CZM has published and/or funded the following materials on coastal habitat, which are listed alphabetically by title under the following categories: general habitat, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, eelgrass, salt marsh, and other. See CZM Publications for the full list of materials published by CZM.
(Note: Any views or opinions presented in publications prepared for CZM are solely those of the author[s] and do not necessarily represent those of the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Please see our website policies.)
- Charting the Course: A Blueprint for the Future of Aquatic Habitat Restoration in Massachusetts - This 2008 report provides the findings and recommendations of the Aquatic Habitat Restoration Task Force, which was chaired and staffed by CZM.
- Coastlines Winter 2004/2005 - This edition of CZM’s magazine focuses on coastal habitats in Massachusetts.
- Coastlines 2008 - This edition of CZM’s magazine covers the land/air/sea connection and the impacts of land-based activities on coastal and marine habitats.
- Ecosystems and Resources of the Massachusetts Coast (PDF, 11 MB) - This CZM publication from 1975 gives an excellent overview of the ecosystems and geological processes of coastal Massachusetts.
- Habitat Classification Feasibility Study for Coastal and Marine Environments in Massachusetts (PDF, 1 MB) - This 2007 report summarizes and evaluates four habitat classification studies to determine the most suitable framework or combination of frameworks for classifying coastal and marine habitats in Massachusetts.
- The Marine Resources of the Parker River-Plum Island Sound Estuary: An Update after 30 Years (PDF, 20 MB) - This 2000 report developed for CZM by Robert Buchsbaum of Massachusetts Audubon Society and Tim Purinton of the Parker River Clean Water Association and Massachusetts Audubon Society updates the 1968 Parker River-Plum Island Sound monograph produced by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF). The original monograph was based on one year of field study on the physical characteristics, water quality, and fish and shellfish resources of the estuary. The 2000 report also contains historical information on the fisheries supported by the estuary.
- Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management Policy Guide - October 2011 - The Policy Guide is the official statement of Massachusetts coastal program policies and legal authorities and includes the habitat policies that govern CZM’s habitat program and project review.
- Strategic Plan for Mapping Massachusetts Benthic Marine Habitats (PDF, 1 MB) - This “evolving draft” plan gives a brief overview of the numerous types of equipment that are used to collect benthic habitat data, recommendations on which types of equipment are most suited for mapping in various water depths, a detailed protocol for groundtruth sampling/data classification and analysis, and recommendations for conducting benthic habitat mapping in Massachusetts.
Areas of Critical Environmental Concern
- An Assessment of Resource Management Strategies in the Parker River/Essex Bay Area of Critical Environmental Concern (PDF, 1 MB) - This 2001 report provides an overview of natural resource issues, case studies, and ideas for improved regulatory and nonregulatory management strategies as identified by volunteers and staff from local communities. The report describes this local perspective and identifies approaches for regional management of the area.
- Crossing Assessment for the Sandy Neck Barrier Beach System Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) (PDF, 24 MB) - Published in 2019, this assessment of selected crossings (i.e., culverts, bridges, and other structures that allow streams and rivers to flow under roads, paths, and rail beds) provides preliminary data for identifying and prioritizing restoration opportunities in the Sandy Neck ACEC watersheds.
- Parker River/Essex Bay ACEC Resource Inventory (PDF, 8 MB) - This 2000 document identifies resource trends, threats, and opportunities for restoration within this Area of Critical Environmental Concern based on a literature review of published information/and data and interviews with scientists.
- Adaptive Management for Impacts to Eelgrass Habitat in Gloucester Harbor (PDF, 2 MB) - This 2007 publication co-authored by CZM, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sea Grant College Program, Cambridge, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency summarizes an effort in 2006-2007 to create an eelgrass bank, raise awareness of the value of eelgrass habitat and facilitate transplanting efforts to Boston Harbor.
- CZScience - Codium Up, Eelgrass Down: Invasives Impact Buzzards Bay - This article on page 59 of the 2007 Coastlines (PDF, 39 MB) discusses the impact of the invasive Codium algae on eelgrass habitat.
- Eelgrass Habitat Restoration in the Annisquam River (PDF, 408 KB) - This 2007 fact sheet discusses the importance of eelgrass and the results of a project to restore eelgrass at a site in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
- Field Study of Water Quality in Support of Eelgrass Habitat Restoration Planning in the Annisquam River (PDF, 1 MB) - This 2007 paper describes a study of water clarity and chemistry in the Annisquam River as part of a CZM effort to develop an eelgrass habitat restoration plan for the area.
- Identifying Locations for Eelgrass Habitat Restoration in the Annisquam River (PDF, 1 MB) - This 2008 paper describes a study of probable causes of eelgrass habitat degradation and the potential to restore eelgrass habitat in the Annisquam River. This study also provides the foundation for CZM and the City of Gloucester to develop a plan to restore eelgrass habitat in the area.
- 100 Years of Estuarine Marsh Trends in Massachusetts (1893 to 1995): Boston Harbor, Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, and the Elizabeth Islands (PDF, 4 MB) - This 2005 investigation provides a comprehensive examination of the loss and gain of estuarine marshes in these regions since the late 1800s.
- Cape Cod Salt Marsh Assessment Project; Final Grant Report, Volume 1: Relationship of salt marsh Indices of Biotic Integrity to surrounding land use (PDF, 4 MB) - This 1999 report details the first investigation of the Cape Cod Salt Marsh Assessment Project, which looked to advance and improve the salt marsh assessment approach developed by CZM. Conducted in the 1999 field season (May to October), the investigation examined salt marsh indicators from six sites on the Cape Cod Bay coast with varying types and intensities of human land use or disturbance.
- Cape Cod Salt Marsh Assessment Project; Final Grant Report, Volume 2: Responses of selected salt marsh indicators to tide restriction 2000-2003 (PDF, 9 MB) - This 2004 report details the second investigation of the Cape Cod Salt Marsh Assessment Project. This investigation provided a long-term comparison of indicators from three pairs of salt marshes (each pair having a marsh area with restricted tidal hydrology and a corresponding area with normal tidal hydrology).
- CZ-Science: Sea Level Rise and Shrinking Salt Marsh - This article on page 72 of the 2008 Coastlines (PDF, 9 MB) describes the basic science behind sea level rise and salt marsh dynamics and discusses some of the likely impacts to the Great Marsh region on the North Shore of Massachusetts.
- Massachusetts North Shore Wetlands Assessment Transfer Project 1998 (PDF, 6 MB) - This 2003 report focuses on efforts to apply a methodology developed by CZM and the University of Massachusetts during a pilot project in the Waquoit Bay watershed to selected wetland study sites in the Ipswich and the North Coastal watersheds.
- Modeling the Effects of Sea Level Rise on Coastal Wetlands - This report—which was prepared for CZM in 2016 by Woods Hole Group with technical support from CZM, Marine Biological Laboratory, and other partners—details the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM) modeling approach, identifies data gaps and limitations, summarizes results at multiple scales, and provides recommendations for improved simulations.
- Survey of Potential Marsh Dieback Sites in Coastal Massachusetts (PDF, 1 MB) - This 2007 report describes work done to qualitatively assess 25 sites in coastal Massachusetts where previous anecdotal reports had indicated the occurrence of marsh dieback. Along with the results of the survey, this report includes recommendations for future efforts for continued investigations and observations.
- A Volunteer's Handbook for Monitoring New England Salt Marshes - This 2002 publication was developed to help local volunteer groups collect and record data on salt marsh health in a consistent and scientifically sound manner. It is also an excellent general reference on Massachusetts salt marshes.
- Wetland Ecological Integrity: An Assessment Approach, Waquoit Bay (PDF, 2) - This 1998 document discusses the Wetlands Health Assessment Toolbox (WHAT) approach and a project to evaluate its effectiveness, including recommendations for further development of the WHAT approach and management actions.
- Managing Seaweed Accumulations on Recreational Beaches (PDF, 2 MB) - This guidance published by CZM in 2013 was developed to help local officials and beach managers effectively address seaweed accumulations on recreational beaches while protecting coastal resources. It focuses on how seaweed is a natural and important part of the marine ecosystem, but when accumulations occur on recreational beaches, conflicts can arise that need to be addressed.
- Non-Native Seaweed in Massachusetts (PDF, 2 MB) - Published by CZM in 2013, this fact sheet summarizes information on invasive seaweed species in Massachusetts, their ecology, and potential impacts to the marine ecosystem and economy.
- Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) Assessment Gloucester Harbor, Massachusetts (PDF, 1 MB) - Prepared by the Maguire Group Inc. under contract to CZM as part of the dredged material management planning process, this 2001 publication was prepared for use in determining the potential impact of pending or future projects within Gloucester Harbor on the existing fisheries resources.
- Gloucester Harbor Characterization Report: Environmental History, Human Influences, and Status of Marine Resources (PDF, 1 MB) - This 2004 report describes human and natural resources, discusses the environmental history of development and human influences, characterizes current understanding of environmental quality, examines lobster fishing and lobster population structure, investigates fish community structure, and describes seafloor habitat in Gloucester Harbor.
- Massachusetts Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan (PDF, 2 MB) - This plan, prepared by CZM in 2002 on behalf of the Massachusetts Aquatic Invasive Species Working Group, outlines a five-year strategy to manage threats from aquatic invaders.
Not from Around Here: Green Crabs - This August 2014 blog post describes the invasive European green crab and discusses CZM work to examine potential impacts of green crabs in salt marsh habitats, including the impact of burrowing activity.