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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. According to the law, a CCMP:
… 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…
Beginning in 2014, MassBays initiated a CCMP revision process to:
MassBays will submit a final revised CCMP to EPA’s National Estuary Program by the end of 2018 that reflects community input from across the planning area and priorities set by the Management Committee. The revision process included:
In 2016, EPA published new Guidelines for Preparing CCMPs 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).
MassBays’ first CCMP was published in 1996. At that time, a primary concern was upgrading wastewater treatment and reducing combined sewer overflows. Since that time, and with successful improvement of 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 development – which will be addressed in the 2018 CCMP.
In 2000, MassBays produced a progress report for the 1996 CCMP, identifying many completed projects. Subsequently, and building upon the original CCMP, MassBays developed a companion piece that could be reviewed alongside the original plan. The 2003 addendum document identified new action items and two new action plans.