays, MassAudubon, 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. As part of this regional initiative, a full-day symposium was held to present an overview of current research on climate change and its impacts and provide case studies of local climate change initiatives, including funding and opportunities for stormwater management, buyout and relocation strategies, impacts on coastal property values, and emergency preparedness and resiliency in the energy industry. This South Shore Climate Change Symposium was attended by more than 150 municipal staff, local boards, commissions, elected officials, legislators, nonprofit organizations, utilities, regional planning agencies, and area residents. In November, CZM provided a presentation and interactive discussion on climate change and costal impacts as part of the new MassAudubon Climate Café: Living Along the Coast series. CZM also took part in the sixth 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 using the online NOAA Sea Level Rise Viewer. CZM provided technical and coordination assistance for Coastal Resilience Grants awarded to the Duxbury Bay Reservation, Inc., Duxbury, Hull, Kingston, Scituate, and Marshfield. CZM coordinated and provided technical assistance for a CPR Grant project in Kingston and participated in stakeholder workshops for the Hull and Norwell MVP programs. Finally, CZM continued ongoing investigations of post-restoration ecology of Straits Pond in Cohasset, Hingham, and Hull.

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 began working with representatives from Chatham, Eastham, Nantucket, Oak Bluffs, Provincetown, Tisbury, Truro, and Wellfleet to implement Coastal Resilience Grant projects funded in the FY 2020 grant round. CZM served on the newly established Barnstable County Coastal Committee, which helps coordinate state, local, and county coastal management initiatives. CZM worked closely with the Barnstable County Dredge Program (BCDP) to improve and expand the program with the addition of a new dredge, the hiring of additional staff, and an expanded project schedule. CZM works as a liaison between the BCDP and state and federal permitting agencies. In this role, CZM facilitated meetings between Chatham and the permitting agencies to support emergency dredge permits for Chatham Harbor. CZM worked closely with conservation commissions throughout the region and helped coordinate 10 meetings of the Cape and Islands Conservation Commission Network. CZM provided project-specific technical assistance to conservation commissions in the towns of Brewster, Chatham, Chilmark, Dennis, Harwich, Nantucket, Oak Bluffs, Provincetown, Tisbury, Wellfleet, and Yarmouth. 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. CZM served on the Pleasant Bay Alliance Coastal Processes work group and helped the Alliance create a grant proposal to assess saltmarsh resources in Pleasant Bay and to design living shoreline pilot project to protect saltmarsh resources. The project was selected for funding in the FY 2020 Coastal Resilience Grant round. CZM co-sponsored the 2019 Nantucket Coastal Conference on June 26, which included presentations on coastal resilience, sea level rise, ocean acidification, storm flooding, water quality, and erosion and had more than 100 people in attendance. Presentations are available on the Wood Hole Sea Grant website.

South Coastal (Wareham to Seekonk) - CZM worked closely with these three South Coastal communities that received FY 2019 CZM Coastal Resilience Grants: Mattapoisett on the construction of a water main on a barrier beach between Pease’s Point and Point Connett that is frequently exposed following coastal storms, Marion on a vulnerability assessment of its wastewater pumping infrastructure, and Wareham on a resiliency assessment of the existing overflow lagoon at their wastewater treatment facility and the development of design parameters for additional lagoon storage capacity at the facility to address increased infiltration and inflow caused by climate change throughout the collection system. CZM also participated in MVP Community Resilience Building Workshops in Rochester and Somerset and an MVP Action Grant Project in Wareham assessing the vulnerability of municipal infrastructure to climate change. CZM participates frequently on the Narragansett Bay National Estuary Program’s Steering Committee, Management Plan Revision Committee, and municipal grant review and selection committee. CZM also worked closely with Restore America’s Estuaries on the review and selection of projects throughout Southeast New England that received $2.3 million in funding from EPA’s Southeast New England Program (SNEP). CZM continues to work with the Buzzards Bay Coalition, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and the towns of Bourne, Marion, Plymouth, and Wareham on a regional wastewater management project to expand the outfall of treated wastewater in the Cape Cod Canal, which will require approval under the Ocean Sanctuaries Act. CZM continues to work closely with the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program, through participation on their Steering Committee, municipal grant review and selection committee, and EPA’s 5-year review of the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program. CZM regularly attends the meetings of the Buzzards Bay Action Committee (BBAC) to help facilitate CZM’s liaison function with coastal communities. CZM participated on the Massachusetts Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act Advisory Committee that helps guide MassDEP on the selection of projects for funding under the Oil Spill Act. Throughout the year, CZM provides technical assistance on state and federal grant programs including CZM’s Coastal Resilience and Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grants, EEA’s MVP Planning and Action Grants, and EPA’s SNEP Grants. CZM also conducts review of selected coastal projects and provides technical assistance to municipalities and individuals on coastal issues.

National Estuary Programs

CZM hosts and administers two National Estuary Programs (NEP)—the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program and the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Partnership (MassBays). The Buzzards Bay NEP works to protect and restore water quality and living resources in Buzzards Bay and its watershed. The mission of MassBays is to empower 50 coastal communities in Ipswich Bay, Massachusetts Bay, and Cape Cod Bay with scientific information and technical support to protect, restore, and enhance their coastal habitats. Each program’s highlights from 2019 are included below.

Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program

Grants Awarded to Buzzards Bay Communities to Protect Habitat and Water Quality - On June 5, EEA announced $95,419 in federal funds for habitat restoration and water quality protection projects in Buzzards Bay. The Municipal Mini-Grants were awarded by the Buzzards Bay NEP through CZM with funding from EPA. The grant funding will be matched by $79,540 in municipal and private contributions and will support the Buzzards Bay NEP’s goals to protect critical habitat and drinking water supplies and to continue important water quality monitoring in Buzzards Bay. The three grant awards are described below. For more information, see the EEA Press Release.

  • Rochester - $45,000 to purchase and permanently protect 20.9 acres of undeveloped land in the Mattapoisett River aquifer, which provides drinking water to four communities in the Buzzards Bay watershed.
  • Mattapoisett - $30,000 to continue the Baywatchers monitoring program, which has measured nutrient pollution in Buzzards Bay each summer for the last 27 years from 200 locations around Buzzards Bay.
  • Gosnold - $20,419 to permanently protect more than 300 acres of undeveloped land on the island of Cuttyhunk through the acquisition of 79 acres of privately owned, undeveloped land and by securing a permanent conservation restriction on an additional 230 acres. This project will also protect over five miles of coastal shoreline and the island’s only drinking water supply.

Grants Awarded for Coastal Conservation and Restoration in Southeast New England - On October 11, Restore America’s Estuaries and EPA announced $1.2 million in funding to six local partnerships in Massachusetts through the Southeast New England Program Watershed Grants. SNEP supports partnerships to address water quality and coastal habitat issues in the region. See the SNEP grant announcement for details on these grant awards. The Buzzards Bay NEP is an advising partner and is providing Geographical Information Systems (GIS) technical support to the Buzzards Bay Coalition and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) for the following two SNEP grants:

  • Buzzards Bay Coalition - $223,533 for Promoting Salt Marsh Resilience by supporting research to better understand causes and trends of marsh loss on Buzzards Bay and for pilot-scale restoration activities to preserve threatened marshes.
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy - $176,581 for the Buzzards Bay Stormwater Collaborative, a partnership between Massachusetts Maritime Academy and eight Buzzards Bay municipalities. The project will be integrated into a new MMA curriculum and students will work to support communities in stormwater compliance.

Buzzards Bay Salt Marsh Study - Salt marshes in Buzzards Bay provide a vital role by providing habitat, regulating water quality, and stabilizing coastlines. In recent years, many coastal towns have experienced the degradation or loss of their salt marshes. To better understand and halt this trend, the Buzzards Bay NEP and the Buzzards Bay Coalition, in partnership with MMA, are collaborating on a long-term study of salt marsh loss around Buzzards Bay. Monitoring and tracking changes over many years within a dozen selected salt marshes will improve understanding of the causes of marsh loss. In particular, the effort is focusing on how climate change, pollution, and changes in the abundance of certain crab species may be affecting salt marshes. The results of this work will help town officials and state and federal mangers develop possible mitigation strategies to protect and restore salt marshes. The Buzzards Bay Coalition work was funded by a grant from the Buzzards Bay NEP with EPA funding. For more information see the Salt Marsh Study web page.

Buzzards Bay NEP Stormwater Collaborative and MS4 Support - The Buzzards Bay NEP has been working with Buzzards Bay communities since the 1990s to map stormwater catch basins and discharge pipes. In 2016, the NEP collaborated with the nonprofit Buzzards Bay Action Committee to form the Buzzards Bay Stormwater Collaborative, beginning a more systematic effort to map underground stormwater networks and monitor stormwater discharges (requirements of EPA’s MS4 stormwater permits). The initiative, funded by an EPA Healthy Communities grant to the BBAC, consisted of five participating municipal public works departments (Dartmouth, Acushnet, Fairhaven, Mattapoisett, and Wareham) working with staff from the BBAC and the Buzzards Bay NEP. In February 2019, thanks to a new partnership with MMA, the Buzzards Bay Stormwater Collaborative expanded. This new initiative, which is funded by a $160,000 award from the Buzzards Bay NEP using EPA Southeast New England Program grant funds, will add three additional municipalities (Westport, Marion, and Bourne) to the collaborative. Under the agreement, MMA is providing staff support and co-op students who work with Buzzards Bay municipalities and the Buzzards Bay NEP. Students participating in MMA’s Environmental Monitoring program—including four part-time work-study students during the school year, five full time co-op students during the summer, and a full-time coordinator—joined the team. In addition to funding, the Buzzards Bay NEP is providing supervision to the students, water quality test kits for the project, and contracts with local laboratories to test stormwater for bacteria and other contaminants that cannot be measured using field test kits. Professor Bill Hubbard, who is the instructor of two MMA Environmental Monitoring courses, is coordinating the effort for the Academy. For more information see, the Buzzards Bay NEP website.

Technical Assistance - The Buzzards Bay NEP continued to assist municipalities and other partners with GIS analysis, proposal development, review of local projects, and training and support for municipal stormwater permits (MS4) compliance. The NEP provided more than 600 map and GIS products to the Buzzards Bay Coalition, area land trusts, and municipalities in their efforts to protect important habitat and open space in Buzzards Bay. 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 pressing issues related climate change, nitrogen and toxic pollution, and loss of wetlands habitat and living resources in Buzzards Bay.

Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Partnership

MassBays *Partnership* - On October 16, the MassBays Management Committee voted to change the organization’s name from Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program to Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Partnership. The new name better describes how MassBays works with decisionmakers from Salisbury to Provincetown—through close collaboration with nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, businesses, and federal, state, and local government.

MassBays Circuit Rider - In October, MassBays welcomed Jill Carr as our Monitoring Network Circuit Rider funded under an EPA Exchange Network grant. Jill is available to help local monitoring groups design sampling plans and training programs, assess and analyze existing data, and bring their results to multiple audiences. Contact Jill directly at jill.carr@mass.gov for more information and to schedule a site visit.

E-Newsletters - MassBays produces two e-newsletters, the MassBays e-newsletter and the Monitoring Coordinators Network e-newsletter. In 2019, readers learned about funding opportunities, local events, and online resources to support local initiatives. To subscribe, see the MassBays newsletter sign-up page.

Making Collaboratives Work - The American Society for Public Administration released Making Collaboratives Work: How Complex Organizational Partnerships Succeed, a textbook that focuses on best practices for collaborative work. Chapter 4, a case study on the New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative, was co-authored by MassBays Director Pam DiBona. Key audiences are undergraduate and graduate students in public administration and related fields, as well as public administrators and nonprofit managers.

AquaQAPP online application - With support from EPA and MassDEP, MassBays has been working with Eastern Research Group, Inc., to produce a web-based application for developing Quality Assurance Project Plans. Using the new tool, dubbed “AquaQAPP,” anyone planning water quality or sediment monitoring in marine or fresh waters will be able to build quality assurance/quality control into their program from the start. The Massachusetts Rivers Alliance hosted a beta-testing workshop for the application in November. The tool will be broadly available in February 2020.

Healthy Estuaries Grant Outcomes - In 2019, several MassBays grantees wrapped up their projects, which are summarized below. See the CZM Grant Viewer for details on funded projects.

  • 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. On November 21, the Ipswich River Watershed Association held a workshop, Addressing Failing Culverts, Bridges, and Dams, and submitted their final report in December.
  • Massachusetts Oyster Project (MOP) - $15,545 to support MOP’s aquaculture and education efforts in Gloucester and Marblehead. See the November 4 Gloucester Daily Times article for details on how volunteers helped MOP release juvenile oysters from both sites in November.
  • Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) - $33,000 to work with DCR, bordering cities, and local nonprofits to re-establish salt marsh communities and improve tidal flow. MyRWA presented seven potential restoration projects in and along Mill Creek to the cities of Revere and Chelsea for consideration. In October, DCR announced its plans for renovating Draw Seven Park in Somerville, which include living shorelines as advised by MyRWA’s investigations. See the DCR press release for details.
  • MIT Sea Grant - $28,500 to identify specific habitat preferences and resource use for river herring to inform habitat management and restoration. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sea Grant researcher Rob Vincent submitted a final report in May.

Staff & People

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

CZM Director - In March, Lisa Berry Engler was appointed as CZM Director. Lisa had served as CZM Acting Director since November 2018 when former Director Bruce Carlisle took a position with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. In 2017, Lisa became CZM’s Assistant Director, overseeing and guiding policy development, planning efforts, and technical approaches for the agency. Before that, Lisa served as the 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. Lisa brings with her a diverse background derived from her previous experiences working with CZM’s MassBays National Estuary Program, DCR’s Areas of Critical Environmental Concern Program, and the Department of Transportation.

CZM Acting Assistant Director - With Lisa’s appointment as Director, CZM's Project Review and Dredging Coordinator, Robert Boeri, stepped up to serve as Acting Assistant Director. Bob joined CZM in 2006 as Dredging Coordinator and took over as Project Review Coordinator in 2007, overseeing CZM’s state and federal permitting processes and cultivating strong contacts throughout the agencies and other organizations. While in his new temporary role, Bob helped direct policy development, planning efforts, and technical approaches for the agency.

CZM Assistant Director - In September, CZM welcomed Tyler Soleau as the new CZM Assistant Director. Tyler brought strong management skills, experience working in the Massachusetts Legislature, and an environmental law background to CZM. His experience includes four years with the Massachusetts House Committee on Climate Change as counsel, staff director, and legislative director. Most recently, Tyler worked for Sungage Financial, where he managed and led a team of 15 project managers. He has a bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College and received his law degree from the Vermont Law School.

BUAR Director Vic Mastone Retires - After 32 years as Director of the Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources, Victor Mastone retired in April. Vic joined BUAR in 1987 as its first staff archaeologist where his accomplishments include an inventory of naval shipwrecks off Massachusetts and the study of the 1775 Battle of Chelsea Creek. In 2016, Vic helped establish the state's first underwater archaeological preserve for the 1867 White Squall shipwreck site in Wellfleet. While at BUAR, he revised and simplified regulations, including establishment of the scientific permit program, developed a variety of guidance documents for public use, created an innovative outreach/educational program with training component (known as SHIPS), and since 1994, co-organized/co-chaired an annual international forum for government managers of maritime cultural resources at the Society for Historical Archaeology annual conferences. In addition to his work as BUAR Director, Vic also concurrently held various positions within the Commonwealth’s Environmental Secretariat, including Director of Finance, Assistant Secretary for Finance and Administration, and Interim Chief Financial Officer at the Department of Fish and Game. Victor’s maritime archaeology expertise kept him busy helping with the nomination of Stellwagen Bank as a National Marine Sanctuary, serving on the Federal Advisory Committee on Marine Protected Areas, reviewing various federal grant proposals, presenting at an international workshop, working as a guest investigator at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and much more. Vic was a valuable member of the CZM family and we already miss the impromptu discussions around the office. Thank you Vic for 32 year of service, expertise, and chats. Good luck and we hope you are enjoying your retirement!

BUAR Director and Chief Archaeologist - In May, CZM welcomed David S. Robinson as the new Chief Archaeologist (State Underwater Archaeologist) for the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources, and in September, David was elected by the board as BUAR Director. As Director, David carries out BUAR’s mission to identify, preserve, and interpret the Commonwealth’s underwater cultural heritage, non-renewable public resources, for the recreational, economic, environmental, and historical benefit of its citizens. David is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at the University of Connecticut. He received his Master’s in Anthropology (nautical/shipwreck archaeology) from Texas A&M University and his B.A. in Anthropology and Art Studio from the University of Rhode Island. He was previously a marine archaeologist with the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography and President and CEO of his own marine archaeological consulting firm. David brings more than 28 years of archaeological experience to BUAR and CZM.

Coastal Hazards and Climate Specialist - In July, Margot Mansfield was selected as CZM’s Coastal Hazards and Climate Specialist. Margot had been supporting CZM’s StormSmart Coasts Program and EEA’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program since she wrapped up her 2013-2015 NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship with CZM. Margot continues to work with EEA’s climate team and CZM’s shoreline and floodplain management team to advance science-based policies and planning. Before joining CZM in 2013, Margot focused her graduate research at the University of Maine on sea level rise, receiving her Master’s in Earth Science. She is excited to continue her work on coastal hazards, climate change data and projections, and climate vulnerability in the Commonwealth.

Coastal Habitat Specialist - In July, CZM welcomed Sean Duffey as our new Coastal Habitat Specialist. Sean most recently completed a two-year NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship with CZM, focused on coastal habitat resiliency and vulnerabilities in Areas of Critical Environmental Concern. In his new role, Sean works with the Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Team to develop strategic actions and guidance to support the resiliency of salt marshes across the Commonwealth. Sean originally hails from Albany, New York, and has a Master’s of Oceanography from the University of Rhode Island.

Buzzards Bay NEP’s Tracy Warncke Retires - After 30 years serving as the Buzzards Bay NEP's Administrative Assistant, Tracy Warncke retired from state service in June. Prior to joining the NEP, Tracy’s interest in Buzzards Bay water quality began in 1986 when she worked for the Bourne Board of Health water quality monitoring program in response to her concern over the town’s shellfish bed closures. These closures, a result of bacterial contamination, were a particular threat to her family due to her husband’s career as a commercial shellfisherman. During her time with the Board of Health, she served on the Cape Cod Marine Water Quality Task Force and collaborated with Barnstable County Department of Health and the Environment and USGS on several projects, including bacterial pathway tracking from septic systems around Buttermilk Bay. In 1987, she helped to create the nonprofit Buzzards Bay Coalition and was a participant in the first State of the Bay conference. In 1989, she joined the NEP in an administrative role, but greatly expanded the job’s scope over the years by assisting in a wide range of projects, including preparing reports and outreach documents, organizing workshops, sampling water quality, and managing the website. Tracy was also a valuable asset for answering questions from concerned residents on any issue or directing callers to the appropriate state agency or town department. At the May Buzzards Bay Action Committee meeting, Tracy received a certificate of appreciation for her long-time service in the protection and restoration of Buzzards Bay. Thank you Tracy for your dedicated work over the last 30 years. You are missed! Good luck and we hope you are enjoying your retirement.

MassBays Circuit Rider - In October, MassBays welcomed Jill Carr as the MassBays Circuit Rider to provide technical assistance and support coastal monitoring efforts by community-based organizations. This part-time position is funded by the EPA Exchange Network Program. Jill has nine years of experience as a Fisheries Habitat Specialist for DMF, where she worked on habitat mapping, research, and protection, developing habitat monitoring guidelines for both professional and citizen scientists. This year, she received two awards for her work in eelgrass restoration and is currently working on her Master’s in Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing at Salem State University.

Interns - CZM welcomed the following interns to help with various projects in 2019:

  • Marine Invasive Species Program Intern - In June, CZM welcomed Samantha Plante as a summer intern with the Marine Invasive Species Program. Sam supported marine invasive field work and volunteer trainings, entered and managed monitoring data, added over 50 photographic species observations to the MIMIC iNaturalist project page, and drafted reports and communications materials on marine invasive species issues. Sam is now finishing her senior year at Vassar College, majoring in Biology and Math, and playing on the Vassar field hockey team.
  • Seafloor Mapping Intern - This fall, CZM welcomed Haley D’Entremont as an intern with the Seafloor Mapping Program. Haley, a senior Environmental Science major at Suffolk University, was tasked with using the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard to classify the various plants and animals that were visible in hundreds of minutes of videos of sandy seafloor. The videos were previously collected by a CZM contractor to help characterize potential offshore sand resource areas. Haley wrapped up her work with CZM in December and presented her results to the Suffolk Environmental Science Department.
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