Welcome to the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) year-in-review edition of CZ-Mail, which highlights CZM accomplishments for 2021, 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 2022.
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Overview of 2021 at CZM
CZM successfully completed many coastal management objectives this year, with high priority given to ocean planning, supporting the sustainable use of our ocean resources, and helping coastal communities tackle climate change and protect water quality and habitat. At the beginning of February, the routine federal review of the Massachusetts CZM program officially commenced. As required by Section 312 of the federal Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) periodically evaluates the performance, operation, and management of the federally approved Massachusetts Coastal Management Programs and assesses how CZM is addressing the coastal management goals of the CZMA. The review included a comprehensive compilation of CZM’s accomplishments, partnerships, and activities since the previous review of the Massachusetts Coastal Management Program in 2014; a three-day, virtual site visit; a public meeting; consideration of public comments; and consultations with interested federal, state, and local agencies, stakeholders, and members of the public. To support the virtual site visit, CZM developed Story Map Tours of the Massachusetts Coast, which showcase the five coastal regions of Massachusetts. Later in February, the Massachusetts Coastal Storm Damage Assessment Team (Storm Team) led by CZM recorded damages along the coast from a nor’easter. The Storm Team was also deployed for an October nor’easter and Tropical Storm Henry in August, collecting hundreds of reports and photos used to increase awareness of impacts in the State Emergency Operations Center and to support coastal floodplain management planning and local projects. In April, CZM released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Requests for Responses (RFR) for both the Coastal Resilience and Coastal Pollutant Remediation (CPR) grant programs, providing webinars and online content to support potential grant applicants. Also in April, CZM celebrated Earth Week in Salem with representatives from the City of Salem and Salem Sound Coastwatch with a tour of a rain garden at Winter Island Park, funded through the CPR Grant Program. In August, CZM announced $4 million in funding for 19 new Coastal Resilience Grant projects to reduce risks associated with coastal storms, flooding, erosion, and sea level rise. Twenty-four Coastal Resilience Grant projects wrapped up in June, and five additional projects are on a two-year timeline and will be completed in 2022. In 2021, local partners provided approximately $1 million in match for coastal resilience efforts. CZM also awarded $287,640 through CZM’s Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Program in August for four new, on-the-ground municipal stormwater projects that will reduce coastal water pollution and improve the health of coastal resources. In addition, five CPR projects were completed in 2021, representing $500,000 in CPR grant funding and more than $175,000 in match. Also in August, CZM began soliciting sign-ups for the 2021 COASTSWEEP statewide beach cleanup. Throughout the fall, more than 1,700 COASTSWEEP volunteers scoured 115 miles of coastline and collected nearly 3 tons of trash. In October, CZM launched a second, fall round for the FY 2022 CPR Grants, and awards should be announced in the new year. CZM continued to support the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program in 2021, which in August awarded $21 million in new funding to communities statewide to identify hazards and develop and implement strategies to improve resilience. Fourteen of these grant awards with a total value of $2.9 million are advancing coastal resilience in 26 coastal communities this year. In September, CZM (serving as EEA’s lead) released the Draft 2021 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan for review, hearings, and a 60-day public comment period. The 2021 ocean plan is the second formal amendment of the original ocean plan, which was issued by EEA in December 2009. In addition, CZM celebrated Climate Week in September with an event along Marblehead Harbor that showcased Marblehead’s efforts to reduce coastal flooding and sea level rise impacts using CZM Coastal Resilience Grant funding. In November, CZM was selected to host its 10th NOAA Coastal Management Fellow in 2022-2024 to engage with environmental justice communities in Massachusetts on shoreline restoration opportunities to increase coastal resilience and other benefits of nature-based approaches. Also in November, CZM announced the availability of a powerful new screening tool that can be used to identify salt marshes in Massachusetts that are vulnerable to sea level rise, developed through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Geological Survey Woods Hole Coastal Marine Science Center. Wrapping up the year, CZM finalized the 2021 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, a major update and amendment effort for the state’s blueprint for the protection and sustainable use of state ocean waters. Ongoing year-long work at CZM included planning efforts to bring clean, renewable offshore wind energy to the region’s residents, with CZM completing environmental reviews of several projects that will affect Massachusetts waters and shoreline. CZM also worked on harbor planning activities with a number of coastal communities this year, including work on Municipal Harbor Plans (MHPs) and Designated Port Area (DPA) Master Plans in Chelsea, Gloucester, and Salem; DPA Boundary Reviews in Lynn, East Boston, and Chelsea Creek; and MHPs in Edgartown. Lastly, CZM was busy developing the following publications: Environmental Permitting in Coastal Massachusetts and four new CZ-Tips to help people get to, protect, and enjoy the coast—Calling Student Contestants to Showcase Creativity for the Coast, Cast Away with Coastal Podcasts!, Sign Up for Coastal Citizen Science, and Volunteer to Help Protect the Coast. Additional highlights of CZM’s 2021 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 2021 accomplishments for each CZM program area are listed below.
StormSmart Coasts - Managing Erosion and Flooding
Coastal Resilience Grant Awards - In August, CZM awarded $4 million in funding for 19 local projects through the Coastal Resilience Grant Program to reduce risks associated with coastal storms, flooding, erosion, and sea level rise. The FY 2022 grant awards are listed below. For additional details, see the EEA Press Release. CZM celebrated the kick-off of the new projects at a Climate Week event on September 21 along Marblehead Harbor. The event focused on Marblehead’s efforts to reduce coastal flooding and sea level rise impacts to the Marblehead Municipal Light Department and adjacent municipal properties that support public access, fishing, and boating. See Marblehead Faces Its Coastal Vulnerabilities in The Daily Item and this short video produced by Marblehead TV for more on the event.
- Braintree - $772,580 to construct a nature-based shoreline restoration project to mitigate erosion and flooding at Watson Park, including fringing salt marsh restoration, natural coastal bank stabilization, an earthen berm, and additional stormwater management measures.
- Chatham - $107,844 to evaluate the use of temporary tidal flow redirection structures combined with beach nourishment along the Stage Harbor barrier beach and inlet system, and to design the preferred alternative that will mitigate erosion and shoaling over the next 10-20 years.
- Chatham, on behalf of the Pleasant Bay Alliance - $141,675 to complete permitting and prepare construction documents for a fringing salt marsh enhancement project to protect the popular Jackknife Beach recreational area.
- Dartmouth - $107,255 to assess alternatives and develop resilient nature-based and structural design strategies for addressing the failing seawall around the perimeter of Apponagansett Park and Arthur Dias Town Landing, which regularly experience flooding during spring tides and coastal storms.
- Edgartown - $240,674 to relocate the South Beach bathhouse 50 feet landward, remove an asphalt surface and restore the primary coastal dune on South Beach and adjacent Norton Point Beach with compatible dredge material and native plants, and move the existing over-sand-vehicle trail more landward.
- Falmouth - $64,170 to assess a full range of management alternatives for providing protection for the shoreline along the western side of the Eel River entrance channel over the next 30-50 years.
- Gosnold - $212,000 to evaluate, design, permit, and install a preferred alternative for an above-ground fuel storage facility on Cuttyhunk Island. The project will incorporate coastal storm and sea level rise considerations when replacing the recently removed underground tanks.
- Hingham - $165,000 to analyze site conditions and develop design options for the replacement of the deteriorating and vulnerable Broad Cove Pump Station sewer force main as well as protective measures for the station, which services 95% of the town’s north sewer district flow.
- Hull - $70,055 to design and permit the restoration of the primary frontal dune at two remaining large openings in the North Nantasket Beach primary dune system, as well as conduct stakeholder engagement activities to enhance storm damage protection to buildings, critical roadways, utilities, and recreational infrastructure.
- Ipswich - $75,642 to continue permitting activities for the Argilla Road adaptation project, which aims to elevate Argilla Road and build resilience using nature-based designs to provide a storm-resilient transition to the adjacent wetlands and restore upland wetlands to full function through increased tidal exchange.
- Marblehead - $131,705 to conduct a detailed vulnerability assessment of the Municipal Light Department, Hammond Park, and adjoining public infrastructure, and develop alternatives to mitigate flooding and sea level rise impacts. The project will advance the implementation of near-term floodproofing measures, while also working to identify long-term adaptation strategies with stakeholder input.
- Marion - $148,500 to conduct preliminary design work of additional flood protection measures at the Front Street Pump Station, evaluate the sewer force main pipe that carries flow from the pump station to the Marion Water Pollution Control Facility, and design, bid, and construct a bypass connection in the event of a pump station failure.
- Mattapoisett - $29,400 to complete engineering design and survey work to reopen Old Slough Road as an emergency access route for vehicles traveling to and from the Point Connett and Angelica Point communities, which are currently accessed by a low-lying roadway that is vulnerable to coastal storm and sea level rise impacts.
- Mattapoisett - $158,765 to complete final design and permitting necessary to implement the Eel Pond sewer force main replacement project along the barrier beach and under the West Channel. The preferred approach for the new force main route is to use horizontal directional drilling to install the force main deeper and farther from the ocean than the existing force main to protect the main from flooding, erosion, and beach migration.
- Orleans - $1,000,000 to complete bid documents and construct a parking lot, septic system leaching field, and other associated infrastructure improvements at Nauset Beach landward of the existing parking lot and flood zones.
- Salem - $168,750 to conduct a detailed climate vulnerability assessment of the Palmer Cove area of the Point neighborhood, assess adaptation alternatives, and conduct an intensive multi-lingual outreach and engagement campaign in the community.
- Tisbury - $169,272 to continue to increase public involvement and outreach, refine conceptual designs, and initiate permitting activities for flood protection for downtown Vineyard Haven, including beach and dune nourishment, roadway elevation, and construction of a berm.
- Wareham - $127,000 to construct an elevated platform that accommodates coastal storm and sea level rise projections to protect an emergency generator at the Salt Works Road pump station.
- Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution - $199,841 to identify flood pathways and vulnerabilities to public and nonprofit institutions, local businesses, natural resources, and residents in the village. The project will include proactive engagement with the community, schools, businesses, and visitors to build support for the implementation of long-term strategies.
FY 2021 Coastal Resilience Project Updates - The 29 projects listed below wrapped up in 2021 or will be completed in 2022 with CZM technical support and Coastal Resilience Grant funding from FY 2021. Please see the CZM Grant Viewer for award amounts and links to additional information. More than 25% of the total cost of the projects was matched using local cash and in-kind services of municipal staff, watershed groups, and other partners.
- Beverly - Assessed feasibility and developed conceptual designs for nature-based improvements at Obear Park to withstand impacts from flooding, erosion, and sea level rise.
- Beverly - Conducted a vulnerability and feasibility assessment of the Beverly pump station on Water Street to address short- and long-term risks of flooding and sea level rise.
- Boston - Analyzed site conditions and developed design options to protect the East Boston waterfront and community from sea level rise and coastal storm events.
- Braintree - Completed environmental permitting and developed final construction drawings and bid documents for a series of green infrastructure designs to mitigate erosion and flooding at Watson Park.
- Chatham - Completed an alternatives analysis for mitigating severe coastal erosion and shoaling affecting the viability of Stage Harbor and developed strategies that address existing and future climate change concerns over the next 10-20 years.
- Chatham, on behalf of the Pleasant Bay Alliance - Advanced the conceptual design and initiated environmental permitting for restoring and enhancing salt marsh along the southern bank of the tidal channel into Muddy Creek.
- Chelsea - Assessed site conditions and feasibility for improving the resilience of the Green Parcel located along Mill Creek and developed alternatives to help remediate flooding and erosion and enhance public access to the waterfront.
- Edgartown - Surveyed existing conditions and developed design plans to relocate an existing bathhouse, remove 150 feet of asphalt roadway off the coastal dune, restore the dune to natural conditions, and install a removable dune walkover structure at South Beach.
- Essex - Assessed alternatives for elevating a low-lying section of Apple Street, which is vulnerable to flooding during coastal storm events.
- Essex County Greenbelt Association - Conducted public outreach, assessed infrastructure improvements and management options, and produced a Climate Adaptation Management Plan for their headquarters at the Cox Reservation.
- Hull - Finalized design plans and constructed a dune restoration project with a new Americans with Disabilities Act accessible crossover ramp at A Street and Beach Avenue, restored non-permitted dune crossings, and installed sand fencing and educational signage to encourage use of designated dune access points and prevent storm damages.
- Hull - Completed permitting and developed final design plans for flood protection measures at the town’s wastewater treatment facility, including a combination of vegetated berms, flood gates, and flood barrier walls.
- Ipswich - Finalized design plans for stabilizing an eroded section of coastal bank along the Ipswich River, located in downtown Ipswich near the County Street Bridge along a well-traveled trail adjacent to the river.
- Ipswich - Continued to advance design plans and permitting for elevating a vulnerable section of Argilla Road, which crosses a salt marsh, and stabilizing the side slopes of the roadway using nature-based techniques.
- Marion - Designed a new pump station at the existing Creek Road pump station site to reduce short- and long-term risks to storm surge and sea level rise.
- Mass Audubon - Developed a multi-media coastal climate resilience curriculum for middle school students.
- Mattapoisett - Assessed future flood risks from sea level rise and coastal storms and developed alternatives to improve the resilience of the Mattapoisett Neck Road causeway and a culvert crossing through a salt marsh under the southern portion of the road.
- New Bedford Port Authority - Assessed the current conditions of municipally owned and managed piers in the New Bedford/Fairhaven Harbor and New Bedford’s South Terminal, evaluated adjacent utility and roadway connections, and developed recommendations for adapting the infrastructure to projected sea level rise and increased storm events.
- Orleans - Completed design and permitting for the relocation of a 223-space parking lot, access road, and septic system at Nauset Beach.
- Plymouth - Designed and permitted a mixed sediment (i.e., sand, gravel, and cobble) beach nourishment project along an eroded section of Long Beach, located north of the Day Parking Area.
- Salem - Completed a year of monitoring and maintenance of the recently restored fringing salt marsh at Collins Cove and developed outreach products for the project.
- Save Popponesset Bay, Inc. - Constructed a dune restoration project on Popponesset Spit to improve storm damage protection and flood control for properties landward of the barrier beach around Popponesset Bay, enhance habitat for endangered species, and improve recreation.
- Tisbury - Performed a detailed feasibility assessment and developed site-specific conceptual designs of recommended resilience strategies, including dune and beach nourishment and elevation of roadways, for the Vineyard Haven Harbor shoreline.
- Wareham - Installed an emergency sewer bypass at the Narrows pump station to allow the station to continue to serve critical infrastructure upstream of the station in the event of major equipment damage and debris impacts during storm events.
- Duxbury Beach Reservation, Inc. - Filed permit applications for a series of nature-based measures that will provide flood and erosion control and improve the resilience of the barrier beach system. The project team will continue to address permitting agencies’ comments through June 2022.
- Marshfield and Duxbury - Prepared draft environmental permit applications for beach and dune nourishment projects at several vulnerable coastal beaches along the towns’ east facing shoreline. The project team will finalize and submit permit documents and respond to agency comments.
- New Bedford - Will continue to prepare final design plans and contract documents for future construction of the West Rodney French Boulevard beach nourishment project.
- Oak Bluffs - Developed spatial datasets of low-lying areas that serve as pathways for coastal floodwaters and will continue to coordinate with the National Weather Service’s Coastal Flood Threat and Inundation Mapping website that provides real-time total water level forecasting.
- Provincetown - Continued working with Truro, Wellfleet, and Eastham toward a regional approach to shoreline management for Eastern Cape Cod Bay, including updating a geodatabase, assessing the potential for salt marsh migration, and conducting local outreach.
Fringing Salt Marsh Restoration in Salem - In May, more than 75 volunteers helped plant 3,500 additional salt marsh grass plugs along Collins Cove in Salem. The effort was led by Salem Sound Coastwatch in support of the City of Salem’s living shoreline project funded by CZM’s Coastal Resilience Grant Program. The salt marsh was constructed in 2019 with 15,000 plants to help address erosion of the multi-use path along Collins Cove and reduce flooding as sea level rises. The Salem Gazette captured photos of planting activities. For more information on implementation and monitoring of the project, see this new Story Map.
Regional Coastal Resilience - CZM has continued to collaborate on a NOAA-funded effort with the other New England coastal programs, The Nature Conservancy, and the Northeast Regional Ocean Council to increase coastal resilience using nature-based approaches (PDF, 2 MB). CZM worked with municipal partners in 2021 to test and refine monitoring metrics and protocols at several sites in Massachusetts. CZM also led site visits to increase outreach on living shoreline approaches.
NOAA Coastal Management Fellow - CZM has been selected to host its 10th NOAA Coastal Management Fellow in 2022-2024. The fellow will support CZM’s StormSmart Coasts Team and Coastal Resilience Grant Program. The focus of the two-year fellowship will be engagement with environmental justice communities in Massachusetts on shoreline restoration opportunities to increase coastal resilience and other benefits of nature-based approaches. Students who have completed a Master’s or other advanced degree in a variety of disciplines since August 2020 are eligible to apply for the fellowship opportunity. Applications must be submitted to Sea Grant by January 21.
StormSmart Coasts Outreach - Throughout 2021, CZM’s StormSmart Coasts Program provided local officials and other partners with information on documenting and managing coastal erosion, flooding, coastal storm impacts, and sea level rise. Here are some highlights of outreach efforts:
- Coastal Resilience Grants Information Session - In March, CZM held an informational webinar for municipal officials and nonprofit partners on funding and technical assistance available through CZM’s Coastal Resilience Grant Program. Participants learned about the goals and requirements of the grants, funding levels and timelines, and recent project examples, and had an opportunity to discuss potential project ideas.
- MACC Annual Conference - In April, CZM and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) presented a workshop as part of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC) Annual Environmental Conference. The workshop, Applying the Massachusetts Coastal Wetlands Regulations: Highlights and Tips to Protect the Storm Damage Prevention and Flood Control Functions of Resource Areas, provided an overview of this guidance document, offered tips on using it as a quick reference guide, and discussed some specific technical issues covered in the document. CZM and MassDEP also co-lead a workshop on the draft Land Subject to Coastal Storm Flowage Performance Standards.
- MACC Fall Conference - In October, CZM and MassDEP presented a workshop at MACC’s Fall Conference on the guidance document: Applying the Massachusetts Coastal Wetland Regulations: A Practical Manual for Conservation Commissions to Protect the Storm Damage Prevention and Flood Control Functions of Coastal Resource Areas. In addition to an overview of the document, detailed technical guidance was presented for delineation, assessing function, and applying the performance standards for developed coastal dunes and barrier beaches.
- Technical Assistance - In September, CZM and MassDEP participated in a meeting with Marshfield officials, including the Conservation, Health, Building, and Planning departments. Discussion focused on delineation of developed coastal dunes and barrier beaches, and preservation of storm damage protection and flood control functions through the standards in the State Building Code and the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act Regulations.
- Historic Preservation Discussion - In September, CZM participated in the Keeping History Above Water event in Salem, which focused on addressing climate change impacts to historic resources.
- MyCoast Talks - In August, CZM provided the presentation How to Share Local Observations of Flooding and Erosion and Influence Coastal Management on coastal storm impacts and MyCoast reporting as part of the Maria Mitchell Association Science Speaker Series. In October, CZM participated in the Using Community Science for Decision Making: Coastal Flooding webinar hosted by the Northeast Sea Grant programs on how citizen science tools and observations are being used to manage coastal flooding. The webinar included case studies from Rhode Island and New York City and a discussion from CZM on using MyCoast reports of coastal storm impacts for emergency management and coastal resilience efforts.
- Resilient Boston Harbor Conference - In October, CZM provided a lightning talk on monitoring living shoreline projects during the first annual Resilient Boston Harbor: Research for a Sustainable Future conference hosted by the Stone Living Lab and Boston Harbor Ecosystem Network. CZM and The Nature Conservancy also led a conference field trip to Coughlin Park to highlight Winthrop’s shoreline restoration project, which was supported by CZM’s Coastal Resilience Grant Program.
Climate Resilience Planning Tool - In April, the Baker-Polito Administration launched the beta Resilient MA Action Team (RMAT) Climate Resilience Design Standards Tool, a web-based platform that is helping to proactively integrate climate projections and climate resilience design standards into state and local projects. Through a series of site-specific questions, the RMAT tool uses the latest climate projections to generate a preliminary climate exposure, risk rating, and recommended design standards for projects. The tool also provides guidelines and forms to help project managers integrate site suitability, regional coordination, and flexible adaptation considerations into climate resilient planning and design. CZM is a member of the RMAT and has been supporting this initiative through numerous focus groups and advising how to integrate the most recent coastal modeling for the Commonwealth. For additional details, see the EEA Press Release.
Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Action - In August, EEA awarded $20.6 million in Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Action Grants to implement local priority adaptation actions. Fourteen of these grant awards with a total value of $2.9 million are advancing coastal resilience in 26 coastal communities this year. CZM continues to support EEA’s administration of the MVP program and provide technical assistance to local projects. For more information on the new MVP projects, see the EEA Press Release.
Climate Grant Viewer - In March, EEA launched a mapping tool to help promote and coordinate EEA grant programs that address climate change preparedness, adaptation and/or resilience to increasing temperatures, changing precipitation, extreme weather events, and sea level rise. The beta Climate Grant Viewer, which CZM helped to develop, currently features the CZM Coastal Resilience and Coastal Pollutant Remediation grant programs, MVP Program, and Division of Conservation Services Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities Grant Program. Additional grant programs will be added over time.
ASBPA Member of the Year Award - In September, the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) recognized CZM with the 2021 Member of the Year Award. This annual award acknowledges member efforts during the previous year to support ASBPA’s mission to preserve, protect, and enhance the U.S. coast by merging science and public policy. CZM participates on the Science and Technical Committee of ASBPA and was recognized for compiling historical information on beach nourishment projects in Massachusetts to update the ASBPA beach nourishment database. The new National Beach Nourishment Database features data on nearly 400 projects that placed almost 1.5 billion cubic yards on the coastline of the continental United States.
Coastal Water Quality
Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Awards - In August, EEA announced $287,640 in funding through CZM’s Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Program for projects to protect coastal water quality in Massachusetts. Since 1996, CPR has awarded over $12 million to coastal watershed communities. The four projects funded for FY 2022 are focused on design and implementation of green stormwater infrastructure, which mimics natural processes to filter and treat contaminants in runoff. The grants are being matched by $100,000 from municipal sources, demonstrating a strong local commitment. For additional details on these awards, see the EEA Press Release. For more information on the CPR grant program, contact Adrienne Pappal at email@example.com.
- Barnstable - $126,915 to construct stormwater green infrastructure to treat stormwater runoff entering the Three Bays watershed.
- Milton - $33,200 to design stormwater green infrastructure to treat nutrients and bacteria in stormwater runoff entering Unquity Brook.
- New Bedford - $89,705 to complete designs to retrofit municipal parking lots to treat stormwater runoff entering the outer New Bedford Harbor.
- Provincetown - $37,820 to design stormwater green infrastructure to treat stormwater runoff entering Provincetown Harbor.
Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Program Fall RFR - In October, CZM released an RFR seeking proposals for a fall round of FY 2022 Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grants, which will provide up to $200,000 to municipalities located in the Massachusetts Coastal Watershed to assess and remediate stormwater pollution and to design and construct commercial boat-waste pumpout facilities. Related capacity-building activities, such as development of stormwater bylaws, maintenance trainings for municipal staff, and project case studies were also considered.
Completed Water Quality Projects in Coastal Watershed Communities - In 2021, these five projects were completed with Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant funding from FY 2021.
- Arlington - Arlington and Lexington constructed 55 infiltration trenches to treat stormwater runoff entering Alewife Brook and Mill Brook with the ultimate goal of reducing phosphorous contamination and improving anadromous fish habitat.
- Barnstable - Barnstable constructed green stormwater infrastructure to filter and treat nitrogen and bacteria in runoff at two priority sites in the Three Bays watershed, supporting the wider goal of a multiyear project to restore coastal habitat and improve water quality for swimming and shellfishing.
- Kingston - Kingston developed designs for a system that will treat stormwater, which will reduce nutrient and bacteria inputs into the Jones River when constructed. The project supports a long-standing effort to expand opportunities for shellfish harvesting in the Jones River and Kingston Bay.
- Milton - Milton finalized the design of stormwater infrastructure that will treat nutrients and bacteria in stormwater runoff, improving anadromous fish habitat in Unquity Brook.
- Salem - Salem developed a series of training videos that demonstrate operation and maintenance procedures and best practices of stormwater green infrastructure to help build green infrastructure capacity. In addition, the City of Salem created a database to track green infrastructure and maintenance activities across the city.
CZM Earth Week Celebration in Salem - In April, CZM joined representatives from the City of Salem and Salem Sound Coastwatch to tour a rain garden at Winter Island Park in Salem, funded through the CPR Grant Program. The event celebrated successful partnerships with cities, towns, and local groups working to address stormwater pollution through CPR grant program funding. The site visit also highlighted another project completed by Salem, funded under the capacity-building category of CPR. Through this grant, Salem created an innovative database tracking system that records where stormwater infrastructure is located and when/where/how this infrastructure has been maintained. In addition, the city and Salem Sound Coastwatch created a series of videos in English and Spanish targeted to municipal staff that describe and demonstrate maintenance procedures for green stormwater infrastructure, featuring Salem’s very own rain gardens and other project elements constructed through CPR funding. The videos are available on the Salem sound Coastwatch Low Impact Development - Green Practices web page. The connections created through the CPR program were also featured in a column by CZM Director Lisa Berry Engler entitled Community Connections for Clean Coastal Waters, which was published in the Salem News on April 22.
COASTSWEEP 2021 - From August through November each year, thousands of people in Massachusetts volunteer for COASTSWEEP—the statewide beach cleanup sponsored by CZM that is part of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. While the numbers are still coming in, preliminary reports show that since August, more than 1,700 volunteers scoured 115 miles of coastline to collect nearly 3 tons of trash. Thanks to all of you for finding a way to participate safely this year!
Other Water Quality Program Activities - CZM also worked on the following coastal water quality activities in 2021:
- MWRA Monitoring - CZM participated in an ad hoc committee to support the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) Outfall Monitoring Science Advisory Panel (OMSAP) to address contaminants of emerging concern including per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), pharmaceuticals and personal care products, and microplastics. A special meeting of the OMSAP was also held with water quality monitoring specialists and oceanographers to help define and understand the potential causes of the low oxygen levels observed in southwestern Cape Cod Bay in the late summer from 2019-2021. For more information, contact CZM Coastal and Marine Scientist, Todd Callaghan, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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. CZM reviewed and commented on the draft strategic plan, which was finalized and released on March 31. CZM will be participating as a member of the Shellfish Advisory Panel, one of the recommendations of the strategic plan.
2021 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan - As required by the Oceans Act of 2008, the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan must be reviewed at least once every five years—and CZM finalized the 2021 ocean plan this year, completing the review and amendment to the 2015 ocean plan. The Oceans Act intended the ocean plan to be an evolving document—revised periodically to adapt as better information and science is developed, policy goals evolve, and experience in applying the management and administrative framework is gained. This process was supported by input from the Ocean Advisory Commission, Ocean Science Advisory Council, and six technical work groups, as well as a significant public engagement process. On September 22, CZM, on behalf of EEA, issued the Draft 2021 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan for public review, including four hearings, and a 60-day public comment period. For details, see the Review and Update of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan website. The final 2021 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan contains revised maps of special, sensitive, or unique resources and water-dependent uses, a current assessment of the status and trends in ocean conditions, and a Science Framework to ensure progress on key ocean management priorities over the next five years. To remain informed about future ocean plan reviews, updates, and amendments, please send a blank email to email@example.com.
Massachusetts Ocean Acidification Commission Report - In February, the Massachusetts Ocean Acidification Commission released its Report on the Ocean Acidification Crisis in Massachusetts (PDF, 21 MB), which provides information on the rising acidity in the Commonwealth’s coastal and ocean waters primarily caused by increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and the discharge of pollutants into marine waters. This report also includes details on the impacts of acidification on shellfish and other marine species, which can have a significant impact on the state’s marine economy. Importantly, the report presents a set of policy recommendations and a timeline for the state legislature to address ocean and coastal acidification in Massachusetts. The report was written by 18 commission members that included legislators, commercial fishermen, representatives from environmental groups, scientists, CZM Director Lisa Engler, and representatives from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) and MassDEP. CZM’s role on the commission was instrumental in providing key information on ongoing and planned monitoring efforts in Massachusetts. CZM Director Engler and CZM staff participated in the Monitoring and Barrier Beaches Work Group, supported the efforts of other work groups, and provided guidance with the development of the Commission’s policy recommendations and final report. For more information, see the Commission Press Release.
Ocean Advisory Commission and Ocean Science Advisory Council - To assist in the ocean plan amendment process, CZM convened joint meetings of the Ocean Advisory Commission and Ocean Science Advisory Council (SAC) on April 14 and August 11. At these meetings, commissioners and councilors provided feedback on draft water-dependent use and special, sensitive, or unique resource maps, the management framework, and the science priorities for the next five years.
Offshore Wind Projects - In 2021, CZM reviewed and provided comments on the Park City Wind (lease OCS-A0534) Draft Environmental Impact Report, the updated Construction and Operations Plan for the South Fork Wind Farm (lease OCS-A 0517), the Sunrise Wind (lease OCS-A 0487) revised Construction and Operations Plan, and the Mayflower Wind (lease OCS-A 0521) Construction and Operations Plan and Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement. To support the sustainable development of offshore wind energy, CZM continued to lead stakeholder engagement groups related to fisheries and habitat topics. During 2021, CZM hosted quarterly meetings of the Habitat Working Group on Offshore Wind and the Fisheries Working Group on Offshore Wind. At these meetings, offshore wind developers and fishing industry representatives provided updates on the latest surveys, projects, research initiatives, and findings for discussion. Input received from the groups informs current and ongoing project planning and review.
Offshore Wind Energy Procurement - In April, Massachusetts issued its third solicitation for up to 1,600 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind. Bids were received in September, and on December 17, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that Vineyard Wind was selected to provide 1,200 MW of power to Massachusetts customers, and Mayflower Wind was selected to provide 400 MW. Both projects can now move forward to contract negotiations. For details, see the EEA Press Release.
Gulf of Maine Council Awards - On December 9, the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment presented its annual awards, which included three 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.
- Patricia Hughes received the Susan Snow-Cotter Leadership Award in recognition of her work with CZM, the Cape Cod Commission, and the Center for Coastal Studies. Like Susan, Pat showed unwavering passion, enthusiasm, and insight into all her efforts to improve water quality, promote coastal resilience, advance renewable energy, and protect marine life. As a true collaborator, Pat brought scientists, managers, and stakeholders together to address some of the most complex issues facing the region. and her efforts delivered meaningful results. Always mindful of the future, Pat very generously shared her knowledge and expertise with the next generation by teaching and mentoring interns, graduate students, and early-career scientists.
- SeaTrac Systems Inc. received the Sustainable Industries Award for its outstanding contributions and innovative approach toward promoting sustainability in the Gulf of Maine. SeaTrac Systems was founded by two very talented naval architects from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—Jigger Herman and Buddy Duncan. For the past several years, they have created multiple successful high-tech businesses and now focus their attention on ocean research. Their efforts resulted in development of an innovative, solar powered, uncrewed surface vessel that has made ocean research and monitoring safer, easier, more affordable, and environmentally friendly. SeaTrac System’s generous donation of equipment and professional expertise and commitment to designing technology that supports a clean ocean environment have a lasting positive impact on efforts to understand and protect the Gulf of Maine watershed.
- Paula Terrasi was recognized with a Visionary Award for her exceptional accomplishments as Conservation Administrator for the Town of Pepperell, Massachusetts. Paula’s personal dedication and ability to forge partnerships with state, federal, and non-profit partners have helped to restore water quality and habitat for American eel, wild trout, and endangered mussels in the Nissitissit River and broader Merrimack Watershed. Under Paula’s leadership and guidance, two dams were removed and multiple culverts were upgraded, making this corner of the Merrimack Watershed healthier and more productive for both wildlife and people. Paula’s leadership in environmental conservation at the local level has made a lasting positive impact on improving natural resources in the broader Gulf of Maine ecosystem.
Seafloor Mapping Initiative - CZM continued to work with the NOAA Office for Coastal Management and the coastal programs of Maine and New Hampshire on a seafloor mapping project for the Gulf of Maine. This fall, the contractor for the project delivered maps of the rises, valleys, and flats across the Gulf of Maine. The maps, and other derived products, will be used to help identify habitats and site new offshore developments in the Gulf.
Salt Marsh Vulnerability Metric for All Massachusetts Marshes - CZM is pleased to announce that geospatial data products are now available from a salt marsh project completed through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center. USGS has developed an indicator of salt marsh vulnerability—the unvegetated-vegetated marsh ratio (UVVR)—which calculates the ratio of unvegetated marsh area (e.g., pools, pannes, mudflats) to vegetated area using remote sensing imagery. The UVVR metric is a powerful screening tool for identifying vulnerable salt marshes as it strongly correlates to net sediment budget, which impacts the ability of a marsh to build and maintain elevation. As a result of the project, CZM will now have publicly accessible UVVR data at a fine scale for all salt marshes in Massachusetts. These data and supporting metrics can be accessed through the USGS ScienceBase Catalog at Geospatial Characterization of Salt Marshes for Massachusetts. For more information, contact CZM’s Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Manager, Adrienne Pappal, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer Monitoring of Marine Invasive Species - Every summer since 2006, citizen scientists have been on the hunt for marine invasive species at docks and rocky shorelines along the New England coast as part of the Marine Invader Monitoring and Information Collaborative (MIMIC) coordinated by CZM. In 2021, MIMIC partners successfully and safely monitored sites from Massachusetts to Maine. See the iNaturalist Project Page to view species monitored, the MIMIC Story Map for monitoring data, and CZM’s Marine Invasive Species Program for additional information, or contact Sean Duffey, Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Specialist, at email@example.com.
Long-Term Monitoring of Salt Marshes - CZM established the Salt Marsh Sentinel Site Monitoring Program in 2015 with a goal to track changes in salt marshes through time and as sea level rises. At each sentinel site, data are recorded on plant species composition along permanent transects located from the creek bank across the marsh platform and into the upland. Physical data including hydroperiod—duration, depth, and frequency of tidal inundation—and elevation are also collected at each site. CZM originally collected data at the three sentinel sites established in Westport, Barnstable, and Essex in 2017 and 2018. CZM again collected data at the sentinel sites during the summer of 2021 and will return in 2022 to begin to build a comparison dataset to assess trends and detect changes in the salt marsh. This on-the-ground information, combined with CZM modeling and remote sensing efforts and work with partners, will be used to inform state agencies, municipal property owners, and the community at large about long-term changes in the coastal ecosystems of Massachusetts. The Sentinel Site Program is funded in part through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Wetland Program Development Grants. For more information, please contact CZM’s Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Manager, Adrienne Pappal, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Wetlands Updates - CZM continues to advance long-term efforts to collect critical data, review current scientific research, coordinate with stakeholders, and develop education and outreach products to improve understanding of the threats facing tidal marshes. As co-lead of the Massachusetts Ecological Climate Adaptation Network’s Salt Marsh Working Group (SMWG), CZM, along with the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst Gloucester Marine Station, has helped to facilitate communication on the latest salt marsh science in the region. The SMWG is close to concluding a year-long process to identify overarching priority salt marsh science research needs to address critical data gaps using a consensus approach. In addition, CZM continues to review best management practices of dredging operations and options to support salt marsh sediment availability through funds awarded through a Wetland Program Development Grant from EPA. For more information, contact Adrienne Pappal, Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Program Manager, at email@example.com.
Port and Harbor Planning
DPA Resilience Pilot Project - To promote and protect water-dependent-industrial uses, the Commonwealth has established 10 Designated Port Areas. These DPAs have the necessary physical and operational features needed to support businesses that require close proximity to coastal waters—such as commercial fishing, shipping, offshore wind energy facilities, and other vessel-related activities associated with water-borne commerce—as well as to support manufacturing, processing, and production activities that require marine transportation or the withdrawal or discharge of large volumes of water. To help enhance these DPAs, CZM initiated the DPA Resilience Pilot Project with Arcadis, Inc. This project will identify water-dependent industrial uses in the Chelsea Creek and Gloucester Inner Harbor DPAs that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and develop specific, implementable, and adaptive resilience solutions to support the water-dependent industrial users in these areas. The pilot project, which will conclude in 2022, will also develop a catalog of design guidelines and best practices for water-dependent industrial uses to ensure their continued operations.
Local Planning Efforts - A number of communities continued to develop harbor management plans in 2021, as summarized by region below.For more information about CZM’s harbor planning efforts, contact the CZM Regional Coordinators.
- North Shore - CZM continued to support the ongoing development of the Salem Municipal Harbor Plan and DPA Master Plan for Salem Harbor, which received funding from the Seaport Economic Council (SEC) and technical assistance from CZM and MassDEP. For more information on this planning process, see CZM’s Notice to Proceed (PDF, 363 KB), issued in August 2020. CZM continued to work with the City of Gloucester on their preparations for a renewal and amendment of the 2014 Gloucester Harbor MHP and DPA Master Plan, also funded by SEC. CZM’s Notice to Proceed for the plan was issued to the city on November 8. At the request of the City of Lynn, CZM is working on a review of the Lynn DPA boundary. Notice of the review (PDF, 128 KB) was published in the Environmental Monitor and in local newspapers on May 10, a virtual public hearing was held on May 19, and the 30-day comment period ended on June 9. The DPA Boundary Report is due to be published early in 2022.
- Boston Harbor - CZM began its review of the MHP and DPA Master Plan for the Chelsea Creek that was submitted by the City of Chelsea in March 2021. For more information on this planning process, see the CZM Public Notice (PDF, 126 KB) from the March 24 edition of the Environmental Monitor. Across the Creek, CZM initiated a review of a section of the Chelsea Creek DPA boundary in East Boston in October 2021 in accordance with its Notice of Intent (PDF, 147 KB) that was included in the September 22 Environmental Monitor, while also continuing the review of the boundary for the entire East Boston DPA. The designation report (PDF, 2 MB) for that review was issued on December 15.
- Cape Cod and Islands - The Town of Edgartown has started a Municipal Harbor Plan update for the Edgartown Harbor Plan. The town partnered with the Martha’s Vineyard Commission to assist in this effort and seeks to address emerging harbor management issues, including climate change impacts to harbor infrastructure and natural resources, and potential impacts to natural resources from increased recreational boating. CZM continued to work with representatives from Nantucket to assist in efforts to update the Nantucket and Madaket Harbors Action Plan. Due to impacts from COVID-19, this planning effort has again been delayed, and the town has requested and received a 12-month extension of the existing plan.
- South Coastal - CZM worked extensively with the New Bedford Port Authority on the completion of their sea level rise vulnerability analysis of the New Bedford/Fairhaven DPA municipal infrastructure, which was funded by a CZM Coastal Resilience Grant. This report outlines timelines for major DPA infrastructure upgrades to ensure their usefulness and viability in the face of projected sea level rise scenarios. CZM, in its role as a member of the MassDEP State Enhanced Remedy Advisory Committee, continued reviewing various work plans for the construction of Confined Aquatic Disposal Cell #4 and for implementation of Phase V navigational projects and other projects to be completed under the regulatory framework of the MassDEP State Enhanced Remedy process for navigational dredging and disposal activities within the New Bedford Harbor Superfund Site.
MEPA Review - In 2021, CZM commented on more than 60 projects submitted to the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) office for review. The following are a sampling of projects that were reviewed by CZM under this process:
- Former Aerovox Facility Cleanup, New Bedford - An Environmental Notification Form (ENF) was submitted to MEPA for a cleanup project at this site that will excavate and remove contaminated soils, backfill with clean soil, monitor impacts, construct barriers to prevent movement of contaminants into New Bedford Harbor, treat groundwater to remove contaminants, and repair/replace onsite storm sewers. The proposed project will temporarily alter coastal wetland resource areas, require restoration of these areas, and create additional wetland and salt marsh areas on the Aerovox shoreline portion of the site. CZM comments addressed issues surrounding resource area delineation, coastal resiliency, salt marsh restoration and creation, coordination with similar work connected with the Superfund cleanup, and long-term sustainability.
- McConnell Park Improvements, Boston - With this ENF, the City of Boston, through its Parks and Recreation Department, proposes to reconstruct an existing active recreation park adjacent to I-93 and Savin Hill Beach in Dorchester to include fully lit natural turf fields, an accessible synthetic turf field, an inclusive playground, an improved and expanded parking area with a designated emergency drive, a pedestrian plaza, a portable restroom shelter, and improved on-site stormwater management. The nearly seven-acre project site includes filled tidelands and is subject to coastal flooding. Portions of the site, including the parking lot and emergency drive, will be elevated by up to four feet with fill to reduce the adjacent neighborhood’s vulnerability to coastal flooding and protect the highly used parking lot and emergency drive while allowing the less critical park areas to flood. As a result of the project, impervious area will increase by almost one quarter of an acre and 8,355 gallons of water per day will be used. The project is partly funded by a $1 million Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior. CZM comments centered on climate change, sea level rise, and stormwater issues.
- Duxbury Beach Nature-Based Storm Damage Protection Project, Duxbury - This project entails four elements as part of a comprehensive plan to reduce storm damage and flooding and plan for climate change resilience, including oceanside beach and dune nourishment, bayside erosion control, flood vulnerability reductions along with roadway elevation, and erosion control for the eastern abutment for the Powder Point Bridge. In developing preferred alternatives for each of the project elements, 19 alternatives were evaluated. CZM expressed support for the preferred alternatives and consulted with the proponent to help design the project.
- 88 Black Falcon Avenue, Boston - With this ENF, DIV Black Falcon, LLC proposes to construct a vertical addition of four floors totaling approximately 327,600 square feet (SF) on top of the existing three-story, 353,950 SF structure on the project site at 88 Black Falcon Avenue in Boston. The existing structure, which was constructed in 1918 as a part of the Boston Army Supply Base, is currently used by water-dependent-industrial uses, supporting Designated Port Area uses, and accessory uses. The proposed four-story and 62-vertical-foot expansion will accommodate laboratory, research and development, office, and accessory uses. An approximately 2,900 SF expansion will accommodate elevators, additional circulation areas, and loading spaces. The existing ramp to the upper floor parking level will be demolished and reconstructed adjacent to the building to improve the operations of the adjacent Flynn Cruiseport, namely by increasing the area for cruise passenger transit and circulation. In addition, the parking deck will be expanded by 53,900 SF to accommodate up to 174 new parking spaces, bringing the total for the site to 729 spaces. The proposed project also includes the reconstruction of the intersection of Drydock Avenue, Black Falcon Avenue, and the project site to create a safer and more efficient four-way intersection and improvements to the MBTA Silver Line stop at Drydock Avenue. CZM developed comments focusing on the required waterfront development plan and coastal resilience.
- Great Marsh Restoration Phase II, Newbury, Essex, Ipswich - This project involves restoration activities affecting up to 132 acres at the Crane Reservation in Ipswich and 111 acres within the Crane Wildlife Refuge and adjoining Stavros Reservation in Essex, which are both owned and managed by The Trustees of Reservations (Trustees). The goal for these areas is to reverse the trend of salt marsh subsidence, re-establish and maintain high marsh habitat, support native obligate marsh species such as the at-risk salt marsh sparrow, and improve coastal resiliency in the face of sea level rise. These sites were selected to expand a previously permitted pilot project begun within 85 acres of salt marsh at the Old Town Hill Reservation in Newbury, which is currently underway. The Newbury project is proposed to expand the original area by approximately 50 acres within the adjacent William T. Ford Wildlife Management Area. The project proposes to encourage re-vegetation of the historic ditch network within the project sites, thereby restoring more natural drainage characteristics to the affected areas of marsh. The ditch remediation technique involves harvesting marsh hay by hand-mowing swaths of marsh parallel to the ditches to be treated. The mown hay is loosely braided and placed to depths of 8-9 inches within the pre-selected ditches, then secured with twine and wood stakes to the ditch bottom. The stated goal of this technique is to slow tidal flow within the ditches to allow sediment to settle out of the water column and create a substrate for the establishment of native salt marsh vegetation, particularly Spartina alterniflora. In addition to ditch remediation, a supplemental restoration technique identified as “micro‐runneling” is proposed at the expanded Newbury location, as well as in Ipswich and Essex, to address targeted areas where more advanced subsidence has occurred. This process involves forming shallow 4- to 6-inch-deep linear swales approximately 1.5-2.5 feet wide to restore drainage in areas that once contained natural channels. Material excavated will include primarily marsh sod, which is then proposed to be transplanted to the nearby high marsh platform to create small nesting islands as habitat for saltmarsh sparrow. In addition, identified primary channels contain small blockages approximately 4-feet in length that are caused by slumping peat. Part of the restoration effort will involve re‐opening these blockages using hand tools to encourage flow without removing or relocating sediment. The overall project goal is an increase in vegetated salt marsh using integrated strategies that can address landscape-level changes that appear to be occurring as a result of past human alterations, with the goal to restore natural marsh hydrology to improve marsh resilience and its ability to keep up with sea level rise. CZM’s comments focused on the development of necessary monitoring, project success criteria, adaptation actions to minimize the possibility of adverse impacts on the marsh, and standard operating procedures.
- Vineyard Wind 2 Connector - Vineyard Wind, LLC (now known as New England Wind 1) has proposed to install two three-core, high-voltage alternating current offshore export cables to connect a wind energy project located within federally designated Wind Energy Area lease OCS-A 0501, to the south of the previously proposed Vineyard Wind 1 project. This is Vineyard Wind’s second proposed project in the 0501-lease block. The subject of this Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), Vineyard Wind Connector 2, is part of a larger project that seeks to permit an 800-MW offshore wind development under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) called Park City Wind. The focus of the DEIR describes project elements within state waters, including portions of the offshore export cables, the onshore transmission and substation, and the interconnection to the electrical grid at the existing 345-kilovolt West Barnstable Substation. The Vineyard Wind Connector 2 submarine transmission cables will be laid approximately 165 feet apart and at a minimum of 330 feet to the west of the Vineyard Wind 1 cables in the Offshore Export Cable Corridor (OECC) originally developed for the Vineyard Wind Connector 1 cables, therefore no crossing of the first project will be necessary by the second project. The OECC, including expansion areas of roughly 985 feet along its western edge and along its eastern edge in Muskeget Channel, extends through waters in the Towns of Edgartown, Nantucket, Barnstable, and possibly Mashpee. With these expansions, the OECC will range from 3,100 to 5,100 feet wide in state waters. The total length of the OECC associated with Park City Wind is approximately 63 miles with approximately 23 miles of the OECC located within state waters for each cable. Vineyard Wind is seeking permission to use the full OECC envelope to microsite the OECC to avoid hard/complex seafloor and other protected resources. The OECC will make landfall at Craigville Beach in Barnstable and all onshore project elements will be located entirely within the Town of Barnstable. CZM’s review comments covered addressing compliance with the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, seafloor assessment classification methods, species of concern, coastal resiliency, cable impacts, underwater archaeological resources, monitoring, cumulative impacts, decommissioning, and potential impacts to fisheries.
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.
- South Fork Wind Federal Consistency Review - On July 15, CZM completed its federal consistency review and issued its concurrence for the proposed South Fork Wind (SFW) project to build, operate, and decommission 12 wind turbine generators (WTGs, turbines) with a capacity of 6 to 12 megawatts per turbine, submarine cables between the WTGs (inter-array cables), and an offshore substation. The project will be located within federal waters on the Outer Continental Shelf, specifically in BOEM Renewable Energy Lease Area OCS-A 0517, approximately 19 miles southeast of Block Island, Rhode Island, and 35 miles east of Montauk Point, New York. SFW also includes an operation and maintenance facility that will be located onshore at either Montauk in East Hampton, New York, or Quonset Point in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. SFW has committed to a provide $2.6 million in compensatory mitigation as part of overall project modifications and mitigations to achieve consistency with the enforceable policies of the Massachusetts Coastal Program, with an upfront payment of $2.1 million for direct compensation for potential economic loss to Massachusetts commercial and for-hire (charter) fishermen through a claims process, an upfront payment of $200,000 to establish a Coastal Community Fund to support the coexistence of fishing and offshore wind sectors through a grant program, and up to $300,000 to fund a Navigational Enhancement and Training Program for professional training, certification, and navigational equipment upgrades.
- Additional Federal Consistency Review - Also in 2021, CZM reviewed and issued decisions on more than 120 projects, including federal consistency concurrences for: the EPA National Determination for National Performance Standards for Discharges Incidental to the Normal Operation of a Commercial Vessel, EPA Aquaculture General Permit, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Hyannis Harbor Federal Breakwater project, NOAA Marine Debris Cleanup Project, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Woods Hole Waterfront Repair project, USACE Newburyport Harbor Federal Navigation project, EPA Pesticide General Permit, EPA Small Wastewater Treatment Facilities General Permit, NOAA-University of New Hampshire Hydrographic Equipment Survey, Vineyard Wind Offshore Wind Farm project, Eagle Neck Creek Salt Marsh Restoration Project, and EPA General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities. CZM also provided federal consistency concurrences for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for: the Towns of Rockport, Newburyport, and Manchester by the Sea, Citgo Petroleum in Braintree, UMass Boston, Sprague Quincy Terminal, Boston Ship Repair in Boston, Sprague Twin Rivers Technology Terminal in Quincy, Irving Oil Terminal in Revere, Gulf Oil Limited Partnership Terminal in Chelsea, Chelsea Sandwich Terminal in Chelsea, Global Companies Terminal in Revere, Sunoco Partners Terminal in Boston, and Logan Airport in Boston.
2021 Navigational Dredging Grants Program - In July, the Baker-Polito Administration announced more than $5 million in grant awards for nine public dredging projects through the Massachusetts Dredging Program. These one-year construction grants will support removal and disposal of nearly 420,000 cubic yards of harbor material, preserving or expanding use of over 3,500 moorings and dockage slips, as well as navigation for more than 200 commercial vessels. Approximately 66% of all dredged material will be beneficially reused for public beach nourishment. Applications for the 2021 grant round were evaluated by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) in collaboration with CZM and staff at the Seaport Economic Council. This year’s dredging grants were awarded to Barnstable, Bourne, Chatham, Dennis, Harwich, Mattapoisett, Newburyport, Plymouth, and Wellfleet. For more information, see the EOHED Press Release.
Communications and Publications
Newly Revised Permit Guide - CZM updated Environmental Permitting in Coastal Massachusetts, otherwise known as the Permit Guide. The guide provides a brief snapshot of the major Massachusetts environmental permits to help applicants, environmental consultants, and government officials navigate the permit process. Given that it was originally published in 2003, the material, links, and contact information needed an update and overhaul. CZM worked with both an internal review team, as well as approximately 30 reviewers from multiple state and federal agencies, to ensure the information was accurate and up to date—producing both an online version that can be searched by topics (under the Permit Categories and Index section) or by individual permits through a clickable Table of Contents and a downloadable PDF (PDF, 4 MB).
Story Map Tours of the Massachusetts Coast - In spring 2021, NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management conducted a routine review of the Massachusetts coastal program. These reviews are typically conducted in-person and include a variety of site visits—but given COVID-19 restrictions, the review was done virtually. To help bring the Massachusetts coast alive for the NOAA reviewers, CZM created a story map collection that includes an overview of the entire 1,500-mile coastline, along with a story map of each of CZM’s five regions with some highlights of coastal habitats, state parks and sanctuaries, ports and harbors, recreational beaches and waterfront access, and more. See the Regional Tours for the NOAA 312 Review Story Map Collection.
COASTSWEEP Blog Posting - CZM developed COASTSWEEP: The Cathartic Art of the Beach Cleanup, a Q&A with Marine Debris Sculptor, Mary Delmonaco, complete with photos of some of her sculptures crafted from the marine debris she collects along the coast.
CZ-Tips - These CZM web pages help people get to, protect, and enjoy the Commonwealth's coast. Below are summaries of new tips developed in 2021:
- CZ-Tip - Calling Student Contestants to Showcase Creativity for the Coast with highlights of the most popular student contests for art, photography, films, design, and other forms of communication that tell a story about the coastal and ocean resources of the region (and beyond).
- CZ-Tip: Cast Away with Coastal Podcasts!, which features links to podcasts on coastal issues, interests, and innovators; research and exploration; science and policy; awareness and activism; adventure; lighter fare; children’s choices; along with podcast listening tips.
- CZ-Tip - Sign Up for Coastal Citizen Science with ways to help advance the knowledge of coastal environmental resources through citizen science programs.
- CZ-Tip - Volunteer to Help Protect the Coast, including volunteer opportunities for the Massachusetts coast that focus on stewardship, protection, and community engagement.
Storm Team Activations for 2021 - The Massachusetts Coastal Storm Damage Assessment Team recorded damages along the coast from three storms in 2021. CZM used Storm Team reports and photos to increase awareness of impacts in the State Emergency Operations Center during coastal storms. Information gathered also supports coastal floodplain management and planning and local projects. Here’s a snapshot of Storm Team efforts:
- February 1-2 Nor’easter - 156 reports were submitted from 13 coastal communities across the upper North Shore, South Shore, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. The storm’s three high tides resulted in widespread minor to moderate flooding of roads, other infrastructure, and homes. Extensive erosion also threatened buildings, roads, docks and piers, parking areas, beach access stairs, and sand fencing. Homes in Sandwich were particularly hard hit with damages to decks, foundations, and septic systems.
- Tropical Storm Henri on August 22 - 55 reports captured minor splashover, coastal road flooding, and erosion in 16 communities.
- October 26-28 Nor’easter - 85 reports from 11 communities indicated widespread coastal erosion and overwash onto roads and parking areas along north and east facing shorelines. Some roads and parking areas were impassible due to floodwaters and overwash material. Damage to a town road was reported in Newburyport. Decks and stairs of homes were damaged in Newburyport, Sandwich, and Scituate. Newburyport and Scituate also experienced damages to windows, siding, and foundations. Damage to docks was reported in Yarmouth.
All reports and photos can be viewed on the MyCoast portal. Please consider sharing your observations of flooding and erosion to support awareness and management of impacts along the coast. Submit reports using the MyCoast apps for Android and iPhone.
Underwater Archaeological Resources
BUAR Membership - In March, Vincent Malkoski was appointed by Governor Baker to serve a three-year term on the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources (BUAR) as its Dive Community Organizational (nominated by a dive club) Representative. Vin is a Senior Marine Fisheries Biologist and the Diving Safety Officer/Chief Diver at DMF. He brings a wealth of underwater experience from decades of involvement and leadership in the local, state, national, and international recreational and scientific diving communities to the post. Malkoski has worked with BUAR on several projects and has been instrumental in assisting BUAR staff in becoming authorized, under DMF’s scientific diving program, to conduct scientific diving operations as part of its underwater archaeological field investigations. He is a long-standing member of the Bay State Council of Divers Board of Directors, the Boston Sea Rovers, and the American Academy of Underwater Sciences. Welcome aboard and thank you for your service to BUAR, Vin!
Maritime Heritage Presentations and Programs - In 2021, BUAR gave 17 public and professional presentations (via remote access and in person) on a variety of maritime heritage-related topics and participated in multiple meetings and programs throughout Massachusetts and in national, international, and Tribal forums. Lecture topics included underwater archaeology, Massachusetts shipwrecks, southern New England’s submerged paleocultural landscapes, meaningful Tribal consultation, and the vulnerability of Massachusetts coastal cultural resources to coastal erosion exacerbated by climate-change-induced sea level rise. In addition to presentations given to Massachusetts dive clubs (e.g., United Divers of Central Massachusetts), historical societies (e.g., Nantucket Historical Society), community organizations (e.g., Dedham Retired Men’s Club), and free public lectures (e.g., Salem Sound Coastwatch), BUAR also led and participated in several tours of maritime heritage sites, gave presentations to The Trustees of Reservations volunteers and staff, and assisted The Trustees in developing and delivering their new “Shipwreck Scholars” public education program for families and elementary school-age children initially offered during Massachusetts Archaeology Month. Presentations on underwater archaeology were also given to high school participants and their counselors involved in the Sea Scouts/SALTY (Seamanship and Leadership Training for Youths) Program. BUAR was an invited speaker at the first-ever national Tribal Oceans Summit sponsored by BOEM and made a presentation as an invited panelist at the international Government Managers Meeting during the annual Society for Historical Archaeology conference. BUAR also facilitated and advised the NOAA Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary’s managers in their initiation of communication and consultation with the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs and federally recognized coastal Tribes within the Commonwealth, and collaborated with the USCG Auxiliary-Sector Southeast New England/Maritime CPP Team to develop underwater archaeological resources content for use in their boating education courses and boat- and air-crew training. BUAR participated in remote meetings with the National Park Service, USACE, NOAA maritime heritage resource managers, and emergency response personnel from MassDEP and the USCG-Sector Boston as part of their Spring and Fall meetings, and continued to meet with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s (WHOI) marine archaeological research staff to discuss opportunities for future collaboration in research, public education, and outreach.
Field Investigations - In 2021, BUAR undertook limited field investigations and provided technical expertise on several underwater and intertidal archaeological sites located in Bourne, Hingham, Ipswich, North Plymouth, Provincetown, Quincy, Stellwagen Bank, and Weymouth. The sites were situated in offshore, coastal, intertidal, and inland waters and included discoveries made by residents walking along the shore, as well as those reported by the staffs of The Trustees and federal, state, and local agency representatives. The remains of two intertidal historical wooden shipwrecks exposed by coastal erosion associated with seasonal storm events were documented in 2021—an unidentified vessel on the beach at Race Point in Provincetown and another unidentified vessel embedded in the northeastern bank of the Weymouth/Hingham Back River in Hingham.
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 2021 accomplishments for each CZM region are provided below.
North Shore (Salisbury to Revere) - Providing direct technical assistance to North Shore communities was a key focus for 2021, with topics covered including redevelopment in floodplains, improving resilience to climate change impacts, coastal bank erosion, and flooding. CZM provided the following technical assistance and support for seven Coastal Resilience Grants on the North Shore: assistance with two City of Beverly projects to complete a feasibility assessment and conceptual designs for resilience improvements at Obear Park and a vulnerability assessment and feasibility study for a pump station on Water Street; support to the Town of Essex in the development of a design plan to elevate a low-lying road that serves as a critical alternative transportation route; technical assistance to Greenbelt as they assess infrastructure improvements and produce a climate adaptation management plan for their Cox Reservation headquarters; work with the Town of Ipswich to finalize design plans for a nature-based bank and river stabilization project on the Ipswich River; work with The Trustees and the Town of Ipswich on Phase 3 of their project to build climate resilience though adaptation of Argilla Road; and assistance to the City of Salem with monitoring and maintaining the restored salt marsh project at Collins Cove. CZM also coordinated technical assistance on a Mass Audubon project to develop a digital coastal climate resilience curriculum for grades 5-8. These projects were completed by the end of June. CZM also worked with municipal officials to develop project ideas for the FY 2022 Coastal Resilience grant round—resulting in three awards on the North Shore. These include continuation of permitting for The Trustees and the Town of Ipswich on their Argilla Road resilience project, assisting the City of Salem as they perform a “deep-dive” analysis of current and future climate impacts on the Palmer Cove area, and an expanded analysis and design phase for resiliency improvements at the Marblehead Municipal Light Department and adjacent public lands. CZM provided technical assistance as needed for MVP Planning and Action Grants for the North Shore region. CZM continues to be actively involved in the Merrimack River Beach Alliance, providing technical assistance and regulatory guidance on coastal resilience in the region, particularly for beneficial reuse of dredge materials. CZM worked with partners from the Great Marsh Coalition to raise awareness of issues facing the Great Marsh and to improve the resilience of the marsh and its communities, including planning and participation in the March 2021 virtual event, Restoration Matters: The Great Marsh Symposium. CZM continues to partner with members of the Parker Ipswich Essex Rivers Restoration Partnership team (PIE Rivers) to work toward protection and increased awareness of the importance of these watersheds to the health and resilience of the Great Marsh, and served as the Chair of the PIE Rivers Steering Committee until July. CZM continues to facilitate the list serve for the North Shore Regional Conservation Commission Network in partnership with the MassDEP Northeast Regional Office Circuit Rider. This network 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.
Boston Harbor (Winthrop to Weymouth) - CZM supported multiple projects funded by several grant programs, including Coastal Resilience Grant projects in Boston, Braintree, and Chelsea; a Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant project in Milton; and MVP Action Grant projects in Boston, Chelsea, Everett, and Winthrop. CZM also provided technical assistance to Boston, Braintree, Quincy, and Winthrop on coastal wetlands and Boston Chelsea, Everett, and Massport for port and harbor planning initiatives. Because of the region’s strong emphasis on resilience of its built and natural environments to the impacts of climate change, CZM has provided financial and technical support to these communities, as well as participating in the Resiliency Work Group for the Dorchester Bay City Project with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), EEA, and the project proponent. CZM also serves on the steering committee for Phase II of the City of Boston’s Climate Ready East Boston and Charlestown planning initiative and represented EEA on the Fort Point Channel Operations Board, providing support for board efforts. The Operations Board conducted 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 2022.
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 this year. CZM continued to partner with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Partnership (MassBays), Mass Audubon, and municipal stakeholders to convene and facilitate quarterly meetings of a regional coastal resiliency informational sharing network to discuss local initiatives, identify needs for future activities, and discuss opportunities for inter-municipal and regional-scale efforts. Topics covered through the network meetings included: resiliency grant opportunities including MVP, Coastal Resilience, and Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); building foundation requirements on Coastal Dunes under the Wetlands Protection Act and Building Code; Massachusetts Flood Risk Protection Program—Voluntary Coastal Buyout Legislation; MAPC’s new resource for Climate Resilient Land Use; and a preview of soon-to-be-released proposed performance standards for Land Subject to Coastal Storm Flowage (LSCSF). CZM provided technical, coordination, and facilitation assistance for Coastal Resilience Grants awarded to the Duxbury Beach Reservation, Inc., Duxbury and Marshfield, Hingham, Hull, Plymouth, and Scituate. CZM also provided technical and coordination assistance to Kingston for the CPR-funded Elm Street Best Management Practice (BMP) Feasibility, Engineering Design and Permitting project focusing on mitigation of stormwater discharge to the Jones River that was successfully completed in June. Lastly, CZM continued ongoing investigations of post-restoration ecology of Straits Pond in Cohasset, Hingham, and Hull and the Green Harbor River in Marshfield. As part of this work, CZM helped to convene and facilitate interagency Advisory Committees on potential adaptive management initiatives for the pond. At Straits Pond, initiatives include assessing the potential for removal accumulated sediments in the channel to improve hydraulic and tidal exchange with the outer estuary. These efforts build on the improvements to the pond and river’s ecology associated with tide gate and culvert enhancement.
Cape Cod and Islands (Bourne to Provincetown, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Gosnold) - CZM worked closely with many of the 23 communities in the region this year, 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 has been working with representatives from Chatham, Eastham, Edgartown, Falmouth, Gosnold, Orleans, Provincetown, Tisbury, Truro, Wellfleet, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, and WHOI to implement Coastal Resilience Grant projects funded in the FY 2022 grant round. CZM continued to serve on the Barnstable County Coastal Committee, which helps coordinate state, local, and county coastal management initiatives, continued to serve as co-chair of the Barnstable County Coastal Management Committee, and serves as member of the Barnstable County Dredge Program (BCDP), acting as a liaison between the BCDP and state and federal permitting agencies. CZM worked directly with conservation commissions throughout the region and co-chairs the Cape and Islands Conservation Commission Network. CZM has participated in the grant review process for the 2022 MVP grants for the region and began participating on the newly formed Herring River Restoration Regulatory Oversight Group (ROG). CZM also began participating on a Southeast New England Program funded grant project assessing stormwater impacts from public boat ramps on Cape Cod and developing stormwater management strategies for priority sites. CZM provided project-specific technical assistance to conservation commissions in Brewster, Chatham, Edgartown, Falmouth, Harwich, Oak Bluffs, Provincetown, and Sandwich. Lastly, CZM continued to serve on several boards and committees, including the Pleasant Bay Coastal Resource Workgroup and the WHOI SeaGrant Marine Advisory Group.
South Coastal (Wareham to Seekonk) - In 2021, CZM worked closely with South Coastal communities on four FY 2021 Coastal Resilience Grants. Marion’s grant funded the detailed design of a replacement wastewater pump station at the Creek Road location. Wareham’s grant was for the installation of emergency bypass pumping connections at their most critical wastewater pump station located at the Narrows. The New Bedford Department of Public Infrastructure’s grant funded the completion of permitting for the proposed project to protect their main sewer line located behind the seawall along West Rodney French Boulevard with beach nourishment and a system of T-head groins. Mattapoisett’s grant funded a vulnerability analysis of Brandt Island Road and development of conceptual strategies for the elevation of the road to extend its useful life under projected sea level rise and climate change conditions. Within the South Coastal Region, CZM is in the process of starting five new FY 2022 Coastal Resilience Grants located in the municipalities of Dartmouth, Marion, Mattapoisett (2), and Wareham. CZM continues to be a regular participant on the Narragansett Bay National Estuary Program’s (NBEP) Steering Committee, the municipal grants review and selection committee, and the NBEP Vision 2032 Management Plan Revision Committee. CZM regularly participates in Restore America’s Estuaries Watershed Grants Review and Selection Committee that coordinated the award of approximately $1.75 million in funding from EPA’s Southeast New England Program. CZM continues to work closely with the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program (NEP) through participation on the Buzzards Bay NEP Steering Committee and its municipal grant review and selection committee, and regularly attends meetings of the Buzzards Bay Action Committee to help facilitate CZM’s liaison function with coastal communities. Throughout the year, CZM provides technical assistance on state and federal grant programs including CZM’s Coastal Resilience and Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grants. CZM reviews all MEPA projects within the South Coastal Region, and where appropriate, provides comments on the projects to MEPA. CZM continues working with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife as part of the Technical Working Group focusing on restoration of the Roseate Tern habitat on Ram Island located in Mattapoisett. CZM reviews selected coastal projects and provides project comments to state and federal permitting agencies and also provides technical assistance to municipalities and individuals on coastal issues within the region.
National Estuary Programs
CZM hosts and administers two National Estuary Programs—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. MassBays works to empower 50 coastal communities to protect, restore, and enhance coastal habitats in Ipswich Bay, Massachusetts Bay, and Cape Cod Bay. Each program’s highlights from 2021 are included below.
Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program
Grants for Healthy Coastal Ecosystems in Southeast New England - In November, EEA announced $110,640 in federally funded grant awards for projects that will protect water quality and habitat in the Buzzards Bay watershed. The three grants, which are being matched by more than $194,000 in private contributions and state grants, are being awarded by the Buzzards Bay NEP through CZM, with funding from EPA’s Southeast New England Program (SNEP). The following grants were awarded:
- Carver - $45,000 to purchase and permanently protect 28 acres of undeveloped forest land on the southern side of the 600+ acre Great South Meadow Cedar Swamp on Mayflower Road in Caver. The property contains important state-designated habitat and lies over the Plymouth/Carver Sole Source Aquifer.
- Mattapoisett - $45,000 to purchase and permanently protect a forested, 4-acre parcel of riverfront land. The property is located on the west bank of the Mattapoisett River and contains important state-designated habitat, including habitat for rare species.
- Rochester - $20,640 to purchase a conservation restriction that will permanently protect 20.5 acres along Doggett Brook, a principal tributary of the Sippican River. The property contains important state-designated habitat, including habitat for rare species.
For more information, see the EEA Press Release.
Buzzards Bay Targeted Grants - With support from SNEP, the Buzzards Bay NEP continues to support an ongoing study by the Ecosystem Center at the Marine Biological Laboratory to evaluate the feasibility of applying permeable reactive barrier technology, using wood chips as a carbon source, to reduce nitrogen inputs from advanced treated wastewater effluent under different controlled flow conditions. This work is being undertaken in partnership with the Wareham Water Pollution Control Facility. The NEP is also supporting a study by the Woodwell Climate Research Center of Woods Hole to measure nitrogen inputs to Buzzards Bay from coastal rivers. With funding support from EPA headquarters, the Buzzards Bay Coalition is assisting the NEP in a Climate Vulnerability Assessment of the Buzzards Bay Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. The Coalition will host meetings and workshops with key stakeholders, synthesize responses, and help develop new recommendations for management action in Buzzards Bay. All these projects will continue through the spring and early summer of 2022. Also, this past summer and fall, in another SNEP-funded initiative, UMass Dartmouth completed two student projects. As part of a senior studies project, students developed green stormwater treatment designs for Padanaram Village near the shores of Apponagansett Bay. In a graduate student research project, investigations were undertaken of illicit connections and pollution sources in stormwater networks, including discharges to Tub Mill Brook in Mattapoisett. In addition to these projects, the NEP continued to support the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Baywatchers water quality monitoring program with a $40,000 grant.
Buzzards Bay Salt Marsh Study - Salt marshes in Buzzards Bay serve 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 continues to support efforts by the Buzzards Bay Coalition and scientists at the Woodwell Climate Research Center to study salt marsh loss in the region. In a Buzzards Bay NEP/Buzzards Bay Coalition long-term study, historical loss of salt marshes is being documented by the NEP using aerial photographs, while the Buzzards Bay Coalition is documenting annual changes in marsh vegetation and elevation. 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. In a second SNEP-funded study, scientists are looking at how the use of runnels—constructed shallow drainage meanders—might promote revegetation where upper areas of salt marsh are dying off from standing water. In both studies, the Buzzards Bay NEP is providing GIS mapping analysis using recent and historical aerial photographs and LiDAR data. The NEP also installed elevation benchmarks, conducted elevation surveys using laser levelers and Geographical Positioning System (GPS) equipment, and provided training on the use of the equipment by NEP partners. The results of this work will help town officials and state and federal managers develop possible mitigation strategies to protect and restore salt marshes. For more information, see the Salt Marsh Study web page.
Buzzards Bay Stormwater Collaborative - In November, with support from SNEP, the NEP awarded Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) a $25,000 grant to continue its ongoing support for the Stormwater Collaborative, a partnership of eight municipalities. The Buzzards Bay NEP is a partner with MMA and eight participating municipalities on a SNEP grant to monitor stormwater discharges and map stormwater networks, particularly those contributing to shellfish beds closures. Despite limitations imposed by the COVID-19 closures and a summer without much rainfall, the project continued to meet milestones and support municipal efforts to comply with their federal Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) stormwater permits. This summer, municipalities supported these efforts with individual contracts with MMA. The Buzzards Bay NEP continues to provide technical oversight and continued data processing and analysis, and provides free laboratory testing services to municipalities participating in the Stormwater Collaborative. See the Buzzards Bay Stormwater Collaborative YouTube channel for training videos for the program and the Buzzards Bay Stormwater Collaborative page for additional information.
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 700 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
AquaQAPP Launch - In September, MassBays launched a web-based application to assist monitoring program managers in developing project-specific Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPPs) for fresh, marine, and estuarine water quality and benthic monitoring that align with EPA and MassDEP requirements. The AquaQAPP website also provides supporting materials to the application, which are generally useful for planning and implementing monitoring programs, including a User Guide with details on developing data quality objectives and selecting an analytical laboratory, Field Standard Operating Procedures recommended by MassDEP and EPA for collecting samples, and forms and templates suitable for any field monitoring.
Hypoxia Forum - In October, MassBays convened a panel of scientists and policymakers to discuss the factors causing periodic low dissolved oxygen in Cape Cod Bay in recent years. The webinar [agenda (PDF, 260 KB)]—Investigating and Responding to Hypoxia in Cape Cod Bay—identified potential causes and solutions, as well as data gaps and research needs. A recording of the webinar is available on YouTube and recommendations will be developed by MassBays’ Science and Technical Advisory Subcommittee in January 2022.
Science Walk - MassBays and partners produced 17 family-friendly posters for some fresh-air learning. The Science Walk posters describe coastal habitat restoration, monitoring, and research projects supported by MassBays from Salisbury to Provincetown. Over the course of the summer and into October, the Walk was onsite at Fort Point Channel in Boston, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster, Rock Harbor in Orleans, along the River Walk in downtown Ipswich, and for a short time at Fisherman’s Beach in Swampscott, until the wind got the best of the posters! A new Walk is planned for 2022.
Project of Special Merit - MassBays and CZM teamed up on a successful proposal to NOAA for a research project that will compare multiple methods used for mapping eelgrass beds. The 18-month project, to be led by MassBays with input from an advisory team, brings multiple partners together to assess differences in results of mapping by in-person diving, drone footage, satellite data, side-scan sonar, and fixed-wing airplane photography. The results will allow cross-referencing among maps developed by different methods, and support analysis of trends in eelgrass extent over time. For more information, see the Project of Special Merit web page.
Eelgrass Blitz - From August 9-13, 20 volunteers assisted in an on-the-water eelgrass survey in Duxbury, Kingston, and Plymouth Bays designed to document and help understand the extensive eelgrass losses observed in these embayments since 1995. Coordinated by the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, MassBays, and DMF, the 4th annual Eelgrass Blitz collected data at 71 sites. A new app, iSeaGrass, developed by DMF and MassBays, made the 2021 data collection more efficient.
Community-Based Monitoring Data Analysis - In October, following on a successful EPA-funded program to develop AquaQAPP, MassBays received a new grant to produce tools for data analysis by watershed associations and other organizations collecting water quality data in freshwater and estuarine systems. For more information on the overall effort, see the MassBays Exchange Network Projects web page.
Beach Habitat Intern - This summer, MassBays was pleased to have Shannon Hogan, a graduate student from UMass Boston, use data from MassBays iNaturalist project to document the habitat value of the wrack on Massachusetts beaches, and draft best practices for beach management. Shannon made great contributions to MassBays’ efforts even while working remotely.
Annual Workplan - In June, MassBays submitted its Federal Fiscal Year 2021 workplan (PDF, 2 MB) to EPA, which describes the programming and projects planned across the region for the period of July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022. This year’s plan includes a new partnership with the Mystic River Watershed Association to support the Mystic River Ambassador through EPA’s Urban Rivers Partnership.
New England Marine Science Opportunities - MassBays partnered with area institutions to establish a listserv for the posting of jobs, funding, and other opportunities in the marine sciences (shallow to deep). The group has developed some tips for posting and templates for responding, which are available online. More than 500 subscribers are already in the loop! Subscribe to the group to join the discussion.
E-Newsletters - MassBays produces two e-newsletters, the MassBays e-newsletter and the Monitoring Coordinators Network e-newsletter. Access to newsletter archives and a subscription link are on MassBays website.
Staff & People
In looking back over the year, CZM said goodbye to three team members and welcomed new staff (and existing staff in new roles).
South Coastal Regional Coordinator Dave Janik Retirement - After more than 32 years with CZM—26 as CZM’s South Coastal Regional Coordinator—Dave Janik retired in November. Dave joined CZM in 1989, first working with CZM’s Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program and providing technical assistance to Buzzards Bay Communities on traditional and alternative onsite wastewater disposal methods and regulations, including helping to craft CZM input on Title 5 regulation changes in the early 1990s. He also coordinated and tracked the various municipal grants awarded by the Buzzards Bay NEP and assisted with the development of the NEP’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan and nitrogen management strategies. In 1995, Dave transitioned to the CZM South Coastal Regional Coordinator Position, where he assisted municipalities and provided technical assistance on various coastal issues, particularly Municipal Harbor Planning, Designated Port Area Planning, EPA No Discharge Area Designations, EPA’s Superfund Cleanup of the New Bedford Harbor, and MassDEP’s State Enhanced Remedy Process for augmenting the EPA harbor cleanup. He also helped many of the regional municipalities fully understand and utilize the opportunities presented by CZM’s Coastal Resilience Grant Program. Through Dave’s efforts, CZM was a vital partner in the Bird Island Roseate Tern Restoration Project. He also co-led a CZM/EEA effort to successfully conduct an interim dredging project for the Federal Channel in New Bedford Harbor that significantly improved the ability of large deep draft vessels to access the harbor. We already miss Dave and his pragmatism, deep knowledge of and commitment to the South Coastal communities, wry wit, and sage advice. Thank you Dave, and good luck with your next adventure!
Boston Harbor Regional Coordinator - In January, CZM’s Boston Harbor Regional Coordinator, Erikk Hokenson, left CZM. Hired in 2018, Erikk is one of five regional coordinators at CZM and provided technical assistance and expertise to communities from Winthrop to Weymouth on port and harbor planning, waterfront planning and development, coastal resilience planning and projects, and shoreline/floodplain management. Erikk was instrumental in the review of the East Boston Designated Port Area boundary and the City of Chelsea Municipal Harbor Plan & DPA Master Plan, development of the DPA Resilience Pilot Project, and updates to the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan and Environmental Permitting in Coastal Massachusetts. Prior to joining CZM, Erikk served as a waterfront planner for the Boston Planning and Development Agency, where he worked on various planning initiatives balancing public access, resilience to impacts of climate change, and economic development. Erikk quickly became known at CZM for his sound judgment, critical review skills, and good humor. We will miss you, Erikk, and best of luck in your new position!
Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Specialist - In January, CZM’s Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Specialist, Cristina Kennedy, left CZM to become a Coastal Wetlands Restoration Specialist for the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration. Hired in 2015, Cristina was a key member of the Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Team, supporting marine invasive species monitoring and research, the Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Program, and salt marsh monitoring and assessment, among other efforts. She was instrumental in developing a marine invasive species data viewer, creating an iNaturalist project page, and updating identification cards for the Marine Invader Monitoring and Information Collaborative, and was a lead author for the 2018 Rapid Assessment Survey. She gained technical expertise in nonpoint source remediation during her tenure at CZM and helped transition the Coastal Remediation Grant Program toward a focus on green infrastructure and capacity building for municipalities. She also supported the establishment of the CZM Sentinel Site long-term salt marsh monitoring program, including the Quality Assurance Project Plan, field data collection, and development of a systematic analysis approach. We miss her exceptional skills, utmost professionalism, and steadfast sense of humor whether in the heat and mud of the marsh, hanging over the side of a dock, or inspecting a stormwater best management practice in a downpour. Best of luck to you Cristina in all your future endeavors!
Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Specialist - In April, CZM welcomed Sean Duffey in a new role as the Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Specialist. In 2019, Sean completed a two-year NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship with CZM, which focused on coastal habitat resiliency and vulnerabilities in Areas of Critical Environmental Concern. More recently, Sean has supported the Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Team in researching and developing guidance to support the resiliency of salt marshes across the Commonwealth. As the Coastal Habitat and Water Quality Specialist, Sean has expanded his role to also support CZM’s water quality work. Congratulations Sean!
New South Coastal Regional Coordinator - In November, CZM also welcomed Sam Haines as the new South Coastal Regional Coordinator, replacing the retiring Dave Janik. Sam brings more than 20 years of professional environmental experience to the position. For the last 5 years, Sam served as the conservation agent for the Town of Bourne, where he worked on wetland regulations, stormwater management, dredge planning and oversight, emergency management, project review, and coastal resiliency, and coordinated with various local, state, and federal stakeholders. Before that, Sam held positions as an Environmental Scientist at AECOM, where he ensured regulatory compliance on large commercial and linear utility projects throughout the Northeastern United States, and ENSR, where he focused on environmental sampling for residential and commercial clients in Southeastern Massachusetts. Sam brings expertise to the position in local, state, and federal permitting; coastal and inland wetland delineation; biological and botanical survey; habitat restoration; environmental inspection and sampling; and construction oversight. Welcome aboard Sam!