MassBays: Healthy Estuaries Grant Program

Massachusetts Department of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA)


Grant amount: US $8,000 - US $35,000

Next anticipated deadline: Jan 11, 2019 (Pre proposal)

Later anticipated deadlines: Feb 23, 2019 (Full proposal)

Applicant type: Government Entity College / University Nonprofit

Funding uses: Research, Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Counties in Massachusetts: Barnstable County, Essex County, Norfolk County, Plymouth County, Suffolk County

Location of residency: Massachusetts

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Overview:

PROPOSALS SOUGHT FOR: The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affair’s (EEA) Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program (MassBays) within the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) is soliciting proposals under the FY18 MassBays Healthy Estuaries Grant Program for projects that will advance the implementation of the MassBays Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). Through the Healthy Estuaries Grant Program, MassBays provides funding and technical support to coastal communities from Salisbury to Provincetown for initiatives in Ipswich Bay, Massachusetts Bay, and Cape Cod Bay to, with the purpose of recommending future actions:

  • characterize estuary, rocky intertidal, and beach habitats and biological communities
  • document the impacts of human and natural stressors on those systems.

Overview and Goals

MassBays is a United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) National Estuary Program dedicated to protecting, restoring, and enhancing the estuarine ecosystems of Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays. Working toward our vision of sustainable estuarine ecosystems that support the life and communities dependent upon them, MassBays grant funds are dedicated to support local progress on protecting, restoring, and enhancing estuarine habitats (e.g. seagrass beds, salt marshes, beaches, and rocky shores) and to inform management efforts to reduce stressors (e.g. wastewater, stormwater, habitat fragmentation) impacting these habitats.

With the FY18 Request for Response (RFR), we are seeking projects focused on knowledge gaps revealed by MassBays’ ongoing efforts to characterize the great variability across our significant planning area (see Section 2.B). We seek information to support MassBays-wide planning, as well as local, embayment-specific priorities identified by communities.

Through this solicitation, MassBays encourages proposals that focus on one or more of the 69 assessment areas identified in the 2017 Estuary Delineation and Assessment (EDA) and which will:

  • generate new data and information on trends and conditions of estuarine resources.
  • apply new or innovative approaches to improve estuarine conditions (including restoration efforts).
  • advance on-the-ground actions that result in the reduction of identified stressors.
  • provide information for decision-making and resource management.

Projects must include a robust project evaluation process with measureable outcomes that will track progress toward short- and long-term project goals.

Eligible Projects/Scope of Work

In FY2018, through this RFR, MassBays seeks proposals for projects that include research and planning initiatives that advance MassBays’ priorities which focus on protecting, restoring, and enhancing coastal habitats, including shellfish and seagrass beds, salt marshes, beaches, and rocky shores and the communities that these habitats support, especially identifying and responding to projected impacts of climate change and sea level rise on those habitats. Proponents must demonstrate that projects will inform and advance near-term estuarine and coastal management initiatives consistent with the goals of the CCMP.

MassBays has developed various products to characterize the planning area and prioritize actions to achieve ecosystem and programmatic goals. They include:

  • 2017 Estuary Delineation and Assessment (EDA). The EDA characterizes 69 assessment areas (including 47 embayments, rocky shores and beaches) using data for the following indicators of estuarine conditions: salt marsh, tidal flats, eelgrass, shellfish habitat, shorebird habitat and nesting sites, anadromous fish passage, land use/land cover, stormwater discharge, impervious area, population density, wastewater discharge, 303(d) impairments (bacteria, nutrients), designated shellfish area classification, tidal restriction, barriers to fish passage, and stream crossings.
  • 2013 Inventory of Plans and Assessments. A review and online repository of papers, presentations, reports, and other relevant material produced from 1996 (the last CCMP) to present. The review focused on five topics: water quality, invasive species, climate change/vulnerability, continuity of estuarine habitat, and estuarine habitat protection in the geographic region of the MassBays.
  • 2017 Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) Goals. This document, required of all National Estuary Programs under Section 320 of the Clean Water Act, describes long-term ecosystem goals and strategies to improve water quality and coastal habitat in the MassBays planning area (Attachment A).

Proponents are encouraged to refer to these materials and submit proposals which build on these products by explicitly aligning project goals with the needs identified.

Project work must be focused on or around one of the 69 Assessment Areas described in the EDA. Projects may be conducted in or around more than one area, or include approaches and solutions that have wider applicability as long as they meet the goals of the solicitation. Eligible projects include research and planning initiatives that will: 

  • generate data and information on trends and conditions of estuaries for the purpose of filling data gaps,
  • apply new or innovative approaches to improve ecological conditions (including restoration efforts),
  • demonstrate new or innovative research approaches to assess conditions and trends, and/or
  • plan future on-the-ground implementation projects to improve conditions of estuarine habitats through subsequent investment.

Preference will be given to approaches and results that can be transferred to other MassBays assessment areas.

Examples of projects that MassBays seeks to fund through this grant program:

  • Data generation
    • Conduct monitoring to identify primary anthropogenic stressors to estuarine habitats and associated water quality impacts.
    • Conduct monitoring to determine current nutrient loading to an embayment not previously studied.
    • Investigate the sources and types of emerging environmental contaminants.
    • Conduct studies that lead to the determination of freshwater input and/or tidal flushing in an embayment.
  •  New approaches to assessing estuarine resources:
    • Conduct socioeconomic analyses or economic valuation of an embayment or sub region.
    • Assess the condition and restoration potential of estuarine habitats through GIS analysis, literature review, and field surveys, and identify opportunities for estuarine habitat restoration at the municipal or subwatershed scale.
    • Conduct analyses to correlate embayment watershed characteristics with estuarine conditions.
  • Planning and activities to improve estuarine habitats:
    • Develop SOPs that minimize adverse impact of beach “cleaning” on beach habitat and habitat value.
    • Design and/or implement innovative and cost-effective pollutant source reduction strategies.
    • Develop management plans for operation of tide gates to benefit estuarine habitats.
    • Design stormwater treatment systems that significantly remove bacteria and/or nutrient contaminants, and where discharge contributes to designated water quality impairment.
    • Implement habitat restoration pilot or demonstration projects

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

Eligibility:

  • Eligible applicants:
    • This solicitation is open to Massachusetts municipalities, Massachusetts 501(c)(3 organizations, regional planning agencies, and nonprofit research institutions, and institutions of higher learning in Massachusetts.
    • See further detail in Section 2A.
  • Eligible Projects
    • Eligible projects include research and planning initiatives that advance MassBays’ priorities which focus on protecting, restoring, and enhancing coastal habitats, including shellfish and seagrass beds, salt marshes, beaches, and rocky shores and the communities that these habitats support, especially identifying and responding to projected impacts of climate change and sea level rise on those habitats.
    • Proponents must demonstrate that projects will inform and advance near-term estuarine and coastal management initiatives consistent with the goals of the CCMP.
    • For more details see Section 2B.
  • A non-federal match (cash or in-kind) that will equal or exceed 25% of the total project cost is required.

Preferences:

  • Projects that provide additional match will receive additional consideration (see Match Requirement in Section 2D).

Ineligibility:

  • Projects not eligible for funding under this RFR include:
    • Projects required as part of compensatory mitigation or enforcement action;
    • Lobbying or political activities