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MassBays Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan

A blueprint to guide MassBays' mission.

All National Estuary Programs (NEPs) are required under Clean Water Act §320 to produce a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) with community input and in partnership with decisionmakers. A CCMP, according to that law:

recommends priority corrective actions and compliance schedules addressing point and nonpoint sources of pollution to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the estuary, including restoration and maintenance of water quality, a balanced indigenous population of shellfish, fish, and wildlife, and recreational activities in the estuary, and assure that the designated uses of the estuary are protected

MassBays’ first CCMP (completed in 1996) was updated in 2003. Beginning in 2014, MassBays initiated a CCMP revision process that will:

  • Identify realistic ecological and programmatic goals, and means for measuring progress toward those goals.
  • List strategic actions and activities to be undertaken over the next 8 to 10 years.
  • Set out frameworks for MassBays-wide monitoring, effective outreach to multiple audiences, and financial sustainability.
  • Define MassBays’ contribution to regional (Gulf of Maine/New England/Northeast coastal) monitoring efforts.

Looking ahead: MassBays’ Revised CCMP

MassBays’ plans for 2018 include submitting a final revised CCMP to EPA’s National Estuary Program that reflects community input from across the planning area and priorities set by the Management Committee. Activities include:

Most recently, EPA published new Guidelines for Preparing CCMPs (superseding the 2015 Draft), and MassBays has moved to respond to changes in the required scope. In March 2017 the Management Committee approved an updated suite of goals and strategies (2017 CCMP Goals, see below) depicted in the figure below. Public review of the activities proposed here is underway.

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The original: 1996 CCMP

MassBays’ first CCMP was published in 1996. A primary concern at that time was upgrading wastewater treatment and reducing of combined sewer overflows. Since that time, and with successes in improving water quality, other significant issues have emerged – climate change impacts (increased stormwater volumes, sea level rise, changes in biodiversity due to increased temperature), and shifts in population and land-side development – which will be addressed in the 2018 CCMP.

The update: 2003 Addendum

In 2000, MassBays produced a progress report for the 1996 CCMP, identifying many completed projects. Following that, and building upon the original CCMP, MassBays developed a companion piece that could be reviewed alongside the original plan. That document identified new action items and two new action plans.

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